Could the Rockets be trying to land Paul George?

This morning, Chris Paul was traded to the Houston Rockets, who continued making smaller moves as they reportedly seek a third star to pair with Paul and James Harden.

Initially, the move seemed like a coup for the Clippers, who could have lost Paul for nothing in free agency. However, clearing cap space to sign Paul required moving pieces, and the Rockets are going to need to move even more pieces to sign an impact player not on a buyout. That last part may prove crucial in the long term; in an eventful morning that began with New York Knicks General Manager Phil Jackson getting canned, whispers of a potential buyout began to resurface. This, however, is likely the least of the Boston Celtics' worries, though - rumors are also swirling about Houston seeking to sign Paul George.

This is exceedingly unlikely in my opinion, as both the Indiana Pacers and George need to agree to the trade to Houston, and at present, the available resources to compete with Boston simply aren't there. To get to CBA-legal status in a Paul George (making $18.3 million this year) trade, the Rockets would need to move at minimum Ryan Anderson ($18.7 million), or perhaps a package built around Eric Gordon ($12.4 million) and Trevor Ariza ($12.8 million), or Gordon with some lesser contracts added into the mix, like Clint Capela ($1.3 million) or Tim Quarterman ($543 thousand), who the Rockets traded for with cash this morning from the Portland Trailblazers, presumably to use in such a trade.

Further complicating the situation for the Rockets' pursuit of George is the sheer lack of draft picks in their war chest; at present, Houston controls all its own first round picks, but has no others to sweeten the deal to a rebuilding team. In fact, the only other pick they control is the worse of a 2018 second-round draft pick from the Charlotte Hornets, Memphis Grizzlies, or Miami Heat, not exactly an exciting asset. More than likely, the best possible haul the team could assemble would be Ariza and Gordon plus the 2019 and 2021 Houston first-round picks - easily beatable should Boston still be in the running. It's certainly possible George could refuse to extend with Boston should this look more attractive to him, but apart from that, it seems Houston has little more to offer.

Another possibility exists, though, stemming from the other big news of the morning mentioned above - a sort of "banana boat" route, if you will - that could see Carmelo Anthony, another rumored target, bought out and signed for pennies on the dollar of what he would likely command as a free agent. With Dwyane Wade likely to also seek a buyout after the Jimmy Butler trade, only LeBron James would need to come into the fold, who is only under contract this next season, and given the timing of the firing of GM David Griffin and looming, astronomical tax bill, a LeBron buyout is not out of the question either. Whatever is going down, expect news to come fast and furious now through the end of the moratorium later next week.

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