The primary incentive for Houston’s trade deadline moves sending Eric Gordon to the Clippers and Garrison Mathews and Bruno Fernando to the Hawks was future draft capital.
But, the Rockets did take back veterans in those trades for salary matching purposes. While former Rockets guard John Wall will be waived — not a surprise, given his recent harsh comments about the team — the status of the other three was not immediately clear.
For rebuilding teams like the Rockets (13-42), it’s not uncommon for veterans without clearly defined rotation roles to be released late in the season if they’re on expiring contracts (which all of these players are) and wanting to play for a contender.
On Friday, however, evidence emerged that Houston may indeed have a plan for them. Per courtside reporter Vanessa Richardson, who works on Houston’s television broadcasts, Holiday and Kaminsky were with the Rockets at Friday’s gameday shootaround in Miami and expressed excitement over joining the team.
Justin Holiday tells me he’s excited to play for the #Rockets. Says this young team is unique because they have a lot of truly talented guys. @JustHolla7
Frank Kaminsky says he’s excited for a fresh start, & used Phoenix as an example of how quickly things can turn around.… https://t.co/B2m7MpSk1Z
— Vanessa Richardson (@SportsVanessa) February 10, 2023
Around the same time, general manager Rafael Stone was holding a virtual press conference in Houston to discuss the moves.
While he left the door open for the plan to change, Stone said he had spoken at considerable length Thursday with both Green and Holiday and suggested they could be valuable veteran mentors.
“We added a couple guys who have really been around the league and have wonderful reputations, and great work ethic,” Stone said of the duo, with each potentially boosting Houston’s wing defense and shooting along with those leadership qualities and intangibles.
While Green is not yet with the Rockets, owing to travel reasons, he could potentially join the team as soon as Monday’s game at Philadelphia. Coincidentally, that’s where he played last season.
Houston did, however, make it clear that a Wall reunion is not in the cards. “We intend to waive John Wall,” Stone said succinctly.