NBA trade season is officially upon us, as teams wasted no time finalizing deals once the moratorium was lifted on Monday. The Houston Rockets got in the act, agreeing to send Robert Covington to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for Trevor Ariza, the No. 16 pick in Wednesday’s draft and a protected 2021 first-round draft pick, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The trade will not be completed until after the draft due to the league’s prohibition of trading first-round picks in back-to-back years. Instead of trading the 2020 pick, the Blazers will select whichever player Houston wants on Wednesday, and then that player’s draft rights will be included in the final deal.
With Russell Westbrook and James Harden having already requested to move on from Houston, dealing Covington — an integral part of the Rockets’ small-ball attack after coming over from Minnesota in February — could be the first step in a fire sale that initiates a full-blown rebuild.