The Houston Rockets are willing to include Jalen Green in a trade for a marquee wing, per Yahoo's Jake Fischer. That revelation set rival front offices "abuzz" ahead of Thursday's NBA trade deadline. Since Ime Udoka's arrival in the offseason, Houston has moved aggressively to add veteran talent and upgrade the roster. It would appear that Green is a potential casualty of that accelerated timeline.
It has been a rocky campaign for the former No. 2 pick. Green is averaging 18.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 3.3 assists on .411/.316/.810 splits in 30.8 minutes. He continues to start in the two-guard spot, but the ascent of Cam Whitmore and Amen Thompson casts into question Green's future with the team. He's wired to score, but the efficiency isn't up to par. The value on defense is minimal and he doesn't create for others well enough to project as a future No. 1 option — not yet, at least.
Talent is not a concern with Green. He's a tier-one athlete, blessed with elite twitchiness and a deadly first step. Green creates space with effortless step-backs and consistently generates advantages with his jittery handles. He can shift gears at will and leave defenders grasping at air with his speed.
If the pieces ever come together, he's going to be special. It appears that Houston is simply tired of waiting. Let's dive into potential trade options to boost Houston's postseason pursuit.
3. Rockets swap Jalen Green for Jazz Lauri Markkanen
The Utah Jazz continue to occupy a unique niche in the NBA landscape. Will Hardy is a tremendous coach who is clearly capable of wringing successful basketball out of mismatched lineups. The Jazz are 25-26, which places 10th in the West. There are two options at the trade deadline — persist and build, or tear it down.
Lauri Markkanen is billed as untouchable, and for good reason. He's on an extremely team-friendly contract through the 2024-25 season. He made the All-Star game in 2023, and he's operating at the same level this season. He's averaging 23.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 2.0 assists on .496/.401/.879 splits in 32.6 minutes. The Rockets, and every other contender, would love to have him, which is precisely why the Jazz won't trade him.
That said, Danny Ainge tends to maintain the longest view in the room. He's not afraid to swing controversial trades with the team's best interest at heart. If Utah doesn't feel great about keeping Markkanen long term, or there are doubts about building a contender around him in the next few years, a trade could be on the table. The Rockets are more than capable of furnishing Utah with a compelling offer built around draft picks and young talent.
Green isn't the cleanest fit in Utah at first blush. There's overlap with Collin Sexton, Jordan Clarkson, and 2023 lottery pick Keyonte George. Even so, he's a former No. 2 pick for a reason. The innate athleticism and gift for scoring is hard to deny. Utah can invest the proper resources into Green's development, while also further stockpiling draft assets to help Danny Ainge plan the future.
Other Houston prospects could enter the conversation — the Jazz would surely take great interest in Cam Whitmore or Tari Eason — but as a general framework, this is approaching the magnitude required to get Utah on the phone. As for Houston, Markkanen immediately plugs into a wing spot spacing the floor for Alperen Sengun and Fred VanVleet. He's a great fit and the Rockets would look the part of a postseason threat.