NBA Trades: Rockets become instant contenders in proposed blockbuster with Heat 

Jabari Smith Jr. and Jalen Green
Jabari Smith Jr. and Jalen Green / Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
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It was not too long ago when the Houston Rockets were in the midst of a rebuild after trading franchise player James Harden in 2021. Over the past few seasons, the Rockets have been collecting talent and draft picks to prepare themselves to compete. This past season, they showed that they were on the cusp.

When Houston hired Ime Udoka, they knew what they were getting: a culture changer who would hold his players accountable and will get the team to play hard. That is exactly what he did. The Rockets won 11 games in a row at one point, vaulting themselves into the thick of the play-in race near the end of the season. Unfortunately, they ran out of gas down the stretch and missed the play-in with a 41-41 record.

The Rockets were led this season by Alperen Sengun, who had the best year of his career. He averaged 21 points per game, nine rebounds, and five assists on 54 percent shooting. He is only 21 years old and will only get better as long as the talent around him is good as well.

Houston also had young players like Jalen Green, Amen Thompson, and Cam Whitmore show flashes of who they could be in a winning situation, but the team had veterans like Fred VanVleet and Dillon Brooks be a steady hand that the team could rely on. VanVleet specifically is exactly what the team had been missing at the point guard spot from a leadership and playmaking standpoint.

The Rockets want to take the next step next season and compete in the playoffs. In order to do that, they need a veteran star that can help them take that step. That leads us to an interesting trade proposal with the Miami Heat, who reportedly have some tension with one of their all-stars.