It was nice of the NBA to let Kirk Cousins get his first win on Monday night before cranking into gear and announcing these two massive trades right before the stroke of midnight.
Now when I say massive trades I mean two sides of essentially the same coin. Similar ships headed in completely different directions. The Bucks needed to do something to try and make Giannis happy. A move to convince him they are serious about contending and winning with him in the short and long term. Jrue Holiday was one of the bigger pieces available this offseason, he's better than Eric Bledsoe and George Hill combined. Robin Lopez also opted out earlier today, so now the Bucks have a new starting point guard and a little bit of breathing room on the open market to add a role player. Is that enough to convince Giannis to stay? Certainly not from a big name standpoint. But in terms of on court production, the Bucks are undoubtedly better now than they were 10 minutes ago. And they were historically great in the regular season last year before the Rudy Gobert shut down the NBA. So if Giannis likes what Jrue brings and this breathed some new life into his faith in Milwaukee's front office, this deal could be even bigger than it appears on the surface.
From Houston's perspective: this Robert Covington move, in the wake of the James Harden trade demand rumors, feels like the opposite signal of what Milwaukee just did. Sure, Trevor Ariza and James Harden are pals. That's great. James Harden is a popular guy, he has plenty of pals. Like Kevin Durant, for example. Robert Covington is better than Trevor Ariza. No disrespect from Ariza, he's just a little long in the tooth at this stage of his career. The real win for Houston here is the draft picks coming back from Portland. Upon seeing this deal it instantly felt like a massive coup for a cash strapped Trailblazers team. Last year the wing they picked up to try and aid Dame and CJ was... a blackballed, over-the-hill Carmelo Anthony. So going out and snatching RoCo from a sinking ship is an incredibly savvy move while everyone is fixated on the Harden and Russell Westbrook saga. To me, this feels like a white flag from Houston. Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but boy oh boy do two (2) first round picks feel like the start of a major overhaul for the Rockets. Sell off Russ, send Harden to Brooklyn and start from scratch. When a guy straight up rejects your two year, $103 million extension, I don't know how else you're supposed to interpret that. Two firsts is a good start, though. Maybe they can get another and a young player for PJ Tucker next. Who knows, but the fire sale may just be beginning in H-Town.