The Rockets have agreed to trade Thomas Robinson to the Portland Trail Blazers, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
The Rockets will receive two future second-round picks from the Blazers as well as the draft rights to Kostas Papanikolaou and Marko Todorovic, according to the report. The deal can not be completed until July 10th.
The move to trade Robinson was clearly expected as the Rockets ready to make their sales pitch tonight in Los Angeles to Dwight Howard. The Rockets needed to move Robinson and his $3.5 million salary to approach the maximum salary it would take to land Howard.
I like this move. The Rockets get what they needed most (cap room) and land what essentially amounts to four quality second round picks.
The Rockets will get the greater of Denver’s or Minnesota’s second round pick in 2015 and Portland’s own second round pick in 2017. As for the prospects the Rockets received, Todorovic is a 6-foot-11 center out of Spain who was drafted 45th overall by Portland on Thursday. Papanikolaou is a 6-foot-8 small forward out of Greece who has been playing in the Greek League for Olympiacos. He was taken 48th overall in the 2012 Draft by the Knicks and dealt to Portland.
Todorovic is a big man who just turned 21 last April, so by Euroleague standards, he’s not going to play a whole lot. Still, he’s one of the better European big men prospects for his age. He has good size at just under 6-11 and 240 pounds. He’s not going out to the three — he operates mainly around the basket — but he has good touch inside. This is someone you probably won’t see for a few years, but this is a good roll of the dice for the Rockets.
Papanikolaou is not incredibly gifted athleticially, but he has good size for the position, can get out and run and, most importantly, he can shoot. He averaged 8.7 points and 4.4 rebounds in 23.8 minutes a night in the Euroleague last season, connecting on an impressive 52.1% from downtown. He turns 23 in a month and is also a lefty, so he can swap southpaw stories with Donatas Motiejunas and Terrence Jones. He could be ready to contribute in the NBA sooner rather than later.