Adrian Wojnarowski: ESPN’s Lisa Salters is reporting that San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard could return as early as Thursday’s game against New Orleans. League sources tell me that barring a setback, Thursday vs. Pels is indeed the targeted return of Leonard to the lineup.
January 26, 2022 | 9:34 pm EST Update
Two weeks before the deadline, the Rockets are sellers, unquestionably so if the only choices are to be buyers or sellers. But since everything has changed from their previous ventures into the deadline deal-making period, the Rockets’ roles and goals this season are not so easily defined. They are sellers who are far less motivated to deal than in previous seasons.
They are unlikely to seek a small step forward, a solid role player type who does not bring star potential to drive the rebuild. But they do not need to make everything about acquiring picks, especially in next June’s draft, in which they already have two selections. They have two second-year players, Jae’Sean Tate and K.J. Martin, in the rotation and chose four then-teenagers in last year’s draft, collecting more young players than they have had minutes to play.
Eric Gordon would seem to be the Rockets’ most valuable trade asset, other than the first-round picks that would take a legitimate star talent to pry loose. At 33, Gordon would seem to be on a different timetable from a core crowded with teenagers. Though talks so far have been at most exploratory, offers could come later. The Rockets would have to determine not just how they feel about the deals that might be available but how they compare offers to what they believe they could get before the draft or in the offseason.