June 25, 2024

Rockets expected to welcome former All-Defensive center

Rockets' Ime Udoka 'can't really speak much' about Celtics scandal as he  prepares for job in Houston | Fox News

The Houston Rockets’ search for a reserve big man is certainly coming to a close, as the Rockets have made it known to the rest of the league that they’re looking to add a center before the league’s trade deadline. Not only are the Rockets in desperate need of a Jock Landale replacement, but they also lack a defensive-minded big man.

Rockets center Alperen Sengun is loaded with star potential on offense, but he certainly doesn’t strike fear in opponents on the other end of the floor. Enter Robert Williams, who hasn’t been mentioned as a trade possibility for the Rockets thus far.

But according to Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes, the Rockets could be angling for a deal with the Portland Trail Blazers for the former Texas A&M standout, as Haynes reported on the thisleague UNCUT podcast.

“I will say this, Ime Udoka has always and still remains very fond of Robert Williams. So I wouldn’t be surprised if Houston could be in the mix.

Just knowing Ime, knowing the relationship that he has with Robert Williams, how he feels about him still to this day, I wouldn’t be surprised if Houston went out there and tried to make something happen.”

According to Haynes, the market for Williams is heating up, as several contending teams are hoping to cash in on what’s surely a relatively low asking price, due to Williams’ season-ending knee injury.

Rockets expected to pursue former All-Defensive center

“There are some teams that are pondering making a move for Robert Williams. Now, I know he’s out for the season and had another surgery on his right knee, but teams feel like he’d be somebody they can get on the cheap right now and allow him to continue recovering, in hopes that next season he could blossom back into the Robert Williams that we’ve seen when he was playing at a high level with the Boston Celtics. 

That is a scenario that could play out.

His market value is just not what it used to be, so [teams] feel like this is a good time to make a move, in hopes that it can work out for that team and Robert Williams in the future, as early as next season.”

Williams previously played for Rockets coach Ime Udoka during Udoka’s lone season with the C’s in 2021-22 and had his best year to-date, averaging 10 points, 9.6 rebounds, 3.9 offensive rebounds, and 2.2 blocks, which are all career bests. Williams was also a Second-Team All-Defensive selection.

The 26-year-old big man has struggled with injuries of late, as he’s played just 41 games in the past two seasons. Because of that, his value is at an all-time low, which could tempt the Rockets to make a deal for him and allow him to get fully healthy for the 2024-25 season.

Detroit Pistons v Boston Celtics

In this scenario, the Rockets would still need a big man for the latter half of this season, which could prompt them to scour the buyout market or the free agent market (hello Bismack Biyombo).

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