Report: Udoka's Rockets eyeing two ex-Celtics at trade deadline originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Could (part of) the band get back together under Ime Udoka in Houston?
We're not talking about All-Stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown leaving Boston to join their former head coach in the Western Conference. But the Rockets apparently have interest in a pair of former Celtics ahead of the Feb. 8 NBA trade deadline.
Houston has "legitimate" interest in Portland Trail Blazers guard Malcolm Brogdon, Yahoo Sports' Jake Fischer reported Friday, citing league personnel. Fischer also noted that the Rockets are among the teams interested in Brogdon's Portland teammate, former Celtics big man Robert Williams, who reportedly is "definitely available" for trade.
Houston's reported interest in Brogdon and Williams isn't surprising. While Brogdon didn't play under Udoka during his lone season in Boston in 2022-23 -- Udoka was suspended in September 2022 for violating team policies, with Joe Mazzulla replacing him as head coach -- the 31-year-old guard worked with several Celtics assistants who followed Udoka to the Rockets, including Ben Sullivan and Mike Moser.
While Brogdon's shooting percentage has dipped from last season to this season, his scoring and assist averages (15.7 and 5.3 per game, respectively) have increased, and he'd fit nicely as a veteran addition to a roster that's very young and inexperienced outside Fred VanVleet and Jeff Green.
Williams, meanwhile, had his best season as a pro under Udoka in 2021-22, nearly averaging a double-double (10.0 points and 9.6 rebounds) while blocking 2.2 shots per game on a Celtics team that reached the NBA Finals. Williams is out for the season due to a knee injury, but the Rockets have plenty of cap space (sixth-most in the NBA) and could afford taking a gamble on Time Lord if they believe Udoka can unleash him next season.
It's been a trying season for ex-Celtics players between Williams' injury, Brogdon languishing on the lottery-bound Blazers, Marcus Smart missing significant time in Memphis and Grant Williams having an up-and-down campaign in Dallas. But it sounds like Brogdon and Williams both could be on new teams later this month -- although don't expect them to come back to the Celtics, who are well-positioned with the NBA's best record as of Friday.