Rockets guard Ben McLemore drawing trade interest from contenders

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Ben DuBose
·2 min read
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A number of NBA contenders are interested in trading for Rockets guard Ben McLemore, per Kelly Iko of The Athletic. It isn’t yet clear what type of value that McLemore might bring the Rockets in any deal.

McLemore is in the final year of his existing contract, and with the Rockets (11-25) on a 15-game losing streak and seemingly out of playoff contention, there’s little incentive for Houston to retain players that they might lose for no compensation in offseason free agency.

A 6-foot-3 guard, McLemore was one of the NBA’s best long-range shooters last season, connecting on 40.0% of his 3-pointers at high volume (an average of 6.4 3-attempts per game). That could make the 28-year-old attractive to contenders who want an extra shooter for their bench in the playoffs. McLemore averaged 10.1 points in 22.8 minutes last season, representing the second-highest scoring total of his career.

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McLemore hasn’t played nearly as well in the 2020-21 season, making just 30.9% from 3-point range while scoring 6.4 points in 15.7 minutes per game. But there are some clear extenuating circumstances.

For starters, McLemore missed the start of the season after reportedly testing positive for COVID-19, which put him behind the curve when it came to earning playing time for new coach Stephen Silas. McLemore hasn’t had nearly the same minutes or usage patterns under Silas this season that he did with Mike D’Antoni, and he also hasn’t had James Harden to pass him the ball and draw attention from opposing defenses.

The thought is that if McLemore joins a solid playoff team with a star player to draw in defenders, he could find more open shots and recapture the form he had next to Harden and Russell Westbrook a year ago.

With the March 25 trade deadline now less than two weeks away, the Rockets and their fans won’t have to wait long to find out.

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