The Rockets need another scorer/swingman.
Tracy McGrady is out for the rest of the season - and more - because he needs micro-fracture surgery on his left knee. Rockets owner Les Alexander had a front-row seat of a much talked about shooter/scorer last night.
Although Alexander looked disinterested for most of the game - maybe it was his poker face - he could increase his pursuit of a certain No. 15 that currently calls New Jersey home.
You all know by now the Nets and Rockets have talked, and more than once. They have had had repeat dialogue, and it wouldn't be surprising if Rockets GM Daryl Morey made another call to Rod Thorn or Kiki Vandeweghe to talk about Vince Carter.
This is it. It's crunch time, a little more than 24 hours before the trade deadline so there will be circling back by many teams and some teams making last-ditch efforts to see if they can get something.
The Rockets and Spurs remain the frontrunners for Carter as of this writing. As I've written before, don't rule out the Blazers and Bulls as teams the Nets may do something with also, involving Carter or not.
The Nets are talking to everyone and you know the likely candidates to move: everyone but Brook Lopez and Devin Harris and to a lesser extent Yi Jianlian. Everyone else is fair game.
The latest Rockets-Nets' scenario we wrote about involved Carter, Eduardo Najera and Ryan Anderson going to Houston for Ron Artest, Shane Battier, Luther Head and Carl Landry.
Both teams have their reservations and rightfully so.
The Nets would be giving up Carter for a mercurial forward they would be renting until the end of the season and role players for one of the franchise's best players. But they would save money and add needed toughness and defense.
If I'm the Nets, I replace Ryan Anderson with Sean Williams and send the athletic power forward back to Houston. (I'm sure they have tried). He probably would flourish there, but the Rockets probably don't want him.
The Rockets would be giving up their two best defenders, one of the organization's and city's most beloved players in Battier, and a good young power forward that mixes it up pretty good inside. We all saw what Landry did against the Nets before spraining his ankle.
Is the news of McGrady - which the Rockets organization had to think was a possibility if not a probability - change what they do or how the proceed? We'll see.
As of last night a Nets' source said nothing was going on and that odds are the team wouldn't do anything. He also cautioned there could be a flurry of activity at the deadline and not just with the Nets.
The Blazers finally have come up, although I suspect the Nets talked to them a while back. The Blazers are talking to everyone because they have Raef LaFrentz's expiring contract that every team wants.
I've written before that Raef, Sergio Rodriguez and Travis Outlaw makes some sense for the Nets. But those were the some of the same guys being mentioned in Amare Stoudemire talks, some conversations with the Bulls, the Bucks and apparently now with the Bobcats. There is definite interest in Outlaw and LaFrentz around the league.
I've also heard the Blazers could be a third team in a deal to make something work with maybe the Spurs or Mavericks.
Games like last night are good for deadline writers and for the opposition, but not for anyone else.
The Nets hardly looked like a playoff team. The Rockets are a good team, but coming out of the break, you have to show more, a lot more.
Carter was great and Lopez put up some nice numbers, but there really was no interior presence. Take Lopez's nine boards out of the equation, and the Nets got 10 rebounds from the other power forwards/centers. Luis Scola had 11 for the Rockets, Battier nine, and Landry seven in 10 minutes.
The Nets have to find bodies and play physically. We know it's not Anderson and Yi's game, but they have to get better at it.
The Nets also have to do a better job up top. Harris didn't contain Rafer Alston, who finished with 11 assists and hit three threes in the third period.
Something interesting happened in the third that amounted to nothing: think Boston benching.
Coach Lawrence Frank pulled Harris when it appeared the point guard injured himself. Harris wasn't happy when he came out of the game and said something. But athletic trainer Tim Walsh went right over to him to see if he was OK. He was.
About 1:20 later, Harris re-entered the game. We're going to chalk it up to a misunderstanding at this point.