Yahoo! Sports: Thomas Robinson available for cap space

USA TODAY Sports

Picked at #5 overall just a year ago in what was considered a quality draft, PF Thomas Robinson will likely be on his third NBA team before Summer League starts.

After signing Jeremy Lin, Omer Asik and James Harden last year, the Houston Rockets need more cap space to sign a veteran max free agent like Dwight Howard.

The Rockets acquired #5 overall pick Thomas Robinson at the trade deadline in February, a salary dump from the Kings. Now, according to Yahoo! Sports, they would rather have the cap space than a 21-year old power forward.

The Rockets have made clear to multiple rival teams that they plan to accept the best offer to move Robinson and eliminate his $3.52 million salary for the 2013-14 season.

Without the salary of Robinson and others, the Rockets will have the space to offer Howard a maximum deal starting at approximately $20.5 million a season.

His salary is paltry. Not much more than other players on their roster, but the Rockets have supposedly decided that Robinson is the best combination of trade asset and unnecessary future piece for a championship contender.

Just a year removed from being a top pick, it's interesting that two teams who lack starting-quality power forwards have come to the same conclusion already - it's better not to have him at all.

Which begs the question: are those teams giving up on Robinson too early? Or is Robinson destined to be nothing more than a backup big for the rest of his career?

Suns GM Ryan McDonough is looking to "build through the draft, maybe through trades if we have to, to bring in some young players who maybe haven't hit it yet, haven't broken through."

Robinson appears to fit that mold. But McDonough also says the Suns need shooting, and Robinson has shown little offensive game beyond putbacks.

If you're still on the Robinson bandwagon, ask yourself this: Is Robinson really better than the Morri? Is it worth giving up a good asset, bringing Robinson into the Morri mix, or trading one of them away to make room for Robinson?

It's worth noting that Robinson played behind Markieff Morris at Kansas for two seasons, only starting for one year after Morris had left for the NBA. That junior season was a revelation, to be sure, vaulting Robinson into a higher selection than either Morris brother had been. But it was still just one season. As a junior.

Robinson only played 16 minutes per game for the worst team in the NBA. And then only 13 minutes in 19 games for the surging Rockets after the trade, losing minutes to the likes of Greg Smith and Terrence Jones. Marcus Morris, on the other hand, played ahead of Jones and Smith, getting 21 minutes per game in 54 pre-trade contests for the Rockets at the PF position.

It could be that Robinson was slow to pick up the Houston scheme, or that his game just didn't fit with Houston. But they needed big bodies in the playoffs. They needed rebounding, Robinson's calling card. But Robinson was not called upon in the playoffs.

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