The Rockets tried trading Marcus Thornton to the Pistons, who would have used him in their playoff push as a scoring guard to replace Brandon Jennings. But Detroit voided the deal due to concerns about Donatas Motiejunas‘ back.
That left Thornton and Houston in awkward position.
He’s not going back.
Mark Berman of Fox 26:
This seems like the Rockets doing Thornton a favor. They’re still in the mix for a playoff spot, and Thornton had been producing off the bench. He could’ve helped them reach the postseason.
But how big of a favor is it?
Because Thornton is on a minimum contract, any team with an open roster spot can claim him on waivers. Many should.
Does Thornton prefer an unknown destination to Houston? Perhaps.
If not, it’ll be on Tony Dutt — who just a couple other NBA players, including Brandon Bass — to use his clout to get Thornton through waivers or at least to a team he wants to join. Dutt can intimate to teams Thornton doesn’t want to join that they’d be harmed in the long run by claiming him, that doing so would hurt their relationship with him and his clients. I’m not sure that will work, but there’s no choice but to try.
The Rockets open a roster spot, and they still have a portion of their mid-level exception remaining. Perhaps, they can use that to lure a quality replacement.