After trying to unload Thomas Robinson for weeks, the Houston Rockets finally found a trade partner, dealing Robinson to the Portland Trail Blazers for two second-round picks and the rights to two European players: Kostas Papanikolaou and Marko Todorovic.
Let's grade the trade for each team.
FOR THE ROCKETS: It's no secret that the Rockets needed to clear Robinson off their cap to create space to sign Dwight Howard to a maximum contract, and this deal gets the job done. Houston takes no salary back in the trade, as both Papanikolaou and Todorovic are expected to stay overseas next season.
Prior to the 2013 NBA Draft, there was some hope that the Rockets could get a first-round pick for Robinson, which they could then use to take an international player to stash overseas. In that sense, this deal may seem like a disappointment. However, Papanikolaou is a nice prospect that won the Euroleague's 2012-13 Rising Stars Trophy last year, so he has some long-term value if he ever decides to come over to the NBA. The two second-round picks could also be valuable, though it's likely they will be protected in some way.
Nevertheless, this deal accomplished Houston's goal and was necessary. Robinson was a gamble that didn't work out, and Houston quickly moved on from him before he could cause long-term damage to its cap sheet.
FOR THE BLAZERS: Portland needs bodies, because they cannot go into next season with a bench as abysmal as last year's. Getting Robinson, who could still be a useful player if a team would just commit to developing him properly, is a good way to stock that bench. He plays the same position as LaMarcus Aldridge, sure, but depth is always needed and Robinson could be a potentially useful third big man that could play with either Aldridge or Free Agent Center X.
It'll be interesting to see if the move for Robinson prevents Portland from securing Free Agent Center X, though. Trading for Robinson drops Portland's salary-cap space to approximately $8.8 million, which certainly puts them out of the Nikola Pekovic sweepstakes. On the other hand, $8.8 million is probably enough for someone like Tiago Splitter or, in a remote possibility, a trade for Omer Asik if Howard goes to Houston. It should still be enough to give Aldridge somebody else up front, which is something he wants.
All in all, it was a useful gamble with some upside.