is reportedly heading to Houston. (Rocky Widner/Getty Images)
By Ben Golliver
The Rockets announced Wednesday the acquisition of rookie forward Thomas Robinson from the Kings as part of a multi-player trade. The deal was first reported by Yahoo! Sports, USA Today Sports and NBA.com.
Along with Robinson, the fifth pick in the 2012 draft, Sacramento sent forwards Francisco Garcia and Tyler Honeycutt to the Rockets for forward Patrick Patterson, center Cole Aldrich, guard Toney Douglas and $1 million.
Also Wednesday, the Rockets agreed to trade forward Marcus Morris to the Suns for a 2013 second-round pick. The Rockets and Suns are both able to absorb more salary than they send out without matching because both teams are under the salary cap. Phoenix will need to trade or waive a player to receive Morris, as its roster is full at the 15-man limit.
Robinson, 21, was seen as a scoring power forward when he entered the league, but has been relegated to a reserve role behind a Sacramento front line that starts DeMarcus Cousins, Jason Thompson and John Salmons. Robinson is averaging 4.8 points and 4.7 rebounds in 15.9 minutes as a rookie after spending three years at Kansas, where he averaged 18.7 points and 9.8 rebounds and was named 2012 Big 12 Player of the Year. Robinson was suspended for two games in November when he threw an elbow to the neck of Pistons forward Jonas Jerebko.
Garcia, 31, is averaging 5.2 points in 17.8 minutes. His contract has a $6.4 million team option for next season, which will almost certainly be declined. Honeycutt, 22, a 2011 second-round pick, has played 32 minutes in nine games. His salary for next season is only partially guaranteed.
Patterson, 23, was the 14th pick in 2010. He's averaging 11.6 points and 4.7 rebounds in 25.9 minutes, with 38 starts in 47 appearances. Aldrich, 24, was acquired from the Thunder in the blockbuster deal that landed James Harden in Houston earlier this season. He's averaging 7.1 minutes in 30 games. Douglas, 26, was acquired from the Knicks in a sign-and-trade involving Marcus Camby last summer. He's averaging 8.1 points in 18.6 minutes.
Morris, 23, the 14th pick in 2011, is averaging 8.6 points and 4.1 rebounds in 21.4 minutes. He will be reunited with his twin brother, Markieff, also a 2011 first-round pick (No. 13), in Phoenix.
In total, the Kings will send out $10.3 million in salary commitments this season while receiving just $6.6 million in return. Sacramento's financial savings in the deal amounts to a pro-rated portion of that $3.7 million difference in salary. The Maloof family, which owns the Kings, recently entered into a purchase and sale agreement
with a group of investors that intends to move the franchise to Seattle.