Robert Covington

Warriors vs. Rockets watch guide: Lineups, injury report, player usage

Warriors vs. Rockets watch guide: Lineups, injury report, player usage

SAN FRANCISCO -- Refreshed in the wake of the All-Star break, the Warriors on Thursday go back to work against familiar enemies with an unfamiliar look.

Gone are most of the Rockets who faced the Warriors in four of the past five postseasons and were eliminated each time. Though James Harden remains, the reshuffled starting lineup is without a center -- or anyone taller than 6-foot-8 forward Robert Covington.

Which should make for intrigue when the teams meet at Chase Center. Pregame coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 6:30, with tipoff of the TNT telecast scheduled for 7:35.

The Warriors (12-43) have lost four straight and 10 of their last 11. They did, however, pull off their most surprising win of the season, 116-104, against Houston on Christmas Day at Chase.

After a January stretch during which they lost seven of 11 games, the Rockets (34-20) shook up their roster in an effort to solidify their playoff positioning, trading starting center Clint Capela and leaving 37-year-old Tyson Chandler as the only active center on the roster.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

Rockets

F – Robert Covington
F – Danuel House
C – P.J. Tucker
G – Russell Westbrook
G – James Harden

Warriors

F – Andrew Wiggins
F – Draymond Green
C – Marquese Chriss
G – Damian Lee
G – Jordan Poole

INJURY REPORT

Rockets: G Eric Gordon (left lower leg contusion) is listed as questionable.

Warriors: G Stephen Curry (left hand fracture) and G Klay Thompson (left ACL rehabilitation) are listed as out.

ROTATION OUTLOOK

Rockets: Capela’s absence effectively moves Tucker to C, where his sturdy 6-5, 240-pound frame relies on physicality to compete in the paint. Results thus far have been mixed, as Houston had won three in a row before the trade deadline but has since gone 2-2.

The other new face, along with Covington, is itinerant F Jeff Green, who signed a 10-day contract on Tuesday. He has played for nine different franchises.

Harden’s 35.3 ppg leads the NBA, with Westbrook’s 27.2 ppg ranking seventh in the NBA and second on the Rockets.

Key players off the bench have been G Eric Gordon, the Sixth Man, along with G Austin Rivers and G Ben McLemore, who is showing signs of stabilizing his career.

Beginning with the Christmas Day loss, Houston has lost seven of its last 11 road games.

In contrast to their lack of postseason success against the Warriors, the Rockets have won six of the last nine regular-season meetings, including a 129-112 rout last Nov. 6 in Houston.

Warriors: With the 10-day contracts of PG Jeremy Pargo and SG Zach Norvell expiring, the Warriors are down to 10 available players. They are expected to sign 7-1 C Dragan Bender to a 10-day contract and add him to the roster by Sunday.

[RELATED: Bender compared himself to Draymond during draft interview]

Meanwhile, the bench consists of PG Ky Bowman, C/F Kevon Looney, PF Eric Paschall, C/F Alen Smailagic and SF Juan Toscano-Anderson. Only Paschall has been healthy and in the rotation all season.

In three games since joining the Warriors, Wiggins is averaging 23.0 ppg on 57.5-percent shooting, including 56.7 pct. from distance.

After spending the first half of the season at SG, Poole has been shifted to PG and will make his second start there. He had 12 points, three assists and three rebounds over 32 minutes in the last game before the break, Feb. 12 at Phoenix.

Chriss is averaging 14.0 ppg on 63.4-percent shooting over his last 11 games, nine of which were starts.

Poole’s streak of consecutive free throws is at 19.

Officials: John Goble (crew chief), Nick Buchert, JB DeRosa.

What possible Warriors-T-Wolves D'Angelo Russell trade could look like

What possible Warriors-T-Wolves D'Angelo Russell trade could look like

The Minnesota Timberwolves want to acquire Warriors guard D'Angelo Russell before the NBA trade deadline hits at noon PT on Thursday.

Unfortunately for the T-Wolves, "there still remains a gulf to overcome" in the negotiations, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted Tuesday morning.

Without knowing exactly what Golden State is demanding in exchange for D-Lo, ESPN's Bobby Marks examined how a deal ultimately could come to fruition.

It would involve multiple teams:

Minnesota Timberwolves get: D'Angelo Russell, Ersan Ilyasova and D.J. Wilson

Golden State Warriors get: Andrew Wiggins, Indiana's lottery-protected 2020 first-round pick, Minnesota's 2020 first-round pick and Minnesota's 2020 second-round pick

Milwaukee Bucks get: Robert Covington

Let's start with the Timberwolves, who acquire their point guard of the future in Russell (under contract through 2022-23). The price is rich, but remember that this draft is looking average, at best, and the Wolves are not going to fill the void at point guard in free agency.

If there is any hesitancy, it would come from the Warriors, who list Russell as a prized trade asset. They simply could wait until next season and evaluate how Russell fits alongside Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. However, the return value of two first-round picks and a high-value second-rounder is too hard to turn down. Of course, Wiggins is the wild card based on his contract and inconsistency.

Immediate thought -- I doubt the Warriors want to make the Bucks even better, because if Milwaukee wins the title that would hurt Golden State's chances of possibly acquiring Giannis Antetokounmpo down the road, right? But let's move on.

From the Warriors' perspective, this would give them three first-round selections -- with two of those possibly landing in the top-five. But would the Warriors truly want that? As Marks noted: "This draft is looking average."

Perhaps Golden State would be able to flip those picks as the draft approaches.

As for Wiggins, he is owed about $95 million through the 2022-23 season, and a lot of people in the basketball world believe he has been a bust so far. His shot selection (a lot of long 2s) has been an issue.

The positive outlook would be that he is just 24 years old and is averaging 22.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game. The Warriors would hope that his percentages this season -- 44.4 percent overall and 33 percent from 3-point range -- would shoot up by playing alongside Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. He definitely would get more open looks and wouldn't have as much pressure on him to produce.

[RELATED: D-Lo 'ready for war' as NBA trade deadline inches closer]

Additionally, Wiggins -- the No. 1 overall pick from the 2014 NBA Draft -- has the tools to be a terrific defender, and perhaps that potential gets unlocked in a Warriors uniform.

Ultimately, it sounds like it's going to take more than just two 2020 first-round picks for the Warriors to feel comfortable striking a deal with Minnesota.

The clock is ticking ...

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Programming Note: The "2020 NBA Trade Deadline Show" is coming your way this Thursday at 11:30am on the MyTeams app and on NBCSportsBayArea.com! Our NBA Insiders will analyze all of the news and rumors that could impact the Warriors heading into the Noon deadline. Don’t miss it!

NBA rumors: Warriors nixed Timberwolves' D'Angelo Russell trade offer

NBA rumors: Warriors nixed Timberwolves' D'Angelo Russell trade offer

There's a bottleneck forming ahead of Thursday's NBA trade deadline, and the Warriors reportedly are at the center of it.

Teams around the league are inquiring with one another in an effort to boost their rosters for the playoff push. Golden State definitely isn't headed to the postseason, but one or more of its players might be. D'Angelo Russell has performed even better this season than he did last year as an All-Star with the Brooklyn Nets, and he reportedly is in high demand.

The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor reported Monday night that the Minnesota Timberwolves remain intent on acquiring Russell from the Warriors to pair with big man Karl-Anthony Towns. To do so, however, they must first acquire more assets than what they currently have in their arsenal to be able to convince Golden State to depart with its most valuable trade chip.

With that in mind, O'Connor reported that the Timberwolves recently engaged in discussions with the Houston Rockets and Atlanta Hawks on a three-team trade that would have sent Robert Covington from Minnesota to Houston, Clint Capela from Houston to Atlanta, and the Brooklyn Nets' 2020 first-round pick to Minnesota via Atlanta. With that framework set up, the Timberwolves reportedly offered their own 2020 first-round pick along with the Nets' pick to the Warriors in exchange for Russell, but Golden State declined.

So, back to the drawing board for Minnesota.

The Timberwolves reportedly have been asking for two first-round picks in exchange for Covington, and according to O'Connor, that has everything to do with their pursuit of Russell. It's possible Golden State would also be interested in a package including one first-rounder and a young player, and as O'Connor summarized, "there’s a deal to be made for Russell if the Wolves can come up with enough assets and don’t protect their own first-round pick."

According to O'Connor, the Timberwolves prefer to acquire Russell ahead of Thursday's noon deadline, but he notes that the Warriors could have more suitors if they choose to wait until the offseason or beyond to trade him, which could drive up the price. Golden State has yet to see Russell play alongside Stephen Curry and/or Klay Thompson for an extended period, and retaining Russell beyond the deadline might allow for a better examination of one or both of those pairings.

[RELATED: Report: Warriors discussed possible D-Lo trade with Knicks]

As a 23-year-old, Russell is averaging 23.8 points and 6.3 assists per game on 43.3 percent shooting from the field and 38.3 percent from beyond the arc -- on 9.8 3-point attempts per contest. Throughout NBA history, only two other guards have averaged at least 23 points and nine 3-point attempts per game while shooting over 37 percent from deep: Curry and Damian Lillard.

Regardless of when the Warriors do trade Russell, you can expect them to get a major haul in return.

Programming Note: The "2020 NBA Trade Deadline Show" is coming your way this Thursday at 11:30am on the MyTeams app and on NBCSportsBayArea.com! Our NBA Insiders will analyze all of the news and rumors that could impact the Warriors heading into the Noon deadline. Don’t miss it!