The Rockets made a solid move on Friday, landing guard Kirk Snyder from the New Orleans Hornets in exchange for cash and future draft considerations.
The trade exception made this deal possible as Snyder is about to enter the third year of his rookie contract, a 4-year pact worth about $6.7 million.
So it's a low-risk move with a potentially good payoff. Snyder has the size (6-foot-6, 225 pounds), youth (just turned 23 last month) and athleticism to help the Rockets this year and down the road. He improved a lot in his second season, upping his field-goal percentage to 45.3%.
"Kirk is going to fit in very nicely on our roster," said Rockets general manager Carroll Dawson. "We were looking to get bigger at the guard position and Kirk brings not only size, but very good athletic ability and a defensive presence. He's played in 136 games over the past two seasons and moved into a starter's role around midseason last year."
What makes this move interesting was the "tiff" that Snyder and Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy had in a game in Utah on March 28, 2005, a 99-85 win by the Rockets.
Snyder made a tough shot and was fouled by Dikembe Mutombo. He then celebrated and wagged his tongue right in front of the Rockets' bench. Van Gundy jumped after him and screamed for a technical -- instead he got the tech. Jazz coach Jerry Sloan benched Snyder as a result (and for that matter, traded him a few months later).
Rocket guard Bobby Sura would have some unkind words for Snyder after the game.
"That's bush-league," said Sura. "You don't do that kind of stuff in the NBA. In our last game, he made a racist comment to one of our players. I'm not a fan."
So it will be interesting to see how the relationship between Snyder and the Rockets that were around then develops. One thing is for sure though - the move is low-risk and fills needs for the Rockets.