Sources: Rockets looking to upgrade roster via trade

Tuesday is the first day NBA teams can make trades. The Houston Rockets, despite their recent surge, are reportedly looking to make upgrades to the roster.

According to sources, Houston has expressed interest in Phoenix forward Markieff Morris and engaged in discussions with several NBA teams about trading talented but oft-injured forward Terrence Jones. Rockets officials would like to keep Jones.

Before losing to Denver on Monday, 114-108, the Rockets had won five of six games to move to 12-12 on the season. Houston plays at Sacramento on Tuesday night.

GM Daryl Morey said after the team fired coach Kevin McHale last month that the Rockets were in win-now mode and that if things didn’t improve, he would make moves if possible.

Last December, Morey worked out a three-team trade which eventually brought forward Corey Brewer to the Rockets. Later in the month, Morey signed forward Josh Smith, who had been released by Detroit.

Brewer and Smith played important roles in the Rockets' run to the Western Conference finals last season.

With this year’s unit off to a slow start, there are concerns that some of the offseason moves aren't working.

Brewer has played well of late, but his 35.1 percent field goal percentage is below his career average of 42.5 percent.

Patrick Beverley, who re-signed with the Rockets in free agency, has moved back into the starting lineup where he’s averaging 7.9 points per game.

Jason Terry re-signed with the Rockets in the offseason as well after turning down an offer to play in New Orleans and possibly return to Dallas. Terry has to give his consent to be traded and Brewer and Beverley can't be traded until Jan. 15.

The biggest offseason move was acquiring Ty Lawson in a trade with Denver. Lawson lost the starting job to Beverley and is shooting a career-low 33.8 percent from the field.

Rumors surfaced that the Rockets were looking to trade Lawson, which team officials denied.

As the Rockets look to upgrade the roster, interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff continues to work with a team that continues to play inconsistently on the defensive end.

In the loss to the Nuggets, the Rockets allowed 62 points in the paint and grabbed a season-low 26 rebounds. Denver’s bench had more rebounds (20) than the Rockets' starters (19). Denver scored 36 points in the first quarter and 34 points in the third quarter against Houston. On the season, Houston allows 107.1 points per game, fourth worst in the league and is last in opponent field goal percentage at 46.9 percent. Denver made 58.7 percent of contested shots on Monday.

“Our defensive level needs to be at a point where it doesn’t matter who our opponent is,” Bickerstaff told reporters after the loss. “We should be able to get stops. We see it in flashes, you see it in flurries. It’s the same team that scored 18 on us [in the second quarter], the same that scored 36 and 34 points in a quarter as well. We’re the same defensive team that held them to 18 points. We’re the same team that was down 10 points with three minutes to go and get stop after stop after stop to give us an opportunity to win the game.”