The Rockets, for the first time in Daryl Morey's tenure as general manager, did not agree to a deal at the NBA trade deadline Thursday.

This was for a variety of reasons but primarily because of what Morey hopes the Rockets can do for the first time in his 11 seasons of deal making.

With this season's team considered their best since the championship era - the Rockets on Wednesday reached 40 wins faster than any previous team in franchise history - Morey found no trade that could make it immediately stronger, his deadline priority.

There would no deal to set up the next deal, nothing with future cap machinations in mind. The Rockets have become contenders, so unless a trade improved them, a taller order than with his past maneuvers, Morey was not interested.

"That was our primary, if not only, objective," Morey said. "Given the very small pool of players that teams would be willing to give up that we feel could improve our team, you're already down to a handful of players. It's a very small universe. As I said, it was going to be very unlikely we would do something this year."

Morey did not have an available first-round pick until 2020 to help make a deal. He sent his 2018 pick to the Lakers in last season's trade for Lou Williams, preventing him from trading his 2019 pick. Additionally, he already made an in-season acquisition with the Dec. 28 signing of Gerald Green, making the Rockets' rotation that much more difficult to crack.

The Rockets also had reason to be cautious with their available space before reaching the luxury tax, given their plans to be active in the post-deadline buyout market when veterans often reach deals with rebuilding teams to become free agents. Morey described players he might seek for depth without offering specifics. But with just two true point guards on the roster, the Rockets are likely to seek a veteran willing to be outside the rotation when they are at full strength but able to help in an emergency.