The Rockets have been offered a first-round pick in next week's draft in exchange for Thomas Robinson, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Houston is evaluating a "fistful" of international players the team could take with that pick and stash overseas to avoid the cap hit that would come with signing a first-rounder, Stein also reports, naming Giannis Antetokounmpo, Rudy Gobert, Sergey Karasev, Lucas Nogueira and Dennis Schroeder as the targets (Twitter links).
Robinson is a key figure in Houston's pursuit of the cap space necessary to sign marquee free agents, like Dwight Howard and Chris Paul. Robinson is due $3,526,440 next season, but as the No. 5 pick in last year's draft, he holds value as a trade asset in spite of his limited playing time this past year, which he split between the Rockets and Kings. The Rockets are attempting to clear enough room under next year's projected $58.5MM salary cap for a max offer to either Howard or Paul, which would require around $20MM worth of space, depending on which one they sign. If they're able to sign either Howard or Paul, Houston would reportedly have interest in using a sign-and-trade to acquire the other.
Stein doesn't identify which team is offering the pick, though the Mavs, Timberwolves and Blazers are said to be shopping their first-round selections. The Mavericks probably wouldn't be the team willing to take on Robinson, since they, too, want to clear cap space for a big-ticket free agent. Dallas is apparently deep in talks with the Cavs about taking Shawn Marion in return for the 13th pick, so perhaps Cleveland is the team involved with the Rockets as well, though that's just my speculation.