The Rockets mulled the idea of trying to trade up from No. 3 in last Thursday’s draft, but given that the draft class featured three prospects (Jabari Smith, Paolo Banchero, and Chet Holmgren) considered top-tier options, they didn’t feel the need to give up the assets necessary to move up a spot or two, general manager Rafael Stone tells Kelly Iko of The Athletic.
“We thought about it a lot,” Stone said. “But it wasn’t clear who we’d be moving up to. You think about moving up in every spot of the draft. You always think about that, that’s part of the job. But one of the nice things — and we knew on lottery night — was that we were going to get somebody that we thought could be part of our organization for a long time and really help us take the next step in this process we’re trying to build.
“That doesn’t mean you foreclose conversations; you talk to everybody about everything, but we always felt comfortable picking where we were picking and were really excited.”
Here are several more Rockets-related notes and rumors from Iko:
- The Rockets received calls when they were on the clock at No. 17 from teams looking to acquire the pick and would have been more inclined to entertain those offers if Tari Eason hadn’t been on the board, according to Iko.
- Iko describes trade interest in Eric Gordon as having gotten more “fervent” within the last couple weeks and notes that teams were making offers during last week’s draft that included 2022 picks. The Sixers were one of the clubs that made a proposal, but the Rockets continue to value Gordon more highly than the packages they’ve been offered and aren’t desperate to move him, Iko writes.
- Like Marc Stein, Iko has heard that the Rockets and John Wall may finally be gaining momentum toward a divorce, with a buyout considered more likely than a trade. The two sides are expected to meet this week, and Wall is hoping to come to a resolution by the start of free agency on Thursday, sources tell The Athletic.
- The Trail Blazers and Nets are among the teams that have inquired on Kenyon Martin Jr., who reportedly wouldn’t be opposed to a trade.