The Rockets will listen to trade offers for their No. 4 pick and they expect a lot of interest around the league, writes Kelly Iko of The Athletic. Houston is hoping for a turnaround next season after spending three straight years in the league’s bottom three, and Iko indicates that the Rockets’ front office would have considered dealing the pick with any lottery outcome short of landing No. 1 and the chance to draft Victor Wembanyama.
“We’ve been looking at this draft for three years,” general manager Rafael Stone said after the lottery results were announced. “This is a really good draft. Very confident that there are uber-talented players that will be available.”
General counsel Clay Allen, who represented the team in the lottery room for the third straight year, admitted being more nervous this time because a potential franchise player like Wembanyama was at stake. According to Iko, Allen mostly sat in silence after the results were official and he realized that the French big man had gone to the division-rival Spurs.
“Severe disappointment,” Allen said. “This is my third year here. We’ve gotten the second and third picks in the past. I was really hoping we were going to be No. 1. … You can’t affect this at all, but you don’t want to let people down.”
There’s more on the Rockets:
- Overtime Elite star Amen Thompson is aware that he’s listed fourth in many mock drafts, and he told Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle that he would be excited to come to Houston if that’s how the draft plays out. Thompson has a meeting scheduled with the Rockets at the NBA Draft Combine on Thursday after holding sessions with the Magic and Trail Blazers on Wednesday. He listed several aspects of his game that he believes can help a team right away. “Getting to the cup, getting in the paint, facilitating, defense — that’s already ready,” Thompson said. “The shot’s going to come. Everything’s going to come. I’m not a finished product yet.”
- Kevin Porter Jr. spoke to players at the combine on Wednesday at the invitation of the NBPA, Feigen adds in another Chronicle story. Porter also sat with Stone and new Rockets coach Ime Udoka as they watched one of the scrimmages.
- In a separate piece, Feigen examines the risks and rewards of a potential reunion with James Harden. A report earlier today stated that Harden will turn down his $35.6MM player option for next season in hopes of signing a long-term contract.