Report: Rival NBA execs expect Rockets to use No. 4 draft pick as trade bait

The rebuilding Houston Rockets have every incentive to try and climb the NBA standings in the 2023-24 season, since their 2024 first-round draft pick is likely headed to Oklahoma City (top-four protected). After all, there’s little reason to be bad if a team isn’t likely to reap the rewards of a higher draft pick at the end of all that losing.

That dynamic could also explain Houston’s rumored interest in veteran star James Harden, who turns 34 years old this offseason.

Scroll to continue with content

So, does it make sense for Houston to add yet another extremely young player in the 2023 NBA draft to surround a young core of Jalen Green, Jabari Smith Jr., Alperen Sengun, and Tari Eason? Or will the 2023 offseason be about adding veterans to help teach the numerous young players already on the roster how to win at a higher level?

According to HoopsHype’s NBA insider Michael Scotto, rival NBA executives believe it will be the latter — and that could involve trading the No. 4 overall draft pick that the Rockets just landed earlier this week as part of the 2023 draft lottery. Scotto reports:

With Houston preparing to make an aggressive push to sign James Harden this summer, rival NBA executives believe this pick will be used as trade bait as the Rockets look to take a significant step forward next season.

Ultimately, whether Houston keeps the pick for itself or uses it in trade talks to acquire a proven star, the best available talent is likely Amen Thompson or Ausar Thompson, Scotto reports.



2023 NBA mock drafts: Houston Rockets post-lottery pick projections

Reports: Rockets already open to trading No. 4 overall draft pick

Story originally appeared on Rockets Wire