Our first big-time trade rumor has arrived with just two days remaining until the draft. According to Draft Express, the Houston Rockets will agree trade the 14th and 23rd picks to the Milwaukee Bucks for their 10th overall pick, should a particular scenario unfold.
Take it away, Mr. Jonathan Givony:
I'm told that if the prospect Milwaukee covets (I suspect Valanciunas) isn't available at 10, they will trade the pick to Houston for 14+23.
On the surface, this is a head-scratcher.
If you gave me one guy to peg as a Houston trade-up target outside of the top nine, I'd go with Jonas Valanciunas. But if Givony thinks that Milwaukee wants the Lithuanian center as well, who else could be worth giving up a second first-rounder? What player could the tenth overall pick possibly guarantee?
The only sensible response I have to this is that Phoenix, Golden State or Utah is looking at a player that Houston desperately wants. Be it Bismack Biyombo, Tristan Thompson (let's hope not), Jan Vesely (if he slips) or Kawhi Leonard (if he also slips), the Rockets must be absolutely convinced that he'll be off the board by fourteen, should they ultimately do this deal.
There are more details to be heard, I suspect. In fact, in nearly all of Houston's most recent deals, a second layer of the trade has emerged following the trade's original report. But for now, it's a curious situation. Would any of the aforementioned names warrant losing the chance to snag, say, Nikola Vucevic at 23?