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Rockets NBA Draft: The Known & The Unknown

The Rockets have the 34th overall pick in tonight's NBA Draft. The Dwight chase continues and the Rockets are looking to unload T-Rob.

The Rockets will not be acquiring Nerlens Noel tonight. But...
The Rockets will not be acquiring Nerlens Noel tonight. But...

Known: The Rockets will not get Nerlens Noel -- But tonight's NBA Draft should be entertaining for Rockets fans.

Unscientific Over-Under on Rockets trades today: 1.5

The Rockets hold the 34th overall, an early second rounder.

Thomas Robinson and the pursuit of Dwight Howard are burning a hole in Daryl Morey's pocket.

There's talk of international draft picks and mid major bigs.

Here's some simple pre-draft points about what we know and what we don't know:

Rockets Needs

What We Know:

Daryl Morey's strategy is to always take the best available player. That being said: The Rockets need a solution at power forward. The Rockets need perimeter defensive help. The Rockets need an offensive presence down low.

What We Don't Know:

Will Morey be forced to drop his longstanding "best available" policy for cap considerations? For the pursuit of Dwight Howard? For an asset shifting trade?

Cap Space:

What We Know:

The Rockets will not bring on a guaranteed contract. The pursuit of Dwight Howard continues. The Rockets need to clear a Thomas Robinson sized piece of cap space to offer Dwight Howard a max free agent contract.

What We Don't Know:

Will the Rockets successfully unload Thomas Robinson? If they don't, clearing cap space requires more creativity. The best opportunity to unload Robinson without taking anything in return is the draft. There are other options *cough Chicago.* Daryl Morey seems intent on dealing today.

Who will the Rockets target in the second round?

What We Know:

NVP did a profile series on potential Rockets second round picks:

Carrick Felix - A Chandler Parsons in waiting?
Nate Wolters - The Crafty Point Guard?
Tony Snell - The Silent Assassin?
Mike Muscala - The Mid Major Big Man
Glen Rice Jr. - The NBADL Scorer

What We Don't Know:

Is Morey expecting to put a second round pick on the Rockets next year? Will he take a big gamble knowing he doesn't have to? Will he make a pick saying "show us what you can do in Summer League"? Will he double down on an international strategy?

What if the Rockets acquire a first round pick?

What We Know:

If the Rockets acquire a first round pick, they will draft an international prospect. The new Collective Bargaining Agreement allows teams to hold the rights of an overseas player with no impact on the salary cap if the player signs an agreement to stay out of the NBA for a year.

Potential first round picks: Cavs #19 -- Bulls #20 -- Spurs #28

Note: A deal with the Bulls would involve an exception. A deal with the Spurs would likely require a third team.

What We Don't Know:

Who the international player might be. BD34 previewed the international players we can expect to see on the board at the end of the first round and start of the second round. The stock of international players in this draft has been volatile. In Morey we trust.

Where's Thomas Robinson Going?

What We Know:

It's very likely the Rockets will unload Thomas Robinson and his $3.5 million salary tonight. Trading T-Rob, while taking no salary in return, clears space for Dwight Howard.

What We Don't Know:

What will the Rockets get in return? Most rumors see the Rockets picking up the Cavaliers 19th pick or one Cleveland's second rounders, both before the Rockets pick at 36.

There are over a dozen NBA teams under the salary cap. So there's a chance T-Rob gets unloaded tomorrow night without draft picks being involved.

Remember, any first round pick acquired turns into an international prospect who will be kept overseas. Other teams in the fold include the Bulls or Spurs.