With the agreed upon trade of Omer Asik to the Pelicans last night, the Rockets announced to the NBA that they are open for business as they pursue Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James. With the draft tonight, it's clear that they aren't done. According to Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress, the Rockets are interested in moving out of the first round for a future pick.
Houston (#25) & Phoenix (#27) have both made their picks available in exchange for future firsts, sources say. Likely go int'l otherwise.— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) June 26, 2014
The Rockets have long tried to stay out of the late first round, as they are some of the lowest value picks in the draft. The players are not dramatically higher a caliber than the players you can get in the early second round, and they carry two years of significant guaranteed salary that you avoid with second round picks.
With a free agency pursuit upcoming, moving out of the first round takes on even greater importance. Making a deal to get a future pick for their pick this year would save the team more than $500,000 in cap space for the summer, a seemingly insignificant amount but an amount that could prove to be important with a tight squeeze to fit Carmelo or LeBron under the cap. They could accomplish the same savings by taking an international player and stashing him overseas for a season, provided the player would be willing to sign a waiver saying he will not play in the NBA all year.
In the end, I would be surprised if the Rockets didn't make a single trade on draft day. They are always active, and with guaranteed money on the table at the 25th pick, I expect they will make a move to get out of that spot.