It’s a blustery time of year, with many teams, especially those with draft leverage, putting out a mix of accurate reports and not-so-accurate ones, but according to Kevin O’Connor at The Ringer, the Houston Rockets are potentially interested in trading up to the number one spot in order to grab 6’8” stud guard Cade Cunningham.
Report: The #Rockets are very interested in Oklahoma State forward Cade Cunningham and could make a move to acquire him in the 2021 NBA draft.— NBA Analysis Network (@HoopAnalysisNet) July 13, 2021
Houston currently owns the No. 2 pick, with Cunningham seen as the frontrunner to go at No. 1 overall.
(via @KevinOConnorNBA | @ringer) pic.twitter.com/DpsEKgcgHL
Should the Rockets elect to go this route, they certainly have enough ammunition to get it done. In addition to their own natural number two pick, the Rockets also hold picks 23 and 24 in this year’s draft, in addition to a plethora of future picks obtained from the Brooklyn Nets in the James Harden deal.
The real potential sweetener is that the Rockets own a lottery-protected first-rounder from the Detroit Pistons next year, which contributes to hamstringing the Pistons into not trading any other first-round picks until 2029 due to the Ted Stepien Rule, which prohibits teams trading out of the first round in consecutive seasons. If the Pistons get their first-rounder back, that would open up roster and trade flexibility for them moving forward.
The Rockets also hold first rounders from the Milwaukee Bucks and a protected pick from the Washington Wizards in 2023, giving them the possibility of 11 first-round picks on the ledger through just 2024.
If Houston wants Cade bad enough, the bargaining power is definitely available. Is Cade that much better than either Jalen Green or Evan Mobley to make such a move worth it? Well, that’s a separate conversation, but I’m trusting Rafael Stone, who’s given us no reason not to, with that much firepower built up in the trade coffers.
The question now becomes, do the Rockets pursue this option, or is it more prudent to save all of that trade cheddar in the hopes of landing an established star?
Trade for Cade?
This poll is closed
Absolutely, whatever it takes.
Rather draft Green or Mobley and hold the picks for later