The NBA Draft is just over a month away and draft rumors are sure to pick up once player workouts for individual teams can begin (June 4th).
The Rockets hold the 25th pick in the draft, but one glance at the two-year history of Rockets GM Daryl Morey would suggest that a trade-up is possible.
In the 2006 draft, the Rockets had a deal in place with Minnesota that would have brought Brandon Roy (taken at #6) to Houston for Randy Foye (who the Rockets were to take at #8). In 2007 the Rockets had a conditional deal in place to move up a handful of spots to select Spain's Rudy Fernandez.
The good news was Houston brass targeted the right guys. The bad news was both deals fell through. Just the same, the Rockets had tentative deals in place to move up and to add fuel to the fire this season, Lance Zierlein of 1560am said this morning on his radio show that Morey told him that the Rockets could move up into the teens in the draft.
So we asked Morey, who was quick to respond via email.
"There are several teams that have already publicly or privately said they would consider trading down from the teens or trade out of the draft altogether," said Morey.
But do the Rockets already have offers from teams that would bump the Rockets draft position?
"They have not said what they want," added Morey. "But based on the draft being considered by many flat in terms of talent and the number of teams already saying they would consider moving back or out, I do think move up scenarios for teams in the 20's that desire it this year will have more potential options."
For those curious, the teams holding picks in the "teens" would be Portland (13), Golden State (14), Phoenix (15), Philadelphia (16), Toronto (17), Washington (18) and Cleveland (19). New Jersey holds both the 10th and 21st picks, so the latter could be an option as well.
It would seem to make sense for the Rockets to explore it. The draft follows a strict salary scale, paying picks 13 through 19 a starting annual salary of $1.8 million (#13) on down to $1.3 million (#19). It's a great way to get bang for your buck, which seems to be Morey's specialty (Luis Scola, Carl Landry). Rather than possibly overpay a free agent, a team can grab a sleeper gem in the draft and get them at bargain prices for four years.
On the flip side, if you don't like the talent you have to choose from, you're stuck with a guaranteed contract, so this will depend on the Rockets scouts identifying and targeting that value player who becomes available in the teens. That's where next month's draft workouts come into play.