The Houston Rockets have the cap flexibility and trade assets to make a big splash this summer. Significant changes are certainly needed, as Houston finished the season with a 22-60 record.
GM Rafael Stone has already indicated the franchise plans to move on from its rebuild this summer. With over $70 million available in cap space along with an abundance of young players and draft picks at their disposal, Houston has the assets needed to take the next step.
What exactly the Rockets do will matter more than how they get it done, though. Here are the exact moves Houston needs to make to turn things around this off-season.
The NBA Draft
Houston is tied with Detroit and San Antonio for the best odds of the first pick, meaning they will have a 14% chance of landing Victor Wembanyama. Of course, with the draft still over a month away, we have no idea where the Rockets will land in the draft order.
So to decide, I simulated the lottery in Tankathon, and it gave Houston the second pick in the draft. This leaves the Rockets with two options: Selecting the clear best player available in Scoot Henderson or trading down or out of the draft order.
One might question why Houston would trade their second pick when given the opportunity to select a player who would be drafted first in most years. But considering the Rockets will likely look to acquire a lead guard in free agency, Scoot may not be the best fit.
On the other hand, trading the pick would allow the Rockets to bring in a player who complements their other additions of the offseason, and potentially more assets as well. Next is a trade that would accomplish this.