3 trade Rockets can offer Pistons to move up and take Cade Cunningham
The Houston Rockets hold the no. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NBA draft. However, the Rockets are reportedly looking to move up the ladder by trading for the no. 1 overall pick of the Detroit Pistons. By getting the top pick, Houston will presumably take Cade Cunningham, the consensus no. 1 selection in the 2021 class. Doing this move also assumes that the Rockets are very high on the Oklahoma State star and are willing to part ways with some additional assets just to ensure that Cunningham lands in H-Town.
This will all depend on whether the Pistons truly believe Cunningham is a tier above the other consensus top 3 prospects in Jalen Green and Evan Mobley. However, recent talks suggest Detroit may be open to trading out of the no. 1 spot. If those reports are true and Houston is adamant that Cunningham is their guy, they shouldn’t hesitate in throwing an offer that’s going to be tough for the Pistons to turn down. With that, here are three potential packages the Houston Rockets can offer to the Detroit Pistons to move up and draft Cade Cunningham.
1. Houston Rockets trade: 2021 2nd overall pick, 2021 23rd overall pick, and 2023 lottery-protected 1st round pick; Detroit Pistons trade: 2021 1st overall pick
This is a pretty straightforward deal with Houston just adding more draft assets to persuade the Pistons to trade down one spot. With this package, the Pistons obtain a late-round pick in what many believe is a loaded class. In addition, they also acquire a future first-round pick from a Rockets team that will be in rebuild mode over the next few years.
This is going to be a solid haul for Detroit if it is not completely sold on all the Cunningham hype. Scouting reports suggest that Cunningham is a can’t-miss prospect. Still, Green and Mobley are high-upside studs as well who could very well end up as the best player of this class. If Detroit doesn’t think there is a huge drop-off between him and either Jalen Green or Evan Mobley, they shouldn’t hesitate in pulling this deal while also getting more assets in return.
2. Houston trade: 2021 2nd overall pick, Christian Wood; Detroit Pistons trade: 2021 1st overall pick, Mason Plumlee
In this deal, the Pistons take back a former player in Christian Wood along with the no. 2 overall pick, while trading away the first pick and veteran center Mason Plumlee to match salaries. Wood could start at the five for Detroit and would be a good fit next to Jerami Grant in the frontcourt. If Wood won’t be a part of their plans for the future, the 6-foot-10 center carries a lot of value because of the team-friendly pact he signed with the Rockets last offseason. Wood still has two years remaining on his current deal and is set to make $28 million over that span.
Wood broke out in his first season with Houston with averages of 21.0 points and 9.6 rebounds. With an ability to play inside-out on offense and his length and athleticism on defense, the 25-year old has the potential to be a major contributor on both sides of the ball. A nightly double-double threat, he should be a coveted piece for playoff teams looking to acquire a multi-faceted big man who can improve their chances of making a deep postseason run.
With that, the Pistons should be able to stockpile more assets or young players down the line should teams start inquiring about Wood.
3. Houston trade: 2021 2nd overall pick, Kevin Porter Jr.; Detroit Pistons trade: 2021 1st overall pick
The Rockets pull out this offer in case they are 100 percent sold that Cunningham is their guy. With this deal, the Pistons also acquire a promising young stud in Kevin Porter Jr., who had a magnificent sophomore campaign with Houston last season. The Rockets took their chance on Porter Jr. after a rough spot with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Houston only needed to part ways with a second-round pick, thus it wouldn’t, in theory, be much of a costly deal for them.
Nonetheless, Porter Jr. showed a lot of potential last year, especially when he erupted for 50 points and 11 assists in a game against the eventual champion Milwaukee Bucks. In 26 games with Houston, the lefty guard averaged 16.6 points and 6.3 assists while shooting 42.5 percent from the field.
Jalen Green and KPJ previously teased in an Instagram live about the prospect of playing together. They very well could end up doing so for Detroit if this deal goes down.
The Pistons have some intriguing young pieces in Killian Hayes, Saddiq Bey, and Isaiah Stewart. Aside from either Mobley or Green, adding KPJ to that mix could give Detroit one of the most promising young cores in the NBA.