The Houston Rockets did not have luck on their side at the 2022 NBA Draft Lottery. They fell down three spots to the third overall pick while the Orlando Magic and Oklahoma City Thunder jumped them.
Although they won't pick first, the Rockets will be on the board with the possibility to land Paolo Banchero, Chet Holmgren or Jabari Smith Jr. Each one of those players are franchise-altering talents and would give the Houston a duo of potential future stars next to Jalen Green.
However, they may elect to go a different route. Rockets general manager Rafael Stone said that the team is open to trading the pick away.
Stone says the team is open to moving the pick. He said it’s an important part of his philosophy – you have to be open because you never know what opportunities will present themselves.
— Cayleigh Griffin (@cayleighgriffin) May 18, 2022
It's always wise for NBA front offices to consider all possibilities in the NBA Draft. However, suggesting immediately after the lottery that the third overall pick is available is pretty bold. The Rockets would certainly receive a bounty for the pick if they end up deciding to trade it.
Stone is no stranger to making draft-day moves. The Rockets made a draft-day trade in 2021 to acquire Alperen Sengun with the 16th draft pick. They also picked Green second overall while drafting Usman Garuba and Josh Christopher later in the first round. This year, the Rockets have the 17th overall draft pick in addition to number three.
Stone said that he is looking to add the best player available in the 2022 NBA Draft. It's possible that a team offers him a star player that is better than anyone that could select with the third pick. Or, a team could offer him way more draft compensation that he could use to find a great player. The Rockets will be a busy team leading up to the draft on June 23rd.