Since the Houston Rockets traded James Harden back in 2021, they have consistently been one of the NBA’s worst teams.
That trade was the start of a rebuild in which they’ve landed a top 4 pick in 3 consecutive years and made 5 1st round picks in the last 2 years.
With some of those draft picks starting to form a promising core of young talent, it looks like the Rockets are ready to pull themselves out of the NBA’s basement.
They are already expected to bring Harden back after he opts out of the final year of his contract with the Philadelphia 76ers, but he may not be the only notable veteran they want to add to their roster.
According to The Athletic’s Kelly Iko, the Rockets are expected to pursue Brook Lopez, Dillon Brooks, Austin Reaves, and Cam Johnson this offseason.
Version 1.0 of our draft notebook — What the #Rockets can do with the No.4 pick, early free agency plans + more intel.
New for @TheAthletic [$2 sub inside]https://t.co/dtrh86Kt5T
— Kelly Iko (@KellyIko) May 23, 2023
It’s hard to see how a move for Reaves would make sense for the Rockets right now with Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr already on the roster and Harden expected to join them. That doesn’t leave much room in the backcourt.
The Rockets also already have Alperen Sengun at center, but could try and fit both him and Brook Lopez into their rotation for next season.
Brooks and Johnson are the two targets that make the most sense as the team is a bit thin at small forward and might be better off with Kenyon Martin Jr coming off of the bench.
With the expected Harden move, all of these veterans they’ll reportedly pursue, and the 4th overall pick that they could potentially use as a trade piece, the Houston Rockets could be a much more interesting team next season.