I hesitate to write this as it will just be outdated once going to press. Has there been a crazier pre-draft buildup than this? Certainly not in Rockets history, but moreso, I can’t even remember the last time ANY NBA team created this much buzz with successive manuevers leading up until the big day. I suppose the aspect of this that makes it most intriguing are the stakes: Morey has to get the picks to get the 2nd best player in the game who also happens to not want to come.
To recap: Yesterday, the team traded Chase Budinger to Minnesota for the #18 (A+), and today, they dealt Sam Dalembert and the #14 to Milwaukee for the #12 and others. Various rumors broke of Houston’s pursuit of the #5 and Josh Smith, and in between Clyde Drexler was reported to have made some stupid comments.
There will be plenty of time for eulogies later, but for now, I need to catch my breath. I’ll say this: I’m not sure if I’m more shocked that Chase fetched the 18 or that Dalembert was apparently worth two lottery slots. Actually, I am sure – the latter is more shocking. Though, that was a good deal for Milwaukee as was the Budinger trade for Minnesota. If they can net something from this, the Dalembert signing will have been worth it, a signing which I criticized heavily. Note that the team did lose some financial flexibility with that trade, but, note that I’m too damn tired at the moment to flesh it out.
I think something big happens tomorrow – I’m not basing this on anything except my tradition of predicting a draft night blockbuster trade every year since Carrol Dawson dealt the #9 to move back to 15 and pick up the late Jason Collier. Awkward pause.
In seriousness, whether or not it’s Dwight, I think something at the least goes down. I do not see this team bringing in FOUR rookies next year (in addition to the infamous Marcus Morris.) They could move up, they could get Marc Gasol’s brother or Josh Smith….but they’re not keeping 12, 16, and 18. I’m confident about that.
After all of this buildup, admittedly it would be quite a buzzkill to come away with anyone but Dwight, but I’d be more than perfectly content with two top-10 rookies. And admittedly, I’d be pretty disappointed if Gasol was the end result of all of this. (Would actually remind me of tales of a not-so-rare practice in South Asia in yesteryear of presenting the prettier sister leading up until the marriage and then switching her with the homely one the night of. Or something like that.)
What else can Daryl Morey do? The entire internet is holding its breath seemingly and one almost gets the feeling that if that’s what it takes, he will deal every single asset in this organization to get his man. Right now, still with a day remaining, we are in the earlier posturing stages. But if you’re seriously telling me that if tomorrow, the Orlando Magic told Daryl that if he got them the #5 and #8, Dwight was his, and if Sacramento told Daryl that he could only have the #5 if Motiejunas was involved, that Daryl would refuse…if you’re seriously telling me that, I won’t buy it. At this point in the game, with everything on the line, there are no dealbreakers. Everything is on the table. They’ve been trying to trade for a franchise player for the last four years. If this close to landing the best center in basketball, they will not let a current asset stand in the way. But again, it’s in Orlando’s hands.
Until then, we wait.