DraftExpress: Houston Rockets making a “major push” to acquire 4th pick

From DraftExpress, via Twitter:

NBA source says both Detroit & Houston are making a major push to trade w/Minnesota to get Cousins with the 4th pick. “His stock is rising.”

It seems they’ve decided it would be wiser to use those assets now rather than to take the chance with Chris Bosh.  I can’t say I blame them.

Interesting that word has them after Cousins.  He supposedly measured out as the best prospect in the entire draft in John Hollinger’s statistical ranking, a model which probably is not too far from what Morey and co. are doing.  Still, it’s hard to tell if this indeed is a smoke-screen and that it is someone else whom they are after.  Here’s Henry Abbott on DeMarcus Cousins.

A bidding war with Detroit for the #4 would leave the Rockets too depleted for the Bosh sweepstakes, simply by virtue of the fact that the Pistons sit at #7, a pick far more valuable than that of Houston’s own #14.

The Wolves sit with roughly only $35million of salary obligations for the 2010-2011 season, a figure so far beneath the expected salary cap that it is completely conceivable that Trevor Ariza or Kevin Martin be included in the deal, if necessary.  Other possibilities, in various combinations, would be Jordan Hill, Chase Budinger, the #14, the New York Knicks considerations, and if the Rockets are truly hot after Cousins, even point guard Aaron Brooks.

With the Wolves seemingly set at point guard, and with Love and Jefferson, you would think their primary interest would be in one of the Rockets’ numerous wings, from Trevor Ariza, to Chase Budinger, to even Kevin Martin, with Ariza probably the likeliest to go.

The Houston Rockets have the assets to top almost anyone in a bidding war, but it will come at a steep price.  Given the uncertainty over both Yao’s future and the Chris Bosh sweepstakes, I personally would have no problem with paying a king’s ransom to move up and grab someone they feel can be a cornerstone.

Update: Chad Ford, via Twitter:

Another strong workout for Cousins in NJ today vs. Favors. He shot the lights out again. From what I gather it’s now a toss-up in NJ @ 3

I would guess any deal would be contingent upon the route chosen by the Nets.

Update II: Adrian Wojnarowski, via Twitter:

Minnesota offering Jonny Flynn and two first-round picks (16 and 23) to Indiana for a package that includes the 10th pick, sources tell Y!

I wonder if Kahn thinks he is getting Aaron Brooks?

About the author: Rahat Huq is a lawyer in real life and the founder and editor-in-chief of Red94.net.

in musings
  • Falko

    Detroit has the 7th pick and who? to take Cousins at 4? Or Houston trading the 14th pick and who?

  • Rocket Fan in Santa Barbara

    I'm not sure that there is a huge difference between #7 and #14 in this draft–it is a relatively deep draft, and chances of finding a strong prospect or an immediate contributor are pretty good at #14. I could see giving up Jordan Hill, the NY draft picks, #14, and either Budinger or Ariza, but I'd be loathe to throw in Brooks and Martin. As Rahat has noted many times before, the Brooks/Martin combination has the potential to be something very special. If we broke up that combination to get Bosh–a proven superstar–I could live with that. But to break up combination on an unproven prospect (though one with tremendous potential) is too risky for me.

  • MackBL

    Cousins could play the 4 with Yao and he can get minutes at the 5, Yao's minutes most likely will be cut this season with his foot/feet problems. The Rockets have more wings then they can use but I don't think that Cousins with his size and talent shows up every year.

  • rahat_huq

    Falko – possibly the 7th and Prince but that can't be more attractive than a package with the younger Ariza

    RFSB – It would be tough too, but at the same time, if they are looking to the future with Cousins, and Martin is what it took, I would have no problem giving up the 27 year old.

    MackBL – I think that might be the thinking. Need to use all of these assets now to nab this guy b/c his kind isn't available every year. The draft is the cheapest route through which to nab a superstar and they may feel this is it.

  • Filipefurtado

    Detroit can offer a combo of #7 and either Tayshaun Prince or Rip Hamilton. Maybe even Ben Gordon. Wolves has the worst wing rotation in the league, so those vets are interesting for them. Pistons would definitely prefer to move Hamilton who is old and overpaid but he is the least atractive of the three. A disagree with the idea that there's no difference between #7 and #14, Wolves can grab Aminu at #7 and he is seem as the real cut-off point of the draft.

    The big plus the Rockets have is that Wolves coach is former LA assistant Kurt Rambis who knows Trevor Ariza. Better yet Rambis is making Wolves play the triangle a system many players struggle that Trevor already knows well. So he is more interesting than any of Pistons vets.

    A more interesting deal would make it a three way trade by inviting the Clippers:
    Rockets gets #4
    Clippers get #14 and #16
    Wolves get Ariza, #8 and Chuckwagon (their post D was horrible this year).

    Clippers would love this deal because they are in a very awkward spot, among the 6 players under contract they have 2 quality bigs and a project C and everyone that makes sense at #8 is a big. They can definetely get one of SFs (Hayward, Babbitt, Henry, George) they lwill ikely reach at #8 at #14 and they add a second pick for extra depth.

  • ty185

    Rahat, if you are willing to give up Kevin Martin for Cousins…

    then assuming NJ did take Cousins at #3 before we have a chance to deal with minny, would you consider going to philadelphia to take Brand (and Turner) off their hands and come back to NJ to trade Turner for Cousins + compensation?

    I'm really rooting for Morey to get Cousins if he is feeling so strongly about him, but I'm really nervous about our chances now…

  • Kevin Jennnings

    Get rid of Ariza, 14th pick and Hayes! No more! Wait till free agency a better deal will come. The Rockets are in the best shape in the league don't blow it now!

  • ty185

    Assuming Morey sees Cousins as John Wall-calibre (which it really looks like that way now) though, I wouldn't bet that there's better deal coming later in the free agency…

    I guess it really depend on how much DM value Cousins?

  • rahat_huq

    ty – if they feel strongly about him, then yes. I think if you feel someone will be a superstar, and you have the assets, you have to do it. the draft is the only way to get superstar talent.

  • Steve

    I think the only way you trade Brooks is by knowing you can get the rights to Ricky Rubio. I'm going to have to admit right now it's hard to tell what direction Morey is leaning to. I think if they trade K-Mart, I think the Rockets are saying they are giong to rebuild. If they just trade Hill, Ariza or Baitter, and those NY picks, I would say Morey is planning on making a big splash. As for Detriot, they don't have the assets that Houston has and we all know that. Joe Dumars is pressing very hard to make up what the mess he made over the past two years. Had he just kept his cap space for this year, that team would be sitting very well right now.

    Either way, I trust Morey. He hasn't made too many mistakes as GM. Dorsey is probably the only player we can possibly say was a mistake.

    I think Portand is the team to watch right now. There's a lot of rumors out there that KP is going to try and swing for the fences at draft night to save his job. KP and Morey normally try to beat each other out. Kahn is trying to make a name for himself. Stock piling picks is a start…

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