18 people who turned their back on the Houston Rockets franchise

NBA All-Star Game 2016
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12. Brook Lopez

The worst kept secret in the 2023 offseason was the Rockets' interest in Brook Lopez. The franchise hired Ime Udoka, a known defensive specialist, who sought to make changes to bolster the team's 29th-ranked defense. 

The team added Dillon Brooks, an elite defender on the wing, and Fred VanVleet, one of the best defenders at the point guard position. And it didn't hurt that both players had been a part of deep postseason runs, while VanVleet won a championship with the Toronto Raptors. 

The Rockets were a young team with six players having been acquired within the last three years of the NBA Draft. Adding Lopez, a veteran who was a Defensive Player of the Year finalist, who could also show the young guys how to be a consummate professional, would've been perfect for the Rockets' young core.

At least to Udoka, who had influence over the Rockets' roster.

The Rockets had a verbal agreement with Lopez, so they began making deals in an attempt to create cap space. Josh Christopher was dealt along with KJ Martin, Usman Garuba, and TyTy Washington. 

Then, at the last minute, Lopez stayed with the Milwaukee Bucks, making the Rockets look foolish and forcing the team to move on to a lesser option, Jock Landale, who has been awful in 2023-24.