2. Trading the fourth overall pick for a "star"
Early in the year, Rockets insider Kelly Iko of The Athletic suggested that the Rockets would trade their 2023 first-round pick if the lottery isn't kind to them (subscription required). Iko stated:
"If the Rockets somehow end up picking that low, I’d be surprised if they did’t explore moving that pick anyway."
Iko followed that up with an even stronger conviction regarding the Rockets' chances of trading a pick that fell outside of the top three.
"If they’re not getting their hands on Wembanyama, Henderson or even Miller, especially after a difficult season, that pick is as good as gone."
As we obviously know, the Rockets landed the fourth pick in the 2023 draft lottery. And although many viewed that as a disappointment because they surely missed out on Victor Wembanyama, the pick could've been worse, as the Rockets came eerily close to drafting sixth overall.
But not only that, the pick holds extreme value, as it could help them land another pillar, which would be pivotal for their chances of returning to postseason play. Besides, what would the Rockets get in exchange for the fourth pick?
A superstar? Surely not. Because those are nearly impossible to replace and usually come with a much more significant price tag. The Rockets would likely be landing a second-tier player, as opposed to an All-NBA performer and is that worth moving the pick?
Furthermore, would the Rockets be better suited to trade for a B-level player who would eat into their cap space and hinder them from adding a star-level player down the line? Or would it be smarter to use the pick to select the likes of Amen Thompson?
I think you know the answer to that.
If the Rockets want to trade the pick to move up and land Scoot Henderson, that would be one thing. But if they want to ship it away to trade for a "star", that would be disastrous.