16 Players the Houston Rockets gave up on way too soon

Houston Rockets, Goran Dragic, Kyle Lowry
Houston Rockets, Goran Dragic, Kyle Lowry / Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports
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7. Otis Thorpe

Thorpe was drafted ninth overall by the Kings in 1984, and he blossomed into a star in year three. The 6’10 forward spent four seasons with his first franchise before being dealt to Houston in 1988 for two role players.

Thorpe took his game to another level in Houston playing next to Hakeem Olajuwon. He became an All-Star in 1992 and helped the Rockets reach the playoffs five times in his six full seasons with the franchise. Thorpe was the team’s second-leading scorer and rebounder on their 1994 title squad, and he played all 82 games five times in six years.

The Rockets traded Thorpe to the Trail Blazers at the 1995 deadline to get Clyde Drexler. Houston went on to win a second straight championship as the 6’10 came off the bench in Portland behind Cliff Robinson and Buck Williams. Thorpe bounced around the NBA over the next six seasons but remained a key role player into his mid-30s. He retired in 2001 after 17 years in the league.

The Houston Rockets saw the opportunity to land another star, and they took it. The trade meant giving up on Otis Thorpe too soon but winning a second straight championship made it worthwhile.