Why the Rockets would hang up the phone on the Blazers
The Rockets face a very real possibility of losing their 2024 first-round pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder, as a result of the Russell Westbrook trade. The pick is top-four protected and the Rockets have their sights set on making the postseason and not being a lottery team.
They've mitigated that due to the addition of the 19-year-old Whitmore, who would likely be a top-three pick in the 2024 NBA Draft if he remained at Villanova. So why give him up at all?
Especially after seeing him develop in the playmaking arena in the G-League. Not to mention his improved 3-point shot (43.1 percent in the G-League Showcase).
Whitmore could give the Rockets one hell of a scoring punch off the bench in the coming years and is still on a rookie deal. They don't have any incentive to ship him off.
He's just not quite ready to contribute yet, since he's still a raw prospect. Which is why he isn't getting any burn on the Rockets. Not because they don't want him or don't value him. If that was the case, they wouldn't have given serious consideration to drafting him with the fourth overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.
They also don't have any reason to part with Jeff Green, who has discovered the fountain of youth and has been playing much better than anticipated on both ends of the floor. Not to mention that Green is on an extremely team friendly deal that allows them to essentially use him as a human trade exception.
As for the others in the deal- Oladipo and Landale- they can surely go elsewhere. However, they don't possess much of any trade value, aside from allowing a team to offload an albatross of a contract.
Which is where Grant comes in the picture, I'm sure. However, his contract is something the Rockets should steer clear from (5 years, $160 million remaining) and would steal minutes from Jabari Smith Jr. despite doing some of the same things at a MUCH lower annual figure (for now).