The Houston Rockets hope to break out of a three-year rebuild and get back into the playoffs. Head coach Stephen Silas was let go, the cupboard is stocked with young talent, the owner is eager to win, and those James Harden rumors (subscription required) are about to get louder.
The question is how do the Rockets get back into the playoffs? They do not seem eager to let the young talent develop. Houston owes their 2024 first-round pick to the Thunder unless it falls into the top four, so they to be in the hunt next season. Is bringing Harden back enough to do that?
The Rockets have cap space, but convincing premium free agents to join their young roster won’t be easy. Houston likely has to make a few trades to vault back into the playoff picture, but what assets do they have after trading several first-round picks to the Thunder for Russell Westbrook back in 2019? Here is a look at their ten best.
Houston Rockets top 10 assets: 10. Kevin Porter Jr.
Kevin Porter Jr. keeps getting better. He averaged a career-high in points, rebounds, steals, and free throw percentage in his fourth NBA season, and the 22-year-old still has room to grow.
KPJ put up 19 points, five rebounds, and five assists per game, which was only accomplished by Nikola Jokic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Luka Doncic, James Harden, Ja Morant, Kyrie Irving, Russell Westbrook, Jrue Holiday, Domantas Sabonis, Draymond Green, Dejounte Murray, and Josh Giddey this season. Yes, KPJ and Giddey were the only two non-All-Stars to produce those numbers.
Porter Jr. is about to begin a four-year $63.4 million extension where next season is fully guaranteed, but the 2024-25 season only has $1 million guaranteed, which eliminates the risk of things going south.
KPJ could be a key piece of any trade the Rockets make because the 22-year-old has a ton of room to grow and offers little financial commitment. Will Houston shop the 6’4 guard this offseason? They could put together a massive package featuring some potentially juicy draft choices if the Rockets decide to go that route.