Why the Rockets win
The Rockets are able to land a first-round pick that they were never going to get for Eric Gordon or David Nwaba. The pick won’t be a lottery pick, but if it doesn’t convey this season, it could be a blessing. The Rockets start sending out their own first-round picks to the Oklahoma City Thunder starting in 2024. An extra first-round pick to play with could prove useful as the team transitions from a rebuild to an up-and-coming playoff hopeful.
Much like the Spurs, the Rockets are still trying to be as bad as possible to maximize their lottery odds. Gordon led an eight-game win streak last season, and while that’s unlikely to repeat itself, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
For a trade to happen, every party needs to feel like they walked away with something of value. The Rockets and the Spurs are both in a rebuild and want to get younger and build up their asset base. The Lakers want to compete for a championship without mortgaging their 2023 cap space or remaining draft picks. In this deal, everyone gets exactly what they're looking for. Well, except for Russell Westbrook. But hey, if Pop can't fix him, no one can.