Should Houston Rockets "go star hunting" with third overall pick?

Could the Houston Rockets make a move for Jimmy Butler this summer?
Could the Houston Rockets make a move for Jimmy Butler this summer? / Tim Warner/GettyImages

Patience is a virtue. Yet, the early bird gets the worm. Nobody ever said that the patient bird gets the worm. In the bird world, a worm is a really big deal.

In the NBA, the worm is a star player. Every team wants superstars. Still, every team isn't in an opportune position to land a superstar.

Are the Houston Rockets in that position? They were extremely fortunate to land the third overall pick in the 2024 NBA draft. That's not a position that a .500 team expects to find themselves in.

Could the Rockets include that pick in a package for a star?

Houston Rockets allegedly star-hunting

It seems like the Rockets are at least considering that course of action.

"They've drafted well in Houston, and they've blended it with some good veterans (like Fred VanVleet and Dillon Brooks). So I think there'll be a lot of conversations with Houston — I think that pick will be available"

Adrian Wojnarowski

If you're new around here, Adrian Wojnarowski is the single most successful NBA insider of the modern era. When he speaks, the masses listen. If Woj says it, the rumor has legs.

So, we can assume that, at the very least, the Rockets are entertaining options. On the other hand, we've got conflicting information coming directly from the horse's mouth.

Let's be honest. Rafael Stone is a lawyer, and an NBA general manager. He understands that part of his job is protecting information that's vital to his organization. The Rockets may in fact be shopping this pick for a star:

Should they?

Houston Rockets should tread lightly

As in any case, it depends on the deal that's on the table.

The Rockets were 41-41 in 2023-24. That's a competitive team. It's also a team that's far short of title contention.

So, the Rockets ought to be stingy with their future assets. The optimal path to success would have them keeping their cache of draft capital until their core takes an organic step forward. When that time comes, they can cash in their chips for a superstar player.

That's not to say that the Rockets need to make a selection with this pick. They could package it with some combination of Dillon Brooks, Jae'Sean Tate, Steven Adams, and/or Jock Landale to upgrade their roster.

What caliber of player does that package land them? We're unsure. An aging wing like Paul George or Jimmy Butler could be available for roughly that price. If they are, the Rockets could justify making that type of acquisition.

They should get cold feet when it comes to making a trade for a younger star. For example, suppose Donovan Mitchell requested a trade this summer. The third overall pick in a weak deal won't be nearly enough to bring him to Houston.

Whatever package the Rockets could offer would be premature given this team's place in the rebuilding cycle. Unless a true MVP candidate is on the trade block, the Rockets should hold serve, They can trade this pick, but moving future picks would be foolhardy. The Rockets need to be patient:

Their worm will come.