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NBA Trade Rumors: Rockets Wanted Draft's No. 1 Pick to Avoid Chet Holmgren Decision

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVJuly 7, 2022

Chris Gardner/Getty Images

The Houston Rockets reportedly made a last-minute trade offer to the Orlando Magic in an attempt to land the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NBA draft.

Tim MacMahon and Brian Windhorst of ESPN reported the Rockets wanted to move up and target either Jabari Smith or Paolo Banchero while avoiding making a decision regarding Chet Holmgren. Houston was not provided medical reports for Holmgren ahead of the draft and would have had to make an on-the-fly decision regarding the Gonzaga product if he slid to No. 3.

As it stands, the Rockets never had to make a decision. The Oklahoma City Thunder took Holmgren with the second pick, leaving Smith for Houston.

MacMahon and Windhorst reported the Rockets would not have pursued a trade if they knew Smith would fall to them.

The report is not an indictment of Holmgren's health but merely a look at the cat-and-mouse game that goes on behind the scenes at the top of the draft. Agents do not typically provide medical information to teams if they feel their player will be off the board by the time the team picks. Information can also be held back as a way to steer a team clear of a player who doesn't want to go to a particular destination.

Holmgren's agent, Bill Duffy, reportedly told the Rockets he would only provide medical information if he felt his client would fall to No. 3.

As it stands, it appears the draft worked out for all three teams at the top of the board. The Magic got the player they wanted at No. 1 with Paolo Banchero, Holmgren went No. 2 and the Rockets got Smith at No. 3 without having to give up compensation to move up in the draft.

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