Despite being in position to build their long-term outlook with a bevy of future picks, the Houston Rockets aren't motivated to trade their veteran players for draft choices.
Per Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle on Saturday, the Rockets have "no interest" in tanking by "by trading off veterans to collect assets and losses that could help lottery chances."
That deal gave Houston three unprotected first-round picks from the Nets in 2022, 2024 and 2026, as well as pick swaps in 2021, 2023, 2025 and 2027.
Along with Victor Oladipo, P.J. Tucker is the last significant trade domino the Rockets have to play this season. The 35-year-old is a versatile wing player in the final year of his current deal. Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported Tucker is likely to be dealt "sooner rather than later."
Even though the 2021 pick swap doesn't seem likely to bear fruit since the Nets currently own the NBA's joint-fourth-best record (24-13), the Rockets are poised to get a great pick in this year's draft anyway. They have lost 13 consecutive games heading into the All-Star break. Their 11-23 record is ahead of only the Minnesota Timberwolves (7-29) and Detroit Pistons (10-26).
Those unprotected picks and pick swaps in later years could turn out to be great for the Rockets. The Nets are built on a foundation of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden. Durant and Harden are both over the age of 30.
Given the current state of their roster and those future draft assets, the Rockets don't have to deliberately tank in order to successfully rebuild their franchise.