“aggressive” rockets in pursuit of Cade Cunningham and No. 1 – .

“aggressive” rockets in pursuit of Cade Cunningham and No. 1 – .

As we get closer to the NBA Draft, we will continually hear more about rumored trades and less and less about the likelihood of an actual trade going through. There are a lot of rumors, innuendos, smokescreens and stuff lost in the phone game translation between front offices, agents, gamers, rough numbers and journalists.

That being said, more and more reports indicate that the Houston Rockets adore Cade Cunningham and are hoping to either secure a trade with the Detroit Pistons for the No.1 pick or that the Pistons do not have a Cade on their roster. edge and it drops to # 2.

There are fewer reports of what Detroit actually intends to do, and existing reports are in conflict. Some say Detroit general manager Troy Weaver indicated shortly after winning the lottery that Cade was the guy. Others indicate a craze for Jalen Green and Evan Mobley, and that the gap between the three players is quite small. That last point would make a trade possible, but there are no reports to indicate how seriously Detroit is considering the possibility of moving its pick.

But back to the initial report. The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor was a guest on The Bill Simmons podcast and had this to say about Cade and Houston:

« I hear the same thing as you. Whether the Rockets love Cade, whether they want to try and get him – whether it’s to trade or to hope Detroit overtakes him in the first row.

Echoing these statements, new information from Shams Charania of The Athletic:

The Rockets have been aggressive in their pursuit of Detroit’s No.1 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft and have also discussed goaltender Eric Gordon in business scenarios, sources said.

I guess that means Gordon is a separate consideration as the Rockets are looking to make moves and in no way would be tied to the talks for the No.1 pick.

The more time passes, the more it seems that if the odds of Detroit trading the top pick are already very low, the only possible trading partner is Houston at No.2. That’s because I expect Troy Weaver to be ‘away from this draft. with the best player on their board. If it’s Cade, the choice will be Cade. If it’s Mobley or Green, they’ll try to negotiate with Houston and if not, they’ll just take Mobley or Green # 1.

Again, the chances of this happening are low. The odds of Cunningham not being No.1 on their board are also low, but not impossible. He’s certainly not a perfect prospect, and there are other extremely talented guys in this draft.

But he definitely looks like a Troy Weaver-type player as a potential two-way threat with formidable size, strength, work ethic, and stature that makes Weaver’s heart beat faster.

Taking a step back, however, if he does manage to get Mobley or Green higher on his board, we need to think about what a deal might look like. Cunningham has potential shortcomings, to put it mildly, or red flags if you’re less charitable – lack of elite athleticism, rolling issues, poor shooting inside the arc.

If he rips up terabytes of movies, background reviews, and good old-fashioned scouts and says Mobley is my guy, what would a deal look like?

Our friends from Athletic recently did this exercise. Kelly Iko, the Rockets’ beat writer, reached out to his colleagues to solicit potential trade offers for Houston’s No.2 pick, and Detroit’s James L. Edwards III was included.

Edwards presented a Detroit No.1 bundle for No.2, Houston’s No.23, a Houston first-round pick in 2023 and the Rockets give the Pistons back the first round due as part of the trade. of Isaiah Stewart. It would be three more picks in the first round to lose a place.

Iko had this to say:


For starters, let’s just repeat that as much as the Rockets love Green, they love Cunningham. There’s no question how badly Houston wanted Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum to return his team card for the last time on the lottery show a few weeks ago.

Cunningham’s draft allows Silas to keep his Wall-Porter backcourt together and add a savvy and tall wing playmaker. From there he can get funky with programming combinations, having all three at the same time, stunning Cunningham with one of the Porter / Walls and even throwing Cunningham alone in places, possibly flanked by Gordon, Danuel House, etc. This saves you time for Porter to continue learning the ropes, creating chemistry with Cunningham, and allowing for a smooth passing of the torch whenever Houston and Wall go their separate ways.

The Rockets also keep their 24th pick, which they can use on a shooter or a big athletic with an advantage. The deal in itself is a lot – three firsts and one more return – but the first pick in any draft should never be cheap. One important thing to consider is what Edwards said, this only happens if the Houston front office judges Cunningham this much better than in the field. If the answer is yes, you pull the trigger. If not, you sit down and just take Green, Mobley, or Suggs.

Would Weaver (and Stone) buy this logic? That’s the million dollar question. And the one who, fortunately, will finally get an answer during the NBA Draft night on July 29.


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