Houston Rockets may be winning James Harden trade

Our staff will report on news and insights from the NBA draft Thursday night.

On a Texas Sports Nation podcast in May, Jonathan Feigen and I talked about Jabari Smith Jr. and how we thought he might fit into Houston. You can listen to this podcast here. — Danielle Lerner

Pistons charge with Ivey

7:37 p.m — The Pistons must love life.

A year ago they picked Cade Cunningham with the first pick and received a fantastic building block but passed on the explosive high ceiling talents of Jalen Green.

On Thursday, they brought in Jaden Ivey, a player with green-level athletics, giving the Pistons a potentially sensational backcourt of players who complement each other phenomenally. — Jonathan Feigen

Missiles speed up reconstruction

7:36 p.m – The Rockets drafted a No. 1 last year and took Jalen Green for No. 2.

Jabari Smith, who was widely expected to be the No. 1 overall pick in Thursday’s draft, suddenly fell into the hands of the Rockets at No. 3.

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The Rockets’ defense improved immediately when Smith was included in Stephen Silas’ young roster.

Now the rumored No. 1 pick of 2022 can prove them wrong with the Rockets, who need all the talent they can get and just added a potential star to pair with Green. — Brian T Smith

Rockets get a #1 player in #3

7:32 p.m – We may never know who the Rockets would have picked if they had made the first choice of draft. No one would disagree or doubt them if they say it was Jabari Smith Jr.

Smith was the popular choice of many to pick first regardless of which team had the right to pick him, with shooting range, defensive intensity and switching ability ideal for the modern NBA.

The Magic left with the more NBA-ready Paolo Banchero and The Thunder stuck with the length and potential of Chet Holmgren. But that gave the Rockets, a team that desperately needed Smith’s strengths as a shooter and defender, a player undeniably worthy of a #1 pick with the third pick of the draft.

A year and a day after the Rockets got out of the draft lottery with the pick they used for Jalen Green, they emerged from the draft with his running mate. They might not have gotten the player they expected, but they still had reason to celebrate. — Jonathan Feigen

Missiles make their choice

7:26 p.m – The Rockets didn’t choose first but landed the player who was most expected to be first in the 2022 NBA draft up until the final hours of the draft.

The Rockets picked versatile Auburn forward Jabari Smith Jr. with the third pick of the draft, giving them what is considered the top big man shooter in the NBA draft.

Smith, a 6-10 forward with defensive skills to play as a three or four, made 42 percent of his 3-pointers as a freshman.

Smith didn’t visit the Rockets but became available when Orlando Magic’s Paolo Banchero with the first pick and the Oklahoma City Thunder grabbed Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren for second. — Jonathan Feigen

All for free

7:20 p.m — THAT’S WHY I don’t write much before events. THAT’S why they play the games.

I had some cool tidbits about Paolo Banchero that I wanted to share with #Rockets fans. #oops – Jerome Solomon

Holmgren goes 2nd

7:19 p.m — After the overwhelming selection of Duke’s Paolo Banchero with the first pick of the draft, Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren predictably went to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

That paved the way for the Rockets to pick Jabari Smith Jr., who was considered a huge favorite for first place until late Thursday. — Jonathan Feigen

The Rockets’ plans were turned upside down

7:16 p.m – The Orlando Magic were expected to pick Auburn’s Jabari Smith with the No. 1 but, to a shock to many, chose Duke forward Paolo Banchero instead. This probably throws a wrench into the Rockets’ plans. Banchero worked for Houston but not Orlando. Smith has only worked for Orlando and Oklahoma City, who hold the No. 2 pick. Chet Holmgren declined to reveal his training list. I have to wonder what Smith and Holmgren, in addition to the Rockets’ front office, think. — Danielle Lerner

Banchero goes 1st overall

7:13 p.m — The Rockets’ presumptive first pick, Duke’s Paolo Banchero, was off the table with the first pick.

The Orlando Magic, long thought to take over Auburn’s Jabari Smith Jr., chose Banchero, a stunner who messed up virtually every draft minute played in the draft and topped the draft — including the Rockets pick on spot 3 – insecure .

With that, the Rockets are expected to get either Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren or Smith, both of whom are considered No. 1-worthy prospects. — Jonathan Feigen

Eric Gordon on the market?

The 76ers are looking to acquire Eric Gordon and use Matisse Thybulle as an asset, and are even trying to get a third team to participate, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. However, the teams want to deal solely with the Sixers rather than help them facilitate a deal to bring Gordon from the Houston Rockets, the Inquirer says. The Portland Trail Blazers are ready to strike a direct deal for Thybulle, according to sources. — Reid Laymance

third choice? Not too shabby

The Rockets will pick third overall for only the second time (Louisville’s Rodney McCray was their other third overall pick in 1983).

Here’s a look at some notable third-place finishers in the modern era of the NBA draft (since 1966): Pete Maravich, Marques Johnson, Kevin McHale, Dominique Wilkins, Sean Elliott, Grant Hill, Chauncey Billups, Pau Gasol, Carmelo Anthony, James Harden , Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and some guy named Michael Jordan.

So the No. 3 spot, while having its fair share of failures (with Adam Morrison and Dennis Hopson), has been a good place to pick top talent over the years. — Gregory Rajan

Time to shop into this remodel

6:15 p.m – If basketball was like Wall Street, now is the time to buy into and invest in the Rockets — mostly because they can’t get any worse. — Brian T Smith.

Banchero’s purple reign

5:11 p.m — Paolo Banchero, the Rockets’ 3rd pick overall pick, appeared in a purple suit for today’s draft, which he says is a nod to his parents and the University of Washington.

Banchero played at Duke, but his mother, Rhonda, and father, Mario, were athletes in Washington, where they met. Paolo, 19, grew up in Seattle and surprised many by choosing to play for the Blue Devils over his parents’ alma mater.

While I’m not an expert in design clothing, I do enjoy the annual fashion show. I don’t remember any player showing up in Paolo’s purple.

Without a doubt, he’s the first to come to the NBA Draft with pins shaped like disco balls all over his suit.

Banchero is the first frontrunner in this year’s Best Dressed competition. — Jerome Solomon

Rockets appear to be winning the Nets Harden trade

5:10 p.m — The NBA draft is still on the red carpet, but there is speculation that the Rockets have already won.

That’s perhaps a bit premature. And it has nothing to do with what they do with the third draft pick or the other picks they control tonight. But ahead of the draft, ESPN reported that Nets star Kyrie Irving has compiled a team list he would love to step in if he can’t agree on a contract extension to stay with his newest team, and The athlete added this superstar running buddy Kevin Durant is watching the situation, presumably deciding if he should stay.

For the Rockets, a dissolution of the Nets in the years following the Rockets’ split from James Harden could pay off as hoped. The Rockets insisted on getting as many unprotected first-round picks as possible when they agreed to sell Harden.

That has already earned them the 17th pick tonight, a pick that is vastly better than most would have predicted when the nets trade closed.

The Rockets also have the Nets’ picks in 2024 and 2026 and the right to trade picks with the Nets in 2025 and 2027. The Thunder could take over the Rockets’ picks in 2025 unless they fall in the top 10. But this season wobbles out, the Rockets still have plenty of Nets picks after cashing one tonight.

It’s too early to tell if these Nets picks will improve. Durant didn’t want to run away when Harden left town so quickly. He could make it work with whatever the Nets get back for Irving when Irving starts looking for a new home again.

At the moment, it’s difficult to determine if Irving is trying to apply pressure with the help of Durant’s “monitoring” of the situation, or if there’s fire going on with all the smoke.

Anyhow, today’s reports are a reminder of why Rocket’s general manager Rafael Stone wanted as many chances as possible for an acquired selection to infuse the rebuild with a pot of gold. Meanwhile, when it comes to off-season speculation and news, the NBA never disappoints. — Jonathan Feigen

Start the countdown

4:30 p.m — Welcome to our NBA Draft live blog. We’re only about three hours away from the Rockets making the first of their three first-round picks (Nos. 3, 17, and 26 overall), barring trades. We’ll be getting updates and analysis from our writers throughout the night, so keep checking back. — Gregory Rajan

design facts

When: 7 p.m. CT Thursday
Where: Barclays Center; brooklyn, new york,
Stream: ESPN.com or ESPN App (authentication may be required for cable/satellite subscription)
Rocket’s tips: #3, #17 (from Brooklyn, Handel James Harden), #26 (from Dallas, Handel Christian Wood)

draft preview

• The moment of rockets is within reach
• Owner Tilman Fertitta says draft “should be exciting for us”
• How Rocket combines data, old-school eye tests in the design process
• Paolo Banchero sees Rockets fit
• Chet Holmgren, the tall, skinny, quiet guy
• Jabari Smith sees no need to meet with Rockets
• The G-League roster is designed to boost NBA careers
• Baylor’s Jeremy Sochan ready for NBA start
• Rocket story with lottery tips

Our mock drafts

Number 1: Top three a good place
No. 2: Find the right star
#3: The timber trade brings another choice
Number 4: How “aggressive” will Rockets be?

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