It has been a long time since the last visit to the site of Kobe Bryant's pre-draft workouts, and now it appears he has found a new home in the NBA. The Houston Rockets has been quiet about the pick, and most other teams haven't mentioned their intentions. There are a few factors that make this a smart move by the Rockets.
First, while the Houston Rockets has shown no interest in drafting a player they haven't played with, they have made no secret about their willingness to take on the full salary of any player that the Los Angeles Lakers sends them. It is possible that the Rockets will draft Kobe and have him sign a minimum contract. If this is the case, it makes more sense for the Rockets to take a gamble on a player like Kyle Lowry who can fill the role of a starter and play defense at the same time.
Second, the Rockets will have an open roster spot when Kobe becomes a free agent, so they won't have to worry about how to fit him on their team, or whether they will be able to get the best possible deal for him once he does. There is absolutely no doubt that there are several teams that have been scouting the Lakers to try and get a deal done before he gets to free agency. It will be interesting to see if the Houston Rockets continue to have their eye on the Lakers or if they will go after the other top players as well.
It is clear that Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey has seen a lot of Kobe Bryant through the years, but what exactly is his philosophy for player acquisition? While he may have come up with an ideal trade for Chris Paul, it may not have been the best idea for the Rockets to take that chance, especially after the failed free agency process with Carmelo Anthony.
Instead of using that as the basis for another major move, it seems more likely that the Rockets will go with a smaller move and try to acquire Tim Duncan as an upgrade on the wing for the Rockets. By doing so, they can then turn to Pau Gasol for a superstar who can start and shoot three pointers, while James Harden can play the four.
This could be the best move the Rockets have made all year, especially when you look at the fact that the Lakers were interested in trading their pick to Houston to get Tim Duncan. While that would have worked, it doesn't make sense to give up that much for a guy who has one of the highest scoring averages in the league and won't help you on the defensive end anyway.
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