Houston Rockets weren't major players in Thursday night's NBA Draft. The Rockets had no first round pick, and only had one selection in the second round, 34th overall. Sportstalk 790's Matt Patrick says that was by design. "They want to save as much cap space as they can to get into the Dwight Howard sweepstakes," he tells KTRH. "If they would have drafted a first round pick, they would have had to guarantee a contract for the next three seasons." Howard is the 2004 number one overall pick by Orlando who spent last season with the L.A. Lakers and is now considered the top free agent on the market. The Rockets, Dallas Mavericks and Atlanta Hawks are expected to be the three biggest suitors for Howard if he chooses not to re-sign with the Lakers.
The Rockets still have some more work to do before they can start their full-court press for Howard. Namely, trading forward Thomas Robinson, last year's number five overall pick by Sacramento who was acquired in a midseason trade. "If they have the cap space, which they will if they move Thomas Robinson, the Dwight Howard love affair will obviously start when the free agency period starts in July," says Thomas. The Rockets have been shopping Robinson to various teams in recent weeks, but haven't been able to reach a deal.
In the meantime, the Rockets used their pick last night on Isaiah Canaan, a speedy point guard from Murray State. Canaan was a four-year starter and two-time Ohio Valley Conference player of the year. If he isn't traded, he would fit the Rockets' up-tempo style alongside Jeremy Lin, James Harden, and Chandler Parsons. Canaan may turn out to be a solid player in the NBA, but for now the Rockets' focus isn't on him or on this draft. It's on something bigger. "This is all about the summer of Dwight Howard," says Thomas.
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