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Rockets GM Stone says he will listen to offers for No. 3 pick (but don’t bet on him trading it)

2022 NBA Draft Lottery

CHICAGO,IL - MAY 17: General Manager, Rafael Stone looks on as the Houston Rockets are picked 3rd overall in the NBA Draft during the 2022 NBA Draft Lottery at McCormick Place on May 17, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

Last June, the Rockets believe they drafted a cornerstone player in Jalen Green with the No. 2 pick.

This June, the Rockets have the No. 3 pick and may be able to grab a player to pair with Green: Duke’s Paolo Banchero, Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren, or maybe Auburn’s Jabari Smith. Any of those three with Green could set the Rockets’ foundation for the next decade.

Or, Houston could trade the No. 3 pick.

That’s on the table, Houston GM Rafael Stone said after the Draft Lottery on Tuesday.

Stone is saying exactly what a GM should say, and if another team comes in with a godfather offer — one he can’t refuse — Stone will trade the No. 3 pick.

Don’t bet on it, though.

The best way to build a stable contender is to draft well and have a good player development program. It’s how the core of the Warriors was built, and the Bucks, and the Celtics, and the Grizzlies, and... you get the idea. There are still free agents forming superteams in the league, but that’s not how most teams can build (you need deep pockets in a major market/destination to pull together a superteam, and even then how did that go this season?).

Stone is trying to do it the slow and steady way in Houston, a change from his predecessor. No way he is giving up the No. 3 pick without an offer that would border on malpractice from the other team. The only question is who will be left on the board when he picks? (The early money is on Banchero, but things shift.)