The Houston Rockets quite famously -- or infamously, at this point -- attempted to land the services of Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol before the lockout-shortened 2011-12 NBA season began. They were a part of a proposed three-team deal with Los Angeles and the New Orleans Hornets that would have brought Gasol to Houston and sent Chris Paul to the Lakers. That deal, of course, was denied by NBA Commissioner David Stern, but it appears as though the Rockets will have one more chance to get their man as the trade deadline draws near.
SB Nation's own Tom Ziller took a look at the wants and needs of the Houston Rockets, as well as potential targets.
A frontcourt star is the major target, with Goran Dragic, Luis Scola and Kevin Martin -- the Gasol package -- apparently in play. Of course, one acquisition there creates a hole elsewhere, especially with regards to Martin. Houston does have the Knicks' first-round draft pick unless New York slips into the lottery and wins a miraculous top-5 pick. That should end up right around No. 16 or so. Houston's own pick will be closer to No. 20, but so long as the Rockets make the playoffs it will be headed to the New Jersey Nets (Terrence Williams trade, huzzah!). Houston has already traded its 2013 first-round pick (lotto protected) for Donatas Motiejunas and, uh, Jonny Flynn; it should receive Memphis' 2013 as a result of the Hasheem Thabeet-Shane Battier trade. Short version: draft picks aren't really in play for Houston.
Houston could be an intriguing third team in a Dwight Howard deal, especially if the Nets are involved since additional assets are needed. I fail to see how Houston can land a star in such a deal, but the Rockets always seem to be willing to get in the mix with assets at stake.
No one on the Houston roster can be deemed "untouchable," but Kyle Lowry is pretty close, one would imagine.
Time will tell whether the Rockets will finally be able to land Gasol, but there is a possibility it could happen very soon.
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