Before Wednesday, the Rockets’ future belonged to the Thunder. Oklahoma City holds two first-round swap rights and two top-five protected picks through 2026, making it a parasite to Houston’s impending rebuild.
But by trading James Harden to the Nets for a strong draft return, the Rockets began to escape the corner they had been boxed into. They might soon have years with multiple lottery picks, a possibility not on the table before the Harden blockbuster.
Houston never wanted to lose its top player, but under the circumstances, the deal was probably necessary to kickstart a youth movement. The team also received Victor Oladipo on an expiring contract in the four-team Harden deal by flipping Caris LeVert to Indiana.
Here’s what the Rockets have to work with through 2026.
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Rockets draft picks after James Harden trade
Here’s the complete list of future first-round draft picks now owned by the Rockets:
|Year||First-round draft pick(s)|
|2021||Own if inside top 4 or worst of order with MIA and OKC (with option to swap with BKN) + DET pick if outside top 16 + POR pick if outside top 14|
|2022||Own + DET pick if outside top 16* + POR pick if outside top 14* + BKN pick + MIL pick|
|2023||Own with option to swap with BKN + DET pick if outside top 18* + POR if pick if outside top 14* + WAS pick if outside top 14|
|2024||Own if inside top 5 + BKN pick + DET pick if outside top 18* + POR pick if outside top 14* + WAS pick if outside top 12*|
|2025||Own if inside top 10 with option to swap with BKN + OKC pick if own is outside top 10 + DET pick if outside top 13* + POR pick if outside top 14* + WAS pick if outside top 10*|
*No selection if pick previously conveyed
What draft picks did the Rockets get for James Harden?
The Rockets received Brooklyn’s 2022, 2024 and 2026 first-rounders, Milwaukee’s 2022 first-rounder (via Brooklyn) and four future pick swap options with Brooklyn.