About 1,000 Houston Rockets fans showed up at the Toyota Center on Thursday night to watch the NBA draft on a giant screen, poised to celebrate a franchise-changing move.
It didn't come.
The Rockets drafted Connecticut guard Jeremy Lamb, Iowa State forward Royce White and Kentucky forward Terrence Jones in the first round, but didn't make the blockbuster deal many anticipated after a week of rumors and speculation. Houston had no second-round picks.
''There were a lot of things in the hopper, I could tell you that, a lot of different things we were looking at,'' coach Kevin McHale said. ''Ideally, it would've been nice to be able to pull off a trade that really would've helped the team, pretty much immediately. But when those (trades) kind of fell through, we took the players we felt were the best there and we're really happy with the draft.
''Am I disappointed?'' McHale said. ''There were a few trades that I was excited that we might be able to do. But when they fell through, you move on and you draft and I thought we did a nice job on the draft.''
Houston was the most active team leading up to the draft, trading swingman Chase Budinger and center Samuel Dalembert to acquire two picks in the first round. The Rockets were reportedly building a package to offer a team in exchange for a superstar, possibly Orlando's Dwight Howard.
Something big could still happen after free agency begins on July 1. It just didn't on Thursday night.
''Things were just drying up, as it usually does,'' McHale said. ''Maybe down the road, something could get resurrected again. But as of right now, I would say that we're going to move forward with the team.''
Houston went 34-32 last season and missed the playoffs for the third straight season.
Rockets general manager Daryl Morey started this week with the 14th and 16th picks, then traded Budinger to Minnesota to acquire the 18th pick. On Wednesday, Houston dealt Dalembert and the 14th pick to the Bucks for the 12th pick, a future second-round pick and three players.