San Diego Rockets
The San Diego Rockets entered the NBA as prior to the 1967-68 season, along with the Seattle SuperSonics, as the league expanded to 12 teams. The Rockets received their team name because it kept with San Diego’s then-theme of a “city in motion,” while reflecting the growth of space-age industries in San Diego. The 1967-68 Rockets compiled a league-worst 15-67 record, but were able to select University of Houston’s star Elvin Hayes with the first overall pick in the 1968 NBA Draft. As a rookie, Hayes scored an NBA-leading 28.4 points per game, helping the team to a 37-45 record and a playoff berth. The Rockets drafted Rudy Tomjanovich and Calvin Murphy in the 1970 NBA Draft, but were unable to produce a winning record in any of their four seasons in San Diego.
In June 1971, Texas Sports Investments bought the Rockets franchise for $5.6 million and moved the team to Houston.