By Fitzgerald Cecilio

Houston, TX

In a move designed to lure Dwight Howard from the Orlando Magic, the Houston Rockets have traded Chase Budinger and the draft rights to Lior Eliyahu to the Minnesota Timberwolves for the 18th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.

"It's part of the business," Budinger told KRIV-TV in Houston. "The Rockets want to do something and they have got to pay for it."

Aside from the completed deal, the Rockets are also in discussion with Sacramento about sending its No. 14 and No. 16 picks in the first round in exchange for the Kings' No. 5 pick. The 18th pick could also be included in the imminent deal with the Kings.

Houston is also contemplating sending point guard Kyle Lowry to a team in the top 10 to acquire another pick.

The Rockets are working to acquire enough manpower to lure the Magic to a trade involving superstar center Howard.

But sources said the Rockets are also interested in acquiring other established players if Howard is not available. Among them is Atlanta Hawks swingman Josh Smith, who requested for a trade early in the season but backed out.

Budinger will be a big help to the Timberwolves, who are looking for a steady outside shooter to support point guard Ricky Rubio and power forward Kevin Love. The Wolves have Michael Beasley, Wes Johnson and Martell Webster but they were inconsistent all season.

Budinger averaged 9.6 points, 3.7 rebounds and shot 40.2 percent from 3-point range in his third season with the Rockets.

The former second-round pick out of Arizona played his first two seasons under Wolves coach Rick Adelman in Houston so he is well-versed with the Wolves' offensive patterns.

Budinger is due to make $942,000 next season and could become a free agent after next season. This will give the Wolves more salary cap room, which could open up their options for other moves in free agency, which begins July 1, or through trades.


Rockets deal with Bucks for 12th pick in draft

The Houston Rockets traded veteran center Samuel Dalembert and the no.14 pick to Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for the no.12 pick, Shaun Livingston, Jon Leuer, and Jon Brockman, a league insider reported Wednesday.

The Rockets continued collecting assets in their effort to acquire superstar center Dwight Howard in a trade with the Orlando Magic.

Houston also acquired the 18th pick in the draft after trading away Chase Budinger to the Minnesota Timberwolves and the 16th pick gained from New York in trade for Tracy McGrady three years ago.

According to sources, the Rockets are also planning to hammer a deal with the Sacramento Kings in an attempt to acquire a top-10 pick, which would give them enticing assets to make a trade for Howard.

The Rockets are not anymore interested on Pau Gasol and willing to risk the possibility of losing Howard when he becomes a free-agent after the 2012-2013 season.



Rockets Trade Budinger to T-Wolves for 18th Pick