Is this the first domino to fall? According to Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress, the Rockets have agreed to send Chase Budinger to the Minnesota Timberwolves for the 18th pick in the draft, giving the Rockets three picks in the first round.
Here's the report:
The Houston Rockets have traded Chase Budinger to Minnesota for the #18 pick. Confirmed.— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) June 26, 2012
Adrian Wojnarowski had this to add:
Houston has also included the rights to Israeli Lior Eliyahu in the deal to Minnesota, a source said.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 26, 2012
The Rockets now hold the 14th, 16th, and 18th picks, along with assets in Kevin Martin and Kyle Lowry that they intend to trade. For once, they certainly hold enough cards to make a move into the top ten, perhaps even twice. Will they pull it off?
We'll have more when it becomes available.
Jump for some analysis on the deal!
The Rockets and Timberwolves had reportedly been in talks centered around the 18th pick for the past few weeks, though most suspected the Timberwolves' ultimate target was Kevin Martin. Instead, another wing who flourished in Rick Adelman's system is coming over in the deal.
Budinger enjoyed his most efficient season yet last year, but his strong play was overshadowed by Chandler Parsons' emergence and struggled to get consistent minutes all season. With a thinning on the wings expected, I anticipated Budinger taking on a bigger role on the squad as a low-cost shooter off the bench who could back up both wing positions, but that is apparently not coming to fruition.
Instead, he's headed to the Timberwolves to play for Rick Adelman, the man who oversaw Budinger's rise from the second round to the starting lineup. Barring any serious changes in free agency, Budinger should start at the three and throw down his fair share of alley-oops from Ricky Rubio.
For the Rockets, this move is just setting up for another move in their quest for a star player. Whether the Rockets package the picks for Dwight Howard, or simply a move into the top ten for themselves, this move (along with most moves over the past half decade), has been to put the Rockets in a position to land the next franchise changing talent.
Let's see what they can do with the opportunity.