I’m still planning to wait until tomorrow to unleash my incredible, unparalleled NBA Draft Preview on your asses, but I’m pretty happy that the Houston Rockets have finally stirred the pot and created some excitement for us fans of franchises that blow. Apparently the Rockets are hellbent on wrangling as many first round draft picks as they can, and they took one step closer to fruition of their diabolical plan today when they shipped Chase Budinger to the Minnesota Timberwolves for the No. 18 pick.
This was perhaps the best response I saw regarding that trade.
Now the Rockets have the 14th, 16th, and 18th picks in Thursday night’s draft, and it’s no secret at all that they covet disgruntled drama queen Dwight Howard, who may or may not have once again told the Orlando Magic that he wants to be traded to the Brooklyn Nets. So are those three picks enough to get Howard?
Houston’s first-round assets will create an intriguing proposition for the Magic and their new general manager, Rob Hennigan. Just a week into his job, Hennigan will be faced with his first major player-personnel decision.
The Magic have maintained they don’t want to go through another season like they just did, when the drama surrounding Howard and his future dominated Orlando’s every move. Multiple first-round picks might be the enticing offer Orlando needs to break free from Howard. (Via USA Today)
It should be noted that aside from a few rumblings about “sources close to Howard”, Howard is still recovering from back surgery and hasn’t talked to anybody about his future since the Stan Van Gundy mess, when he had TMZ on speed dial. In fact, as far as anyone knows, Howard hasn’t even had contact with new Magic GM Rob Hennigan yet.
But while the Miami Heat celebrate and Anthony Davis trademarks his eyebrows in time to be called by the New Orleans Hornets, all we’ve got are rumors. So let’s entertain this one a little further…
Despite rumors that Howard would not sign an extension in Houston, the Rockets believe that they could sway him with his former Magic BFF Courtney Lee (already on the roster) and by signing Deron Williams to a max deal. That would leave the Brooklyn Nets – who are desperately trying to keep Williams – up poop’s creek, since they have absolutely nothing to trade for Howard. That is, unless they can miraculously trade for a first rounder, which is what they’re possibly trying to do. Even then, they’re still far away from having anything Orlando wants.
Obviously the 14th, 16th, and 18th picks aren’t enough to convince the Magic to give up their franchise player – even though they should take whatever they can get from whichever team is giving it – so the Rockets would need to sweeten the deal. According to a site I’ve never heard of but sure is chatty today, the Rockets are possibly offering the 14th and 16th pick to the Sacramento Kings for Tyreke Evans and the 5th pick, which Houston would package with the 18th pick and Kevin Martin for Howard. That’s a LOT of optimism by the Rockets front office in thinking they can keep Dwight.
And if the Magic won’t deal Howard, then it looks like it’s back to the Pau Gasol conversation for the Rockets. That’s like being excited for lobster… and ending up at Long John Silver’s.