Commentary

Rockets deal Budinger, eye Dwight

By trading for the Wolves' No. 18 pick, Houston collects yet another asset

Updated: June 26, 2012, 4:53 PM ET
By John Hollinger | ESPN.com
Call it a setup move.

The Houston Rockets have agreed to trade Chase Budinger and the rights to Lior Eliyahu to Minnesota for the No. 18 pick in the draft. With picks No. 14, 16 and 18 as well as two first-rounders from a year ago (Marcus Morris and Donatas Motiejunas), Houston hopes to present an overwhelming stockpile of assets to the Magic in return for Dwight Howard ... even if it has no assurances he'll stay more than one season.

This may even be a move that sets up the move that sets up the big move. Houston may very well be looking to package multiple draft picks to move into the lottery, then using that lottery pick as the bait to lure Howard.