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Rockets position themselves for a Dwight Howard trade, possibly also Deron Williams

The Rockets on Tuesday traded Chase Budinger to the Timberwolves for the 18th overall pick in Thursday’s NBA draft. And while on the surface this looks like another run-of-the-mill draft week trade, there are actually richer, superstar implications at stake here.

The trade gives the Rockets their third first-round selection (picks 14, 16, 18) in the draft. It’s believed that the Rockets will try to redirect the stockpile of picks in exchange for a higher selection in Thursday’s draft or as part of a deal for Dwight Howard, whom you might have heard isn’t too happy about his situation in Orlando. From Yahoo! Sports:

Houston has been undaunted by Howard’s private insistence that he wants a trade to only the Brooklyn Nets or Dallas Mavericks, sources said. Houston is willing to make a deal for Howard, believing it can convince him to re-sign before he becomes a free agent in the summer of 2013. Rockets GM Daryl Morey has been determined to use the assets on his roster to secure a high-level league star.

But those crafty Rockets’ don’t plan to stop with Howard. According to HoopsWorld, Houston also has its eyes set on — surprise, surprise — Deron Williams, who has long been reported as willing to team up with Howard somewhere. Where that somewhere is has obviously never been finalized. But with Williams, a free agent, saying his two finalists are the Nets and Mavericks, it’s been assumed those would be the only two teams on which both superstars could possibly team up.

However, the Rockets clearly believe adding Howard would be enticing enough for Williams to consider playing in Houston. HoopsWorld says that if everything goes according to plan — through various draft pick trade scenarios and the acquiring of Howard — the Rockets would have cleared enough cap space required to sign Williams.

So, can the Rockets sneak in and pull off a major coup? Seems unlikely. A lot of things need to go right for the Rockets to end up with both stars. But I sure hope it happens. Just so that our long national Dwight Howard nightmare can finally have some resolution. For now.

Photo: Jim O’Connor-US PRESSWIRE


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