Chase Budinger is simply a pawn in a chess match between the Houston Rockets and the Orlando Magic. The Rockets shipped Chase Budinger to the Minnesota Timberwolves Tuesday morning for the 18th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. The Rockets are trying to stockpile picks in order to woo Orlando to ship Dwight Howard.
I like this move on both parts. If the Rockets can not get Howard, they are going to have a lot of picks to use. Chase Budinger can help the Timberwolves on the perimeter and is another athlete for them to use. If they manage to pick up Brandon Roy in free agency, that is quite the offseason right there.
The chess match between the Rockets and Howard is going to be interesting. Expect Kyle Lowry to be moved next in order to pick up another draft pick. This will give the Rockets four picks in the first round to give to Orlando. They do not care that Howard probably will not stay in Houston. They want to make a run at him and hope to get another star.
Watch the Rockets closely as we move closer to draft day. Chase Budinger was just the first piece to get turned into a pick. The Rockets may try to gut their roster in order to sign Deron Williams as well. Williams and Howard in Houston would be a great pairing for the city. I bet that would convince Howard to stay but this chess match has a long way to go.