The Houston Rockets have traded Chase Budinger to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for the 18th pick in the NBA Draft. The Rockets now own the 14th, 16th and 18th picks in the first round and have made no secret that they are looking to trade up. But not in the draft, they want to trade all the way up to Dwight Howard.
“To me, we’re not on any timetable to getting back to being a championship contender,” GM Morey told Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. “It often takes a much longer time than anyone wants to talk about.
“We’re trying to find a way that shortens that timetable to do it as quickly as possible in a smart way. We’re using free agency and trades as tools. When you lose two franchise players — we’re really on year two. Last year was the first season we were not betting on Yao being a franchise player.”
Is it possible that the Rockets are in too much of a hurry though?
The Rockets have not been shy about their desire for a new superstar in Texas, and they would be willing to trade for Howard even without the guarantee that he would re-sign in Houston. So Rockets management probably doesn’t even care that a source close to Howard said that there “was not a chance” Howard could be persuaded to stay there. No, the Rockets have not been shy at all. They traded for Pau Gasol at the beginning of the season only to get royally hosed by David Stern and the NBA-owned New Orleans Hornets.
They were also in trade talks for Carmelo Anthony when he was on the block, and they were willing to take him without the guarantee that he would re-sign there as well.
It is a long and winding road to becoming a championship contender, and you have to wonder if the Rockets are being wise to “shorten the time-table” to land a superstar for one year who won’t even stay there the next year. I say it is unwise, but maybe Howard would eventually learn to enjoy the Houston organization and that possibility appears to be worth the risk to the Rockets.