Rockets Trade Budinger For 18th Pick
Senior NBA & College Basketball Editor
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The Houston Rockets and Minnesota Timberwolves have agreed to a trade that sends Rockets forward Chase Budinger to Minnesota for the 18th overall pick in Thursday’s draft. The Timberwolves also received the rights to Lior Eliyahu from the Rockets.
Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress was the first to report the deal.
The Rockets now have the 14th, 16th and 18th picks in the draft. They are stockpiling assets in hopes of swinging a deal for Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard. Howard is set to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. Reports are that he doesn’t have any interest in staying in Houston long-term, but the Rockets are willing to take their chances and rent him for the year.
For the Timberwolves this gets them a young, athletic wing who can help them in a couple of different areas. If Michael Beasley is traded as expected this summer, Budinger could see extended minutes next year. Budinger has a team option that the Timberwolves could decline in order to make this a complete salary dump, but that’s unlikely. Budinger is set to make a very reasonable $942, 293 next season and he has a lot of familiarity with Timberwolves head coach Rick Adelman. Adelman coached Budinger in Houston from 2009-2011.
While the Timberwolves would have been able to get a nice prospect at 18, more youth is the last thing they need right now. They’re on the verge of making a playoff push and need experienced players like Budinger more so than a rookie.
Keep an eye on the Rockets as the draft approaches. They’re going to be very active and try to swing for the fences as they look to put an end to a three-year playoff drought.