The Rockets have reached a deal that will give them the 18th overall pick from the Minnesota Timberwolves for wing Chase Budinger and the rights to Israeli forward Lior Eliyahu.
Houston now holds the 14th, 16th and 18th picks in the draft, and the Rockets could use those picks to move up in the draft.
Ultimately, the Rockets hope to put together a trade offer of draft picks and established players — perhaps point guard Kyle Lowry and/or shooting guard Kevin Martin — for Howard and perhaps one of the Magic’s high-priced veterans.
Many in the Magic organization believe the team will have to trade Howard because he would not sign a long-term extension beyond this season. Still, it should be noted that new general manager Rob Hennigan said he would reach out to Howard and provide a vision for the Magic’s future.
But would a deal with the Rockets that includes one or more top-10 picks and established players tempt Hennigan, CEO Alex Martins and the DeVos family?
That question could be answered within the next several days.