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The Houston Rockets are not giving up their hot pursuit of Dwight Howard.Houston sent Samuel Dalembert and the No. 14 pick in Thursday’s draft to the Milwaukee Bucks for the No. 12 pick, Jon Brockman, Shaun Livingston and Jon Leuer, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
This trade improves the Rockets’ draft positioning (they now have No. 12, 16 and 18) and their chance at moving up in the lottery.
It comes just a day after Houston sent Chase Budinger to the Minnesota Timberwolves for the No. 18 pick.
They can now build a package around those three picks to get inside the top 5.
Houston plans on moving into the lottery by landing the Charlotte Bobcats’ No. 2 pick. With that in hand, the Rockets believe they can build a package enticing enough for the Magic to send Howard to Houston.
The Bobcats have not shied away from the fact that they would be very willing to trade out of the No. 2 slot.
Regardless of what package the Rockets send Orlando for Howard, the Magic will probably ask they take Hedo Turkoglu’s big contract off their hands ($23.6 million over the next two seasons).
Shipping Dalembert to the Bucks and bringing in those three other players creates nearly $1.5 million in extra cap space for 2012-13, facilitating the addition of Turkoglu.
The Rockets are clearly going for broke even though Howard is adamant about not wanting to play in Houston. At worst, the Rockets have positioned themselves to refill their roster with three quality guys or move up and simply keep whomever they take in the top 5.
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