The Houston Rockets have been extremely aggressive in stockpiling draft picks to presumably make a run at Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard.
The Rockets have made two trades in as many days to move up in Thursday night's NBA Draft. First the Rockets traded Chase Budinger to the Minnesota Timberwolves for the No. 18 selection. They followed up that trade by dealing Samuel Dalembert and the No. 16 pick to the Milwaukee Bucks for the No. 12 pick, Shaun Livingston, Jon Brockman, and Jon Leuer.
The Rockets now have the No. 12, No. 14, and No. 18 picks in the NBA Draft and will use it to try to entice Magic general manager Rob Hennigan to part ways with Howard. The Rockets are prepared to offer all three picks for Howard, who only has a year remaining on his contract, but it is unclear whether Hennigan is interested in dealing Howard at this time.
If the Rockets are unsuccessful in acquiring Howard, they could then turn their attention to Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol, according to CBS Sports. The Rockets tried to acquire Gasol last offseason from the Lakers, as part of the Chris Paul trade, only to see commissioner David Stern veto the deal.
Rumors circulated on Wednesday that the Lakers would be interested in moving Gasol for a first-round draft pick and a veteran player. The Rockets could offer one of their three draft picks and a veteran like Kevin Martin to acquire Gasol, who posted career lows in points and field goal percentage last season with the Lakers.