The Rockets love the combination of size, passing, defense and all-around game from small forward Chandler Parsons, the 38th pick in last year’s draft. They also love that they control Parsons’ rights for the next three years at a cost of less than $1 million per season. And so on Tuesday they agreed to acquire the 18th pick in the draft for Chase Budinger, who plays the same position as Parsons but will be eligible for a market-value contract in free agency a year from now. (Budinger, also a former second-round pick, will make $885,120 next season in the final year of his contract.)
The sexy storyline is Houston’s Dwight Howard end game: the possibility that the Rockets are trying to obtain a cache of first-round picks to dangle before the Magic, along with an expiring contract (probably shooting guard Kevin Martin’s) and salary-cap relief. Howard’s camp let it be known late Monday, via this David Aldridge piece on NBA.com, that Howard will not sign an extension in Houston after his contract runs out at the end of this season. But the star center’s camp has let a lot of things be known over the last 12 months, and these declarations aren’t worth much before Howard has had the (theoretical) chance to experience playing for Rockets coach Kevin McHale, working for a smart organization committed to winning or talking regression to the mean with general manager Daryl Morey.
The player’s camp, such as there is one monolithic “camp” here, can say what it wants now, but there is no way to know how Howard will take to Houston — or how much he’d end up valuing the extra few million dollars only his incumbent team will be able to offer on his next contract.