Samuel Dalembert Trade Impacts Houston Rockets' Pursuit of Dwight Howard

Sim Risso@@SimRissoFeatured ColumnistJune 27, 2012

ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 13:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic drives to the basket against Joel Anthony #50 of the Miami Heat during the game at Amway Center on March 13, 2012 in Orlando, Florida.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

The Houston Rockets keep moving up in the draft, reportedly to make a run at the Orlando Magic's Dwight Howard. The latest move, reported by Yahoo's! Adrian Wojnarowski, has Houston trading its No. 14 pick and Samuel Dalembert to the Milwaukee Bucks for Shaun Livingston, Jon Leuer, Jon Brockman and Milwaukee's No. 12 pick.

Yes, Brockman's so good, they traded him twice. Sorry. Livingston, Brockman and Leurer and 12th pick to Houston for Dalembert and 14th pick.

After the trade, the Rockets now own the 12th, 16th and 18th pick in Thursday's draft. On top of moving up in the draft with the trade, the Rockets also moved starting center Samuel Dalembert, making a nice opening for Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard.

But if Houston wants to land Howard, it's going to take more than the 12th, 16th and 18th pick. However, there is still time before the draft for Houston to make some more moves.

To land Howard, they'll need to include a top-10 pick with their other three first-round draft picks. One way to acquire such a selection would be to trade Kyle Lowry. Houston's had discussions with Toronto about swapping Lowry for Toronto's No. 8 pick.

Assuming the trade with Toronto goes through, Houston might have enough assets to get Howard. With the eighth, 12th, 16th and 18th pick, Houston could send Orlando four first-round picks in return for Howard.

Or, if Orlando prefers, Houston could package the 12th, 16th and 18th pick to get another top-10 selection. Either way, today's trade provided the Rockets with more wiggle room to iron something out with Orlando.

Regardless of what Orlando wants in return, it seems clear that Houston is dead set on making a push for Howard.

Given their resolve and their ever-increasing assets, it's looking more and more likely with every passing hour.