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Houston Rockets Keep Inching Toward Bigger Score

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Getty Images
Rob MahoneyNBA Lead WriterJune 27, 2012

Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey is nothing if not committed to the prospect of using the assets available to obtain incrementally superior assets—all in the hope of landing the kind of score he's been waiting his entire post-Yao tenure for.

That day and score may or may not actually be approaching, but Morey remains vigilant, and in his latest signature deal—as reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports—has flipped Samuel Dalembert and the No. 14 pick in Thursday's draft for the No. 12 pick, Jon Leuer, Jon Brockman and Shaun Livingston.

It's not a knockout deal by any means, but Morey and the Rockets do pull in two contextually useful big men in Leuer and Brockman, and slide up in the draft by two picks in their ongoing efforts to cobble a trade package together for Dwight Howard. Chad Ford of ESPN.com insists in his report that Pau Gasol—despite rumors to the contrary—is no longer in the Rockets' sights, meaning that any potential backup plans involve a potential lottery selection or strapping assets together to target another star.

That's been the Morey game plan all along, and although he's been spectacular in the collection and improvement of movable pieces, he's perpetually marked—fairly on unfairly—by his inability to take the last step in the sequence. This offseason could turn out to be his defining moment, but regardless of which way the Rockets' plan turns, they're at the very least positioning themselves for the all-or-nothing process conducive to building a quality team.

The most important aspect of Morey's approach is the overdue abandonment of the status quo; it was time for Houston's liquidation, and Howard or not, this is the first in a series of moves that behooves the Rockets' chances of eventual contention.

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