MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Bucks are getting a much-needed big man and the Houston Rockets are positioning themselves to make a big move.
A person with direct knowledge of the deal said Wednesday that the Bucks and Rockets had agreed to a trade a day before the NBA draft, with the Bucks sending the No. 12 overall pick and three players to the Rockets for the No. 14 pick and center Samuel Dalembert. The Rockets get guard Shaun Livingston and forwards Jon Leuer and Jon Brockman in the deal.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal was not yet official. Several media organizations reported the deal earlier Wednesday.
Dalembert has career averages of 8 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.9 blocked shots per game. Center is a major need for the Bucks, who traded away Andrew Bogut last season and never really found a way to replace him.
Houston, meanwhile, is apparently positioning itself for a blockbuster move after dealing Chase Budinger to Minnesota for the 18th pick on Tuesday. The Rockets now have the No. 12, 16 and 18 picks in Thursday's draft, but the team may make more moves as they put together a package to land a superstar big man — possibly Orlando's Dwight Howard or Atlanta's Josh Smith.
NEW MAGIC GM SAYS NO DECISION MADE YET ON HOWARD: If the Orlando Magic are planning to make any franchise changing moves on draft night, new general manager Rob Hennigan isn't about to tip his hand about it one bit.
Just a week after taking over the reins of his new job, Hennigan will have his first opportunity during tonight's NBA draft to put his imprint on the team's future.
On paper that immediate path means the 19th and 49th draft picks, but of course it can be bent several directions depending on what eventually happens regarding what happens with Howard. The All-Star center is under contract through next season, but hasn't committed to signing beyond that.
BIRD SAYS GOODBYE TO PACERS: Larry Bird is calling it quits with the Indiana Pacers.
Bird, perhaps the most respected and beloved basketball figure in a state obsessed with the sport, will leave his job as the Pacers' president of basketball operations at the end of August. He spent four years building the team into an Eastern Conference contender and was this season's NBA executive of the year, but is instead moving on after saying just a month ago that he was willing to stay.
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