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Updated: June 26th, 2012 9:01am
Report: Wolves trade No. 18 pick to Houston for Chase Budinger

Report: Wolves trade No. 18 pick to Houston for Chase Budinger

by Tom Pelissero
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It always seemed likely the Minnesota Timberwolves would trade the No. 18 pick in Thursday's NBA Draft for a veteran.

The deal apparently happened sooner than many expected.

Citing league sources, Yahoo! Sports reported early Tuesday morning the Wolves have agreed to deal the pick to the Houston Rockets for forward Chase Budinger and the rights to Israeli forward Lior Eliyahu.

The deal leaves the Wolves without a first-round pick. They sent their own pick (No. 10) to the Los Angeles Clippers (who subsequently sent it to New Orleans in the Chris Paul deal) to complete the Marko Jaric trade and got the No. 18 pick from Utah to complete the Al Jefferson trade.

Budinger, 24, averaged 9.6 points and 3.7 rebounds in 58 games (nine starts) with the Rockets last season, his third in the NBA. He played his first two seasons under then-Rockets coach Rick Adelman, who joined the Wolves before last season.

The 6-foot-7, 218-pound Arizona product was a second-round pick (44th overall) in the 2009 draft by the Detroit Pistons, who traded him to Houston on draft night.

Budinger is a 36.3% career 3-point shooter and has averaged 9.4 points on 43.5% shooting overall in 21.5 minutes over 210 career games (35 starts).

Eliyahu, 26, was a second-round pick (44th overall) in the 2006 draft by Orlando but has remained in Israel, most recently playing for Maccabi Tel-Aviv. Houston later acquired Eliyahu (6-10, 232 pounds) from the Magic for cash considerations.

The Wolves still own a second-round pick (No. 58 overall) that originally belonged to Oklahoma City. They sent their own second-rounder (No. 40) to the Clippers, who sent it to Portland.

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Tom | @TomPelissero | Tom Pelissero
In this story: Al Jefferson