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Rockets sign guard from Greece

Spanoulis agrees to three-year deal after playing in Europe

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HOUSTON - The Rockets have been searching for backcourt help since the free agency period began last week.

On Wednesday, they found help overseas.

The Rockets signed Greek combo-guard Vassilis Spanoulis to a three-year agreement to provide depth at the guard positions.

Spanoulis provides the Rockets with depth at point guard and shooting guard.

"He's a very versatile ball handler," Rockets general manager Carroll Dawson said. "He's a good finisher and a very good prospect."

The Rockets acquired Spanoulis' rights after swapping second round picks with the Dallas Mavericks in the 2004 NBA Draft.

Spanoulis, 23, is a speedy guard who brings quickness to a team in need of it.

"He wants to be a great player," Dawson said. "Everybody is going to like this young man because he is a very hard-nosed player."

After playing well with the Maroussi Honda, Spanoulis joined the Greek league power Panathanaikos Greens and helped the team win the Greek league championship.

The 6-foot-4 guard averaged 15.5 points and 3.1 assists per game in 21 games.

The Greek Olympic team member is currently training with the Greek team for the world championships and won't be in Houston until September.

"We have watched his progress very closely," Dawson said. "It's a big adjustment to come to the NBA from Europe, but he is a hard worker."