Rockets acquire Thabeet, Dragic and pair of first rounders in deadline day deal

Thursday February 24, 2011 7:59 PM

Rockets Deal For Thabeet, Dragic And Carroll

Battier and Smith sent to Memphis, while Brooks heads to Phoenix

Hasheem Thabeet was the second player chosen in the 2009 NBA Draft.

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HOUSTON - Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has acquired center Hasheem Thabeet, forward DeMarre Carroll and a future first-round draft pick from the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for forward/guard Shane Battier and guard Ishmael Smith. In a separate deal, the Rockets acquired guard Goran Dragic and draft considerations from the Phoenix Suns for guard Aaron Brooks.

“Shane is a winner on and off the court and his many contributions will be hard to replace,” said Morey. “His leadership and game preparation were unmatched in the league. Aaron was my first selection as a general manager and he put in a lot of hard work over the past few seasons to develop into a quality starter. We will miss them both on a professional and personal level.

“Hasheem is a recent second overall pick in the draft who addresses our need for increased size and interior defense. We view him as a young player with a large potential for growth. We have been interested in Goran dating back to the 2008 Draft. He is a tough, competitive guard with proven playoff experience who has matured into a solid point guard over the past few seasons. DeMarre is a hard-nosed player who is accustomed to playing in a fast-paced system similar to ours.”

Thabeet (7-3, 263, Connecticut) was selected by Memphis with the second overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. The first Tanzanian-born player to be drafted by and play for an NBA team, Thabeet has averaged 1.2 points, 1.7 rebounds and 0.33 blocks in 45 games with the Grizzlies this season. In 2009-10, Thabeet ranked second among rookies in blocks per game (1.31) and actually led the NBA in blocks per 48 minutes (4.84). He finished his rookie campaign with averages of 3.1 points and 3.6 rebounds in 13.0 minutes over 68 games (13 starts) in 2009-10. Thabeet also averaged 13.8 points, 11.2 boards and 3.17 blocks in six games (four starts) with the NBA D-League Dakota Wizards in 2009-10. At Connecticut, Thabeet was named the 2009 Co-Big East Player of the Year along with Pittsburgh’s DeJuan Blair. He was also a two-time winner of the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) National Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2008 and 2009.

Dragic (6-3, 190, Slovenia) is in his third season in the NBA, averaging 6.7 points, 2.7 assists and 2.0 rebounds in 183 career games (five starts) with Phoenix. Originally selected by the San Antonio Spurs in the second round (45th overall) of the 2008 NBA Draft, Dragic had his rights acquired by the Suns in a draft-day deal on June 26, 2008. He signed with Phoenix on Sep. 22, 2008, after reaching a buyout with Spanish team Tau Ceramica. This season, Dragic is averaging 7.4 points and a career-high 3.1 assists, including two double-digit assist efforts. Dragic was the sixth NBA player this season to record a double-digit assist game (10) without a turnover at Charlotte (11/20/10). In 2009-10, he averaged a career-high 7.9 points and 3.0 assists in a career-high 80 games (two starts). Dragic came to the NBA after a four-year professional career in top leagues in his native Slovenia. He spent the 2007-08 season with Union Olimpija in Slovenian and helped lead his team to both the Slovenian League Championship and Slovenian Cup.

Carroll (6-8, 212, Missouri), who was chosen by the Grizzlies in the first round (27th overall) of the 2009 NBA Draft, has averaged 2.8 points and 2.0 rebounds in 78 career games (one start) with Memphis. He also tallied 18.3 points per game and averaged 6.8 rebounds in six games (six starts) with the D-League Dakota Wizards this season. In his rookie NBA season, Carroll averaged 2.9 points and 2.1 rebounds in 71 games (one start). As a collegiate senior in 2008-09, he led Missouri to its first Big 12 Tournament title in 16 years and a trip to the 2009 NCAA Elite Eight, earning Big 12 Tournament MVP and NCAA All-West Region honors.

Battier (6-8, 220, Duke) leaves Houston ranked third in team history in both 3-pointers made (576) and attempted (1,483). He was twice named to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team (2007-08, 2008-09) over his nearly five seasons with the Rockets.

Brooks (6-0, 161, Oregon) departs the Rockets with career averages of 12.8 points and 3.6 assists. Chosen by Houston in the first round (26th overall) of the 2007 NBA Draft, Brooks won the 2009-10 NBA Most Improved Player Award after becoming just the sixth player in NBA history to make at least 200 3-pointers (209) and dish out 400 or more assists (434) in the same season.

Smith (6-0, 175, Wake Forest) has averaged 2.6 points and 2.3 assists in 28 games (three starts) this season with Houston. The undrafted rookie also averaged 12.5 points, 7.9 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.50 steals over eight games (five starts) in a pair of stints with the D-League Rio Grande Valley Vipers this season.

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