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How Many Picks Can Rockets Deal?

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A league source familiar with the CBA notes that while the Rockets now have three picks and may be seeking a fourth in this year's draft, they won't be able to package all of them in a deal for Dwight Howard. What's standing in their way? "You can't trade picks in consecutive years," the source told NetsDaily.

"Houston cannot trade #14, #16 and #18 for #5 (which would be a lot more attractive than three mid-first rounders) and then turn around trade #5 to somewhere else without getting a first round pick back this year," he added.

There is a way around it, the source noted. The Rockets could work a trade with the Nets, permitting the Rockets to reacquire their 2013 first rounder. "Because [Brooklyn] has Houston’s first round pick next year, they are not allowed to trade away all three (or four) picks for a player ... They need to hold onto one." And it doesn't seem likely the Nets would be willing to help the Rockets get into a better competitive position re: Howard.