The Minnesota Timberwolves are looking to trade small forward Chase Budinger, and the Detroit Pistons and Houston Rockets are both interested, according to Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski. Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News has confirmed Detroit's interest with his own league source.
Ironically enough, Budinger has history with the Pistons and Rockets -- he was originally drafted by Detroit with the 44th overall pick in 2009 and immediately traded him to Houston for a future second-rounder and cash. He spent three years in Houston, averaging 9.4 points while shooting 36.3 from long distance in 21.5 minutes per game. The Rockets then traded Budinger to the Timberwolves in June 2012 for the 18th overall pick, which turned out to be Terrence Jones.
Knee injuries have marred Budinger's time with the Timberwolves. After averaging 70 games per season over the first three years of his career, he's been held to just 64 games combined the last two. When he has played, he's averaged 7.7 while shooting 33.8 percent from 3-point land in 19.7 minutes per game.
Even though he looks to be healthy this year, competition for playing time has increased in Minnesota after the Wolves added rookies Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine and Glenn Robinson III to a group of swingman that already featured Corey Brewer, Shabazz Muhammad and Robbie Hummel.
Budinger, 26, is entering the second season of a 3-year, $15 million contract. The final year is a player option, and it seems likely that he'll pick it up. According to Woj, that's currently a sticking point for both the Rockets and Pistons.
Stan Van Gundy has methodically collected several 3-point shooters during his short time in charge of the Pistons, and even though Budinger took a step back while dealing with injuries, he's still a career 35.7 percent shooter from long distance. Jodie Meeks was signed largely because of his shooting ability, but he'll miss two months with a stress reaction in his lower back, so it's not surprising the Pistons are considering other options.
Goodwill points out that Jonas Jerebko, whose set to make $4.5 million in the final year of his contract, is the only player the Pistons could use in a one-for-one swap for Budinger, but I can't help but wonder if they'd try to bundle a couple of players given they currently have 16 guaranteed contracts for 15 roster spots. Will Bynum ($2.9 million) and Gigi Datome ($1.7 million) for Budinger, perhaps? I'm just spitballing, but it looks like it could work.
Now your thoughts.