The Rockets have torn apart last season's roster as they try for a deal that would pry All-Star center Dwight Howard away from the Orlando Magic. Cutting Scola allows Houston to absorb multiple undesirable contracts from Orlando in a potential deal.
Houston has been the most active team in the offseason, collecting assets and draft picks to build a package enticing enough to convince the Magic to trade Howard, a six-time All-Star and three-time defensive player of the year. The Rockets have needed a dependable big man since former top overall pick Yao Ming started getting leg and foot injuries that eventually led to his retirement last summer.
Rockets general manager Daryl Morey has also spent years trying to land a top-tier superstar who he envisions as the cornerstone of a championship-caliber team. The Rockets were close to getting Pau Gasol before last season in a proposed deal that also would have sent All-Star guard Chris Paul to the Lakers. But NBA Commissioner David Stern, acting on behalf of the league-owned New Orleans Hornets, vetoed the deal that would have brought Lamar Odom to the Hornets, along with Scola, Kevin Martin, Dragic and a first-round pick.
On Tuesday, the Rockets completed a trade of Lowry to Toronto for a lottery-protected, first-round pick and a sign-and-trade deal that sent Marcus Camby to New York for two future second-round picks and three other players.
Before the draft, Houston traded forward Chase Budinger and center Samuel Dalembert in separate deals that netted two first-round picks. The Rockets were reportedly shopping the picks to move up in the draft, but eventually stayed put and used their three first-round draft picks on Connecticut guard Jeremy Lamb, Iowa State forward Royce White, and Kentucky forward Terrence Jones.