Magic get Rafer Alston in 3-team trade involving Grizzlies, Rockets, Kyle Lowry, others

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has acquired guard Kyle Lowry from Memphis and forward Brian Cook from Orlando as part of a three-team trade. The deal has the Rockets sending Rafer Alston to the Magic, while the Grizzlies receive a first-round draft selection from Orlando in the 2009 NBA Draft along with center Adonal Foyle and guard Mike Wilks.

“First, I would like to thank Rafer for his commitment to the team over the past four seasons,” said Morey.  “Kyle is an underrated player who will help us now and we can build around in the future.  He is a very good rebounder and defender who can attack the basket in the half court and transition, finish, and make the kick out pass to shooters. Brian is a proven veteran who will provide us with solid perimeter shooting and additional depth.”

“Rafer is a starting veteran point guard who shoots the ball well,” said Magic General Manager Otis Smith.  “He will give us added depth and athleticism in the backcourt.  We thank Brian, Adonal and Mike for all of their contributions and wish them all the best.”

Alston (6’2”, 175, 7/24/76, #1) has played in 48 games (all starts) this season for Houston, averaging 11.5 ppg., 5.4 apg., 3.0 rpg., and 1.2 stlpg. in 33.1 minpg.  In his 10th NBA season, he is shooting .348 (80-of-230) from three-point range and has scored in double figures 28 times, including a season-high 23 points on January 21 vs. Utah. He’s led the Rockets in assists in 26 games this season.

Originally selected by Milwaukee out of Fresno State in the second round of the 1998 NBA Draft (39th overall selection), Alston has appeared in 590 games with four teams (Milwaukee, Toronto, Miami, Houston), averaging 10.2 ppg. and 4.9 apg. He has also appeared in 33 playoff games, with 11 starts. He saw action in 13 playoff games for the Miami Heat in 2004, and averaged 14.3 ppg. and 4.5 apg. in four postseason games last year for Houston. Considered a “playground legend” while growing up in Queens, New York, he coached the 16-and-under New York Panthers AAU basketball team during the 2008 offseason.

“It was difficult to part with Kyle Lowry,” Grizzlies General Manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations Chris Wallace said. “He has been an important part of our team the last three seasons.  With the emergence of Mike Conley, we decided that the acquisition of Orlando’s unprotected first round pick was a good move to make.  We now will enter the upcoming draft with two first round selections and three picks overall, likely inside the first 37 picks.”

The Grizzlies now own four first round picks over the next two drafts, including the Lakers’ 2010 first rounder and the team’s own two first round selections.

Lowry (6-0, 205, Villanova) was averaging 7.6 points, 3.6 assists and 2.3 rebounds in 49 games (21 starts) with Memphis in 2008-09. As a starter this season, Lowry is averaging 9.0 points (.423, 60-142 FG), 4.8 assists and 3.0 rebounds in 25.7 minutes per game. Overall, he has scored 10-plus points 12 times in 2008-09, including a career-high 25 points vs. Cleveland (1/13/09). Lowry posted his second career double-double at Minnesota (12/29/08) with 14 points and a career-high 12 assists, which marked the most assists for a Grizzlies player since Chucky Atkins (16) at Minnesota (4/18/07). The 6-foot guard also recorded career highs in free throws made (15) and attempted (16) vs. Cleveland (1/13/09).

Selected out of Villanova after his sophomore season by Memphis in the first round (24th overall) of the 2006 NBA Draft, Lowry has averaged 8.6 points, 3.6 assists and 2.8 rebounds in 141 career games (30 starts) with the Grizzlies. He was one of just two Grizzlies to play all 82 games last season, leading the club in free throw attempts (348). Lowry missed all but 10 games in his rookie year due to a fractured wrist.

Cook (6-9, 250, Illinois) averaged 3.0 points (.440, 11-25 3FG), 1.3 rebounds and 7.0 minutes in 21 games with Orlando this season. Playing in his second campaign with the Magic, Cook scored a season-high nine points at Utah (12/13/08). He matched that total with nine points vs. Atlanta (1/9/09), as well as pulling down a season-best eight rebounds.

In his sixth NBA season, Cook has averaged 6.2 points and 2.9 rebounds in 325 career games (74 starts) with the L.A. Lakers and Orlando. Cook, who was selected by the Lakers in the first round (24th overall) of the 2003 NBA Draft, played four-plus seasons in Los Angeles before joining the Magic via trade on Nov. 20, 2007. The former Illinois standout also appeared in 25 postseason games with the Lakers, averaging 3.0 points and 1.6 rebounds in 7.0 minutes per game.

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