Both Jonathan Feigen and Chad Ford have noted that the Rockets are making an attempt to trade into the later part of the top 10 picks in an attempt to acquire Lithuanian big man Jonas Valanciunas. Earlier rumors involved trading for the No. 10 pick with Milwaukee, but Houston is talking trade with the holders of the No. 7-10 picks: Kings, Pistons, Bobcats, and the Bucks.
From Feigen's chat on Chron.com today:
Jonathan Feigen: Absolutely. I was hoping to get into this. There seems to be almost no chance they can move into the top six. Those teams are talking a lot, but mostly with each other or about the kind of stars the Rockets would try to get, rather than get rid of. They Rockets have talked about deals for the seventh, eighth, ninth and 10th picks. The chances are about equal, and not great for any one of those deals. It would depend on if the player the other teams wants is not there, or available later, and if the player the Rockets want is there. I think they would probably chase Valuncianus.
Ford's chat on ESPN.com provided much the same information:
Do you think the Rockets will look for Yao's replacement in the draft ?
Chad Ford (1:46 PM)
No replacement for Yao, but it sounds like they'd like a big. They are talking to both Charlotte and Bucks about packaging 14 & 23 to move up to 9 or 10. Valanciunas is the target I think. At 14 they could go with Nikola Vucevic or Markieff Morris.
So there you have it: the target appears to be Valancinunas. The Rockets could do much worse than him considering their needs, and he does appear to be the rare European big who wants to mix it up inside.