The Timberwolves today traded the No. 18 pick in Thursday's draft to Houston for swingman Chase Budinger and prospect Lior Eliyahu, a source has confirmed.

The deal reunites Budinger, a former second-round pick who can play both small forward and shooting guard, with Wolves coach Rick Adelman, who coached him at Houston.

"I'm very excited," Budinger said from his home in San Diego this morning. "Rick Adelman was a great, great coach for me. I have much respect for him. I love his system. I feel like it fit me very well. I'm excited to get up there and see all the coaches."

It also would appear to take the Wolves out of most of the fun for draft night, unless, of course, this deal is a precursor to another.

Budinger, you might remember, scored a career-high 35 points against the Wolves in the 2010-11 season finale at Target Center.

Might there be more 35-point nights there for him now?

"Let's hope so," he said. "I do always play well in that gym. That's another good thing: I love playing in that gym."

When asked for his memories of that game, he said, "Just how it felt everything I shot, every time I went to the basket, I couldn't do any wrong."

The Wolves have until Saturday to pick up a team option on Budinger's contract that will pay him $942,000 this coming season.

He'll be an unrestricted free agent next summer.

"I hope so," Budinger said when asked if he can see a California kid staying long term in Minnesota. "I've just got to go buy more warm coats."

When asked if he fared as well playing for Kevin McHale last season in Houston as he did his first two NBA seasons with Adelman, he said, "I don't think so. I definitely don't think so. Last year was a bit of a struggle for me, definitely with my playing time there, very inconsistent. I felt like I did a lot of standing around last year, which in Adelman's system you don't do at all. There's a lot of movement and sharing the ball. I definitely did a lot better in Adelman's system than McHale's."

The trade now gives the Rockets -- and a guy named Kevin McHale -- the 14th, 16th and 18th picks Thursday and allows them to package those picks for a higher pick in the draft, which presumably they could use to then deal to Orlando in a package for superstar Dwight Howard.

The Houston Chronicle and Draft Express first reported the trade.


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