- Associated Press - Thursday, February 24, 2011

HOUSTON (AP) - The Rockets sent point guard Aaron Brooks to Phoenix and forward Shane Battier to Memphis in separate deals Thursday that brought guard Goran Dragic, forward DeMarre Carroll and center Hasheem Thabeet to Houston.

The Rockets also get first-round draft picks from both teams, although the one from the Suns for this year is lottery protected. Houston also shipped rookie Ish Smith to the Grizzlies.

Memphis owner Michael Heisley told The Associated Press that he swapped potential for a chance to reach the playoffs by dealing away the Grizzlies’ top two picks from the 2009 draft.

“It is important to us that we make the playoffs, that we do go to the playoffs,” Heisley said. “Quite bluntly, we think that Shane at this point in time would be more productive.”

The Grizzlies are 32-27 and eighth in the West. Their last playoff berth came in 2006, when Battier was still on the roster. He played five seasons and helped the Grizzlies to three playoff appearances before being traded to the Rockets in July 2006 for Stromile Swift and the draft rights to Rudy Gay.

The 6-foot-8 Gay, the Grizzlies’ second-leading scorer (19.8), is expected to miss about three more weeks after dislocating his left shoulder Feb. 15.

The Grizzlies also tried to swap guard O.J. Mayo to Indiana in a deal that wasn’t concluded before Thursday’s trade deadline. Heisley said it was bittersweet because Memphis was trying to ease a crowd at guard and add help at the 2-3 position.

“Quite frankly, it might turn out for the better for us,” Heisley said.

Houston (28-31) is 11th in the Western Conference, and general manager Daryl Morey had said recently that virtually his entire roster was in play leading to Thursday’s trade deadline.

“Our goal is to win a championship,” Morey said. “Our goal at this deadline was to make significant upgrades and that’s our goal constantly. These moves position us better in the future. The big move that helps us now and in the future did not materialize, but we feel like this positions us better to make that move down the road.”

Phoenix entered Thursday night two games behind Memphis for the final playoff spot in the West. Suns president of basketball operations Lon Babby hailed the addition of Brooks, saying he is “confident that he will upgrade our backcourt now and in the future.”

“He should add scoring to our second unit, which is important to our success,” Babby said.

Coach Alvin Gentry, who did not return a phone message, plays a 10-deep rotation.

Dragic, a Slovenian who is fluent in four languages, had been considered the heir apparent to Steve Nash but has struggled in his third NBA season. His average of 7.4 points is similar to a year ago, but he is shooting just 42 percent from the field, 28 percent from 3-point range.

He has been back a week after missing seven games because of a cut on his left foot, the result of an accident at home. The 24-year-old has a contract with a team option for 2011-12.

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