THURSDAY, 2:38pm: The pick going to the Rockets will be top-three protected in 2013, top-two protected in 2014 and 2015, and top-one protected in 2016 and 2017, tweets Jerome Solomon of the Houston Chronicle. Solomon adds that if the pick isn't in the lottery, the Raptors will keep it until the next season. If the pick doesn't meet these criteria for five seasons, Toronto's 2018 first-rounder will be sent to Houston no matter where it lands.
1:41pm: The pick headed to Houston will be protected "both ways," says Jonathan Feigen (via Twitter). So the Rockets won't get it if it's too high in the lottery, but also won't be forced to take it if it's too low in the first round.
1:30pm: The Raptors and Rockets are working on something "innovative" involving the first-rounder headed to Houston, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. My guess is that it could involve reverse protection — for instance, if the pick falls outside of the top 10, Toronto keeps it, and if it's in the top 10, it's sent to the Rockets. That's just my speculation though.
1:05pm: The Raptors have agreed to send a first-round pick to the Rockets for Kyle Lowry, according to ESPN.com's Chris Broussard (Twitter link). Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reports that the first-rounder will likely be a lottery pick, and is part of a package (Twitter links).
After heading into the offseason with one affordable young point guard under contract and another one entering free agency, the Rockets have parted ways with both players. When Goran Dragic agreed to a contract with the Suns yesterday, it appeared Houston may hold on to Lowry, even though he had publicly expressed displeasure with his situation in Houston. But now the team has apparently turned its point guard focus to Jeremy Lin, who is expected to be re-signed by the Knicks.
For the Raptors, who missed out on Steve Nash, Lowry is a younger, more affordable alternative. The 26-year-old, who averaged 14.3 PPG, 6.6 APG, and 18.9 PER in 2011/12, is under contract for two more years for about $12MM total. As Zach Lowe of SI.com tweets, it's one of the more attractive non-rookie contracts in the NBA.
ESPN.com's Marc Stein (via Twitter) first reported that the two sides were "on the verge" of an agreement, after reporting yesterday that Toronto was still making a push for Lowry. Chad Ford of ESPN.com notes (via Twitter) that the Rockets tried to acquire the Raptors' 2012 first-rounder in a deal for Lowry, since they were targeting Andre Drummond or Austin Rivers. The pick in the trade figures to come in the 2013 draft, which will have a weaker class.