Rockets trade forward Glen Rice for Utah center John Amaechi

Updated: September 30, 2003, 8:49 PM ET

SALT LAKE CITY -- The Utah Jazz traded disgruntled center John Amaechi to the Houston Rockets Tuesday in exchange for veteran guard/forward Glen Rice and draft picks.

Rockets general manager Carroll Dawson said the move was made in order to keep the team from having to pay an expected luxury tax.

The deal allows the Jazz to unload Amaechi, who had been openly unhappy with the team the past two seasons. He averaged just two points in 50 games last season. He was still under contract this season and had an option for 2003-04.

"It wasn't a good fit, so let's move on," said Jazz vice president for basketball operations Kevin O'Connor.

Amaechi, 32, averaged 6.2 points and 2.6 rebounds per game during his five NBA seasons with the Cavaliers, Magic and Jazz. He quickly fell out of favor with Jazz coach Jerry Sloan after he signed as a free agent in 2001.

Sending Rice to Utah in the last year of his $9 million contract saved Houston $6.5 million. The Rockets will receive a future second-round pick.

"I'm still collecting my thoughts," Rice told the Houston Chronicle for its online editions Tuesday after receiving the news.

Utah will get a conditional first-round draft pick from Houston, and a conditional first-round pick that the Rockets acquired from Chicago in 2000.

O'Connor said he plans to speak to Rice within the next couple of days to see where the 36-year-old veteran could fit in with the Jazz, who are trying to get younger after the departures of John Stockton and Karl Malone.

"It's difficult when you're a veteran and you've been hurt a little bit and you get traded the day before training camp," O'Connor said. "We're going to let the dust settle with him a little bit and have a conversation."

This story is from's automated news wire. Wire index