Rockets trade Spanoulis to Spurs, but Greek star seeks return to homeland

Updated: July 13, 2007, 12:36 PM ET
Associated Press

SAN ANTONIO -- The NBA champion San Antonio Spurs have acquired guard Vassilis Spanoulis from the Houston Rockets in exchange for center Jackie Butler and the draft rights to Luis Scola.

Vassilis Spanoulis

Spanoulis

The Rockets also are giving the Spurs a 2009 second-round draft pick and other considerations in the trade, the Spurs said in a news release late Thursday.

Spanoulis, who averaged 2.7 points and 0.9 assists in 31 games as a rookie last year, has said he didn't want to return to the Rockets because he was homesick and wanted to remain in his native Greece.

Butler played in 11 games for the Spurs last year. He averaged 3.7 points and 2 rebounds.

Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said he expects Scola to help his team immediately.

"He adds experience and toughness at a position of need on our roster and is an NBA-ready player with a very high basketball IQ," Morey said in a statement.

The San Antonio Express-News reported in its online edition that Spanoulis was expected to remain in Europe.

Spanoulis said in a telephone interview with Houston television station KRIV from Greece that the trade didn't change his mind.

"Nothing changes my mind. I still want to stay in Greece," he said.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press