After spending his first two NBA seasons with the Houston Rockets, Sam Dekker is on the move.
The former standout forward for the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball program was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers in a deal that sent one of the game’s premier players, All-Star point guard Chris Paul, to Houston. Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical first reported the trade, which has not yet been approved by the NBA.
A message left on Dekker’s cell phone Wednesday morning wasn’t immediately returned, but the 6-foot-9 forward from Sheboygan posted a message on his Twitter account shortly after news of the trade broke.
“Houston, thanks for welcoming me with open arms,” Dekker wrote. “I gave my all every time I was on the court. Time to get to work for LA! #Clips.”
Along with Dekker, the Clippers also will be receiving guards Patrick Beverley and Lou Williams along with a protected 2018 first-round pick.
According to ESPN, Paul had decided to decline the player option on his contract with the Clippers and planned to sign with the Rockets as a free agent.
Dekker is no stranger to Staples Center, where the Clippers play their home games. During the Badgers’ run to the title game of the 2015 NCAA tournament, Dekker scored a career-high 27 points in UW’s 85-78 victory over Arizona in an Elite Eight game in the building.
That performance was part of a huge March for Dekker, who scored 20 points in the second half against the Wildcats, going 6 of 6 overall from the field and 5 of 5 from 3-point range after halftime. Two days earlier, Dekker had set a career high with 23 points in the Badgers’ 79-72 victory over North Carolina in a Sweet 16 game at Staples Center.
Dekker also played a huge role in UW’s upset of previously unbeaten Kentucky in the national semifinals.
After the Badgers’ season ended with a loss to Duke in the title game, Dekker announced he was foregoing his final season at UW to enter the NBA draft.
He was selected 18th overall by the Rockets, nine spots behind his UW teammate, center Frank Kaminsky.
Dekker was limited to three games because of a back injury during his rookie season in 2015-16, but he bounced back this season and was part of the playing rotation on a Houston team led by All-Star guard James Harden.
Dekker averaged 6.5 points and 3.7 rebounds in 77 games this past season, coming off the bench in all but two of those games.
He shot 47.3 percent overall, 32.1 percent from 3-point range and 55.9 percent from the line.