Posted on: December 9, 2011 4:17 pm
Edited on: December 10, 2011 2:52 am
Even as the NBA launched into damage-control mode Friday over commissioner David Stern's rejection of a trade sending Chris Paul to the Lakers, another firestorm started. The Orlando Magic were considering tampering charges against the New Jersey Nets, front office sources confirmed to CBSSports.com.
The charges would stem from an alleged meeting between Dwight Howard and Nets representatives in Miami in recent days as New Jersey prepared a blockbuster trade offer to land the All-Star center. ESPN.com reported that the meeting was attended by Howard, some of his business associates, Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov and Nets general manager Billy King.
Howard told ESPN.com, "There was no meeting." Prokhorov's spokeswoman, Ellen Pinchuk, did not respond to a request for comment, but King issued a statement Friday echoing Howard's denial.
"Contrary to published reports," King said, "the New Jersey Nets did not meet with Dwight Howard."
UPDATE: The Magic on Friday night gave Howard's agent, Dan Fegan, permission to speak with three teams -- the Lakers, Nets and Mavericks -- about a potential trade, a person familiar with the decision told CBSSports.com. But at the time of the reported meeting between Howard and Prokhorov, no permission had been given, the person said.
"I've seen the report, but I have no idea whether he met with them or not," Magic CEO Alex Martins said. "And so we'll certainly look into that. But at this stage, it's just a report."
Orlando's goal remains to retain Howard, but the organization has made the decision that it will not suffer the same fate as when Shaquille O'Neal left as a free agent in 1996 and the team received nothing in return. Also, Magic GM Otis Smith will not have Howard's destination in a trade dictated to him by Howard or his agent, a person with knowledge of the organization's strategy told CBSSports.com.
It was a second straight day of buffoonery for the NBA as it tried, and failed miserably, to shake off the effects of a five-month lockout and launch abbreviated training camps and free agency Friday. The season starts in 16 days, and two of the league's biggest stars evidently are frozen in their cities while other teams struggled to field enough bodies to hold training-camp practices.
"Bizarre," said one general manager who was navigating the madness.
The league does not investigate possible instances of tampering unless it receives a specific charge from one of its teams. The aspects of the rules that would apply to Howard's alleged meeting with Nets officials is that teams are not permitted to speak with players under contract with another team without that team's permission. The Magic evidently had no knowledge of whether Howard was meeting with Nets officials, though Orlando GM Otis Smith would certainly be well aware of the Nets' desire to acquire their superstar.
Since joining half the league in clearing 2010 cap space and failing to land one of the top free agents last summer, the Nets pursued and failed to land Carmelo Anthony, who ultimately was traded to the Knicks. New Jersey responded by sending Derrick Favors, Devin Harris and two first-round picks to Utah for star point guard Deron Williams, whom they are now feverishly working to build around and keep him from leaving as a free agent after the 66-game 2011-12 season. In addition to preparing a trade offer for Howard that would include center Brook Lopez and two first-round picks, the Nets also were courting Nene and were telling some teams Friday they were closing in on the free-agent big man.
Several people on the periphery of the discussions said Friday night that, by all appearances, the Nets were closer to landing Nene than trading for Howard.
Howard has been careful not to publicly request or demand a trade. But his close associates have insisted for more than a year that Howard was looking to land in a marquee market, with Los Angeles and New York at the top of his list for obvious reasons. The Nets, who are moving to Brooklyn for the 2012-13 season, would fit Howard's desires, sources have told CBSSports.com.
As if that weren't enough news for one team for one day, the Magic also announced Friday they were waiving guard Gilbert Arenas and using the collective bargaining agreement's new amnesty provision to wipe the $19.3 million he is due this season off their cap and tax. Teams that are under the cap will have a chance to bid on assuming a certain percentage of Arenas' contract, with the winning team's bid offsetting Orlando's financial obligation to the former All-Star.
Posted on: October 29, 2010 4:15 pm
Erick Dampier agreed to a one-year deal with the Houston Rockets Fridaym, sources confirmed to CBSSports.com. The deal is for Houston's biannual exception, which is a little more than $2 million.
Dampier, who earleir flirted with joining the Miami Heat, was given a choice between a one-year deal and two-year arrangement with the Rockets and chose the shorter deal to "keep his options open" under the new collective bargaining agreement next season, one person familiar with the situation said.
The Rockets, who will use Dampier's size and experience as added insurance behind often-injured center Yao Ming, have to clear a roster spot for Dampier before the signing becomes official.
Posted on: June 29, 2009 3:04 pm
Edited on: June 29, 2009 5:30 pm
It was odd to hear that the Rockets were aggressively trying to acquire a high first-round pick in last week's NBA draft, offering such core names as Aaron Brooks, Shane Battier, and Carl Landry.
Now we know why.
Yahoo! Sports is reporting that the Rockets are gravely concerned that their franchise center, Yao Ming, could miss all of the 2009-10 season because his fractured left foot isn't healing properly. The situation is so serious, according to the report, that Houston officials are privately wondering if Yao will ever play again.
This would be a devastating blow to Yao, who faced the prospect of joining the elite free agent class of 2010 by declining a player option after next season. It is even more of a blow to the Rockets, who had the eventual champion Lakers on the ropes in the conference semifinals until Yao broke his foot and missed the rest of the series.
Rockets GM Daryl Morey didn't return a call seeking comment on the report. The team is preparing to have Yao examined by three foot specialists before commenting further on his status.
UPDATE: Tom Clanton, the Rockets' team physician, confirmed the severity of Yao's injury and told the Houston Chronicle it "could be career threatening." Not only has the fracture not healed, it has gotten worse, Clanton said -- extending across the bone.
Yao's future affects every major decision the Houston front office is faced with this summer, starting with its intention to re-sign forward Ron Artest and trade former All-Star Tracy McGrady. Artest has long been expected to re-sign with Houston, even if it meant taking less money than he could get on the open market. But Artest may be less inclined to return to Houston if Yao's future is in question, and the Rockets may be less likely to invest $8-$10 million a year in a complementary player with the knowledge that Yao's injury changes everything.
Yao's lower body has broken down numerous times under the crushing weight of his 7-foot-6 frame. He missed 21 games in 2005-06 because of an infection in his left big toe and broken bone in his left foot. He broke his right leg in 2006-07, costing him 32 games, then missed the 2008 playoffs with a stress fracture in his left foot. He missed only five regular season games last season before injuring his left foot again in Game 3 of the Lakers series.
Posted on: May 5, 2009 11:47 am
Are the Lakers in big trouble? Nah, they've been down this road before. They're a confident team with playoff experience, and they know how to win on the road.
Posted on: March 18, 2009 7:34 pm
Edited on: March 19, 2009 11:47 am
Getting shot is scary. Carl Landry can attest to that.
"I was really scared when the bullets were flying," Landry said in an interview on KILT radio in Houston. "And I’m just glad it hit me in a place where I could continue to run and get away.”
Evidently, the people in the car that sideswiped Landry's car early Tuesday were looking for someone. They thought Landry was the guy. Landry tried to tell them he wasn't. They shot him anyway. Thankfully, the Rockets' forward sustained only a flesh wound to the leg and will be out 1-3 weeks.
“I knew something was going on like they were looking for somebody," Landry said. "Both of the guys got out of the car, I tried to plead my case saying that I’m not the guy they were looking for. But immediately they started shooting. Two shots were fired and the second shot hit me in the left calf.”
UPDATE: Even more chilling details from Thursday's Houston Chronicle. After Landry was shot, he said one of his attackers chased him for about a block. He hid between a house and a fence, then started knocking on doors for help. Gotta be kidding me.
“I ran about six blocks," Landry said. "After they fired two shots, one of the guys chased me for about a block. I was able to outrun the shooter, and I hid in between a house and a fence. I was so frightened, so I started to knock; I was ringing doorbells like crazy.
"One person came down and said he was going to call the police. He said he was going to call 911. I saw a cop car drive by about 20 minutes after he said that. I went up to the cop car, and they helped me."
Check out the rest of Jonathan Feigen's story, plus a map of where Landry was shot -- not far from the Toyota Center.
Posted on: February 27, 2009 9:31 am
The Rockets' Ron Artest and Shane Battier held LeBron James to a mortal 21 points on 7-for-21 shooting, one lousy rebound, and no assists -- the first assist-less game of LBJ's career -- in Houston's 93-74 victory Thursday night.
Here is a ridiculously detailed and fantastic analysis of how they did it from Kevin Arnovitz at TrueHoop. (I continue to be amazed on a daily basis by the quality of work being produced in the basketball blogosphere. It's a great place to work.)
Amid all the great detail of the Rockets' defensive strategy, which was fascinating in its own right, here's what stood out to me: Rockets GM Daryl Morey stating emphatically that, yes, LeBron is the best player in the NBA "by a wide margin." Morey knows what he is talking about, so you Kobe fans can take that to the bank.
These days, just be careful which bank.
Posted on: February 18, 2009 8:22 pm
Edited on: February 19, 2009 12:57 am
UPDATE: After hearing and reading media reports that Tracy McGrady will have season-ending microfracture surgery on his ailing left knee, the Houston Rockets aren't ready to pack it in. They might be looking to do something big.
"Not happening," a person with knowledge of the situation told CBSSports.com early Thursday.
The Rockets and Clippers discussed a trade that would've freed Davis from a disastrous return to his hometown and allowed the Rockets to remain in contention without McGrady. One possibility, first reported by SportingNews.com, had the Clippers willing to take back McGrady even though he won't play the rest of the season and faces a long recovery from the microfracture procedure.
That should tell you everything you need to know about how desperately Clippers owner Donald Sterling wants to retreat from the rare spending spree that resulted in Davis going to Clipperland in the first place. There figure to be other suitors for Davis, who has four years and $54 million left on his contract. Thus, possible landing spots would have to be limited to financially sound teams willing to take risks. (Mark Cuban, are you out there?)
The Sporting News' initial report on the Baron-to-Houston scenario quoted a person close to Davis saying, "It would be best for everyone if Baron moved on." That smells like an inside job, with Davis and his operatives trying to drum up an exit strategy to a solid playoff team. (Hey, it would beat the heck out of finishing the season with the 13-41 Clippers.) One team executive expressed serious doubts early Thursday that the Clippers would be successful in their Dump Baron campaign.
As for the Rockets, another source said they're telling teams they're working on "smaller deals." So while they're not taking McGrady's season-ending injury passively, they're not alarmed enough to make a $54 million bet.
Posted on: February 18, 2009 10:12 am
Edited on: February 18, 2009 5:22 pm
Every time I asked a general manager implicated in a Ponzi-like scam to acquire Tracy McGrady, the general manager reacted as though I were insane. I'd say, hey, it wasn't me who reported that.
Now we know why the GMs reacted with astonishment to T-Mac rumors. McGrady told ESPN's Stephen A. Smith Tuesday night that he's done for the year and will need microfracture surgery on his ailing left knee.
Of course, it was prematurely reported last week that McGrady was out for the year, so it's best to wait for the official word from Rockets GM Daryl Morey.
UPDATE: Or, official word from T-Mac, who just made the announcement in his blog. "I’ve met with numerous doctors and gotten a number of opinions, and unfortunately, I will be undergoing microfracture surgery on my left knee immediately," McGrady wrote. "Microfracture surgery is a serious procedure, but I’m confident that I will be able to return next season with the same strength and explosiveness you are all used to seeing from me."
Earlier Tuesday, Rockets owner Leslie Alexander asserted that McGrady wouldn't be traded before Thursday's deadline, but reiterated what Morey was saying in Phoenix during All-Star weekend -- that results of second and third opinions on McGrady's knee would be back sometime this week.
UPDATE: But it was news to the Rockets, who are none too pleased that McGrady announced his plans to have surgery without consulting with the team.
"There should be a protocol, there should be a procedure where we have a chance to sit down and talk about the situation and not be announced in the press," Rockets coach Rick Adelman told reporters Wednesday. "I don't know why that happened, why he did that. Certainly, that is not the way things should be handled."