Tag:Houston Rockets
Posted on: February 15, 2011 2:59 pm
 

Trade Deadline: CLee is concerned, confident

Courtney Lee is concerned about the trade deadline but knows it's out of his hands. 
Posted by Matt Moore

Courtney Lee would do well to write a book about his first three years in the league. He's gone through a good sampling of the emotional highs and lows for an average NBA player during the course of his career, in a very short amount of time. Drafted by Orlando and not expected to provide much, Lee wound up being a huge part of the Magic's run to the Finals. He was athletic, he was versatile, he hit big shots. He looked like a huge building block for the Magic. Then the Finals, particularly, Game 2. He was this close to winning Game 2 for the Magic on an improbably alley-oop. He couldn't convert what was a near-impossible play. But everything changed for Lee after that.

He was traded to New Jersey in the Vince Carter deal, and only narrowly avoided being a part of one of the worst teams in NBA history. Then this season he was traded to Houston, where he's become a solid role player. He's shooting 42% from the arc and averaging 15 points and 4 rebounds per 36 minutes.  Still, with Houston expected to be active at the deadline in looking for deals, he could be on the move again. No rocket is immovable right now. And that's something that concerns him. From the Houston Chronicle
Rockets guard Courtney Lee, who had been traded after each of his first two NBA seasons, said he is concerned with the trade deadline next week, but will be fine either way. "I'm happy," Lee said. "I've been traded twice so that doesn't faze me at all. Wherever I'm at, I enjoy. I'm going to be a professional and work hard. If that leads me to be somewhere else, I'll do the same."
via Rockets notes: Lee concerned before trade deadline | NBA Basketball | Chron.com - Houston Chronicle.

Lee's saying all the right things, but he was unhappy when he was traded to the Nets, and having been traded twice now, he's got to be getting sick of it. It's not like he's a bust. Just for reference, Hasheem Thabeet can't seem to get out of town, but Courtney Lee gets swapped like a pog. This whole thing makes little sense sometimes. 

The biggest knocks on Lee are a limited set of athleticism and the fact that he's a third year player and 25-years-old. Basically, his ceiling is low. But at the same time, he's shown a remarkable ability to step up and make big plays. Defensively, time in a stable system could push him along considerably. The Magic didn't think he was worth enough to keep, but then, the Magic also thought Vince Carter would be the thing to put them over the top. So obviously things don't always work out how they think. 
Lee's going to be sweating through the trade deadline, hoping for some stability in his career. Too much movement can kill your ability to get comfortable, stay confident, and play through it. It's getting used to new coworkers every six months and having to figure out what a new boss wants from you, without any leverage. It's a rough way to work, even if it is getting paid millions to play basketball. 
Posted on: February 15, 2011 1:39 am
 

That sound is the wheels on the Nuggets ...

... coming off.
Posted by Matt Moore

On Monday afternoon, CBSSports.com's Ken Berger reported that the Nuggets were still examining scenarios involving trading Carmelo Anthony, but they were also focused on finding improvements.  Berger reports that the Nuggets feel good about where they're at in the season: 


Though Denver has lost four of its last six, team officials privately are expressing optimism about how well the players and coaching staff have weathered significant injuries and the Anthony firestorm. With two games left before the All-Star break and three before the trade deadline, the Nuggets are tied for the sixth seed in the West -- with struggling teams all around them. Utah, Portland, Memphis, Phoenix, Houston and Golden State all have issues of their own, and none has proved demonstrably better than Denver when the Nuggets are healthy.
Some high-ranking personnel in the organization believe that without injuries to Kenyon Martin, Chris Andersen and Chauncey Billups -- not to mention the persistent trade rumors and the games Anthony missed due to the tragic death of his sister -- the Nuggets might very well be as high as third in the West. Team officials also are pleased with Anthony, who is averaging 29.5 points per game since the Nets walked away from the negotiating table -- including a 50-point game and a 42-point game. Given the circumstances, and the added value of home playoff dates with a lockout looming, the best course of action might be to keep Anthony and find ways to improve the roster without taking on future money.
via Trade deadline should resolve Melodrama - NBA - CBSSports.com Basketball.


And then tonight happened

Make it five of their last six. Okay, no big deal. Seven of their last ten. Hey, it happens. One game is nothing to get worked up about. 

But 121-102 to the Houston Rockets on top of everything else? There be trouble in the land. 

Just because the Nuggets are mired in a slump at the same time as all this is going on doesn't mean anything. After all, they were in the same situation with Melo when they were winning games left and right. But of course, the Nuggets have now fallen a half game behind injury-ravaged Portland and self-destructing Utah to the 8th seed in the West, with the Grizzlies just a game back and winners of 8 of their last ten. The Nuggets may have believed that without their injuries they'd be in a better position, but they've gotten everyone back to full health and the results are actually worse. They've regressed back to a struggling defensive unit, as they entered the night the seventh worst defensive club in the league. The chemistry is bad. Relying on Kenyon Martin is not a sound strategy. And for whatever reason, the close knit attitude that had been there seems to coming apart under the strains of the trade situation. 

Houston's a solid offensive team, if the mirror image of Denver. Both are terrible defensively but Monday night it was the Nuggets stepping down from the challenge. They went down by 31 points at one point. 31 points, to a sub-.500 team after a disappointing loss to the Grizzlies the night before. Back to back and all that, but this game sure felt as one of those type games that can push a club to the precipice. 

Then again, this is Masai Ujri we're talking about. Apparently he can't be pushed to the precipice even if there were giant man-sharks with laser swords. 

For his part, you really do have to commend Anthony, although taking your hat to him is a little absurd, for his consistency. It would have been easy after any of these losses, to go to Ujiri and have a detonation. To overreact and compromise his leverage and public image. But Anthony has remained calm, cool, and collected. He doesn't overreact to any win as a reason to stay or any loss as a reason to throw a tantrum. He continues to play his cards close to his vest, go out, and play ball. 

But the storm clouds are gathering, as Jeremy might say, and if things keep going down this road, the Nuggets will have no choice but to pull the trigger. But what are their options for improving the team, as Berger asserts they are considering to try and convince Melo to stick around? 

Several players on expiring contracts who could help Denver are expected to be available in the coming days. According to league sources, Portland is expected to entertain offers for several of its older players, including Joel Przybilla, who would provide some much-needed depth on Denver's front line. Same for Indiana's Jeff Foster, as Pacers president Larry Bird has publicly stated that he will explore cashing in expiring contracts for assets as opposed to waiting for free agency. The Rockets, one of the few teams willing to take on money, could make Shane Battier available if they can upgrade their talent. Battier would give Denver coach George Karl another dependable and versatile wing defender.
via Trade deadline should resolve Melodrama

Really? Really? Jeff Foster? Joel Przybilla? Shane Battier? Battier I can kind of see, he's a defensive stalwart. But Przybilla isn't even relevant on a Portland team happy to have any center with cartilege left (and Joel just had his heal) in their knees. Foster's not a game changer, not with Nene already on board alongside Anderson and Kenyon Martin. Those players are overrated, but Foster's not going to suddenly make their second unit better. You're talking about decorating the Titanic at that point. 
So we continue to wait, and watch, and pray that this endless saga finally gets resolution one way or another. 
Posted on: February 15, 2011 1:01 am
Edited on: February 15, 2011 1:11 am
 

Carmelo Anthony calls the Rockets 'interesting'

Carmelo Anthony was asked about his potential interest in playing for the Houston Rockets. Posted by Ben Golliver. carmelo-anthony-rockets

The Houston Rockets dismantled the Denver Nuggets on Monday, 121-102. But who cares about basketball when there's a trade rumor angle to pursue?

One oft-discussed alternative if Nuggets All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony does not agree to re-sign with the team and if Denver can't convince him to agree to an extend-and-trade is the rental scenario, whereby a not completely desperate team would trade for his rights for this season and attempt to re-sign him this summer. The usual suspects in these rental rumors are the Dallas Mavericks and the Rockets due to the aggressive reputations of their ownerships and management staffs. 

Following Monday night's game, ClutchFans.net caught up with Anthony to gauge his interest in the Rockets as a potential destination.
“It would be interesting, that’s all I can say,” said Anthony. “The Rockets are a good team, they’re an up and coming team right now. They miss Yao. They’re a play-hard team. I’m pretty sure anybody would like to play for that team. Now don’t take that the wrong… don’t spin that tonight.”
With loads of expiring contracts and extra draft picks, the Rockets have the ability to make Denver a fairly compelling package, but would only do so if they believed they had a legit shot at retaining Anthony this summer. Given Anthony's non-committal and somewhat distant answer to the question, and his reported desire to play in the Big Apple, a Rockets rental feels like a distant longshot. 

After all, the New York Knicks will be lurking this summer as stiff competition for any team that dares take a risk on renting Anthony before the trade deadline.  
Posted on: February 9, 2011 11:50 am
 

The Rockets are certainly being active

Posted by Royce Young

The Rockets have been somewhat of a disappointment this season. As a result, general manager Daryl Morey has constantly been reassuring fans that he and the front office have been furiously working to get the team where it should be.

And according to the Houston Chronicle, they absolutely have been.

His team needs talent, size, defense and rebounding. Carmelo Anthony appears to be at the top of his wish list, and Morey would trade for him without any guarantee of signing him to a long-term contract.

He knows Anthony wants to play for the Knicks, but at this point will take his chances. Morey also has asked about Chris Paul, Josh Smith, DeAndre Jordan, Anderson Varejao and a long list of others.

Everyone on the Rockets' roster is available as the NBA's February 24th trading deadline approaches, but some are more likely to go than others.

That's interesting right there. Everyone is available on the Rockets' roster. That means Morey has been saying things like, "OK, how about Kevin Martin and Luis Scola for Chris Paul?"

And all of this starts adding up with the reports mentioning Aaron Brooks' availability. One day, the Rockets were "trying hard" to move him. The next, that was refuted. Hard to really know, but it sounds like the team is listening to any and all offers.

The Rockets certainly have a good number of pieces that other teams would love to acquire. Shane Battier is a perfect veteran to have for a playoff run. Yao Ming's contract of course is something a rebuilding team would love to have coming off the books this summer. Patrick Patterson and Chase Budinger are two young players that teams probably would go after. There assets in the cupboard right now for the Rockets.

Morey has proven he's not shy about making moves. His deal for Kevin Martin last season was an aggressive one. His dealing of Tracy McGrady for picks, Jordan Hill and Jared Jeffries was too as well as the trade that sent Trevor Ariza to New Orleans. He's definitely willing to make a deal if it's out there.

The Rockets are four games back of the eight-seed in the West. As they're currently built, they don't look ready to realistically challenge for that spot. So Morey has to decide if he's trying to improve for now, or for later. By the sounds of it, he's keeping his head in the present.
Posted on: February 8, 2011 3:17 pm
 

Report: Rockets not interested in moving Brooks

Posted by Royce Young

Monday, there was news that the Houston Rockets were "going to try hard" to move guard Aaron Brooks before the trade deadline. And with that was word that the Knicks were interested.

According to the Houston Chronicle, only half of that is correct.

A report in New York had the Rockets eager to dump Aaron Brooks, and that the Knicks were mulling a deal.

The primary point of the report, that the Knicks are interested in Brooks, is entirely accurate.

According to two individuals with knowledge of the Rockets' thinking, the Rockets are not mulling a deal because so far there is not one to consider, and the Rockets are not looking to dump Brooks. Not even close.

He could be moved by the deadline, which has been true for most of the Rockets roster since Yao Ming started limping Nov. 10, long before Brooks stalked off the floor on Saturday. The Rockets, however, are not in talks to deal him and really don't want to.

Again, Brooks is a restricted free agent and has some clashes with both the front office and the coaching staff. His role has been altered in Houston and by all appearances, he's a bit unhappy.

But as the report says, just because Brooks has pouted a bit lately doesn't mean the Rockets are going to jump up and move him. Professional athletes have emotions but they also get over things. Whatever the case, as the deadline approaches, Brooks' situation is one to keep an eye on.

Posted on: February 8, 2011 1:08 am
 

Game Changer: An upsetting night

Posted by Royce Young

Each game is made up of elements that help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the previous night's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what led to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.

THE BIG ONE: BLAZERS TOE THE LINE

You didn't think LaMarcus Aldridge was an All-Star? Well how about now?

Aldridge went for 42 against on of the league's best defensive teams as the Blazers topped the Bulls 109-103 in yet another big win for Portland. These Blazers just won't go away. With Brandon Roy coming back soon and a big momentum win over Chicago, it's becoming more and more clear that we're not finished hearing from Portland.

While Aldridge was obviously incredible, this game was maybe more about how Andre Miller controlled everything. He scored 27 points and dished 11 assists and really had the team in good offensive sets and rhythm the entire second half. Typically the Bulls lock down in the fourth quarter, but Portland exploded for 34 points and a lot of that went directly through Miller. Aldridge was big in the period but again, Miller had a big hand in getting him those looks.

The Bulls got 37 from Derrick Rose but in the key moments of the fourth, Rose wasn't able to break lose and his teammates didn't provide a boost. Chicago scored enough to win as 103 typically gets it done for them, but they just couldn't get stops. They outrebounded Portland 41-31, made nine more baskets and scored six more points on 3s.

But the Blazers went 37-40 from the free throw line compared to Chicago's 11-18. Right there, is where this game was won. Aldridge and Miller went a combined 25-27 from the line, Rudy Fernandez 8-9 and Nicolas Batum 4-4. Other than Rose, nobody for the Bulls really got to the stripe. The Blazers attacked, while Chicago settled.

The Blazers need every win they can get, but with a little help on the way, beating the Bulls makes for some good feelings heading into the All-Star break. Portland looks to be in the playoff discussion all the way through and Monday's win showed that there's no reason they won't be.

SNEAKY WOLVES

You hear it all the time, but it's true: No matter who you're playing, there aren't any easy nights in the NBA. And the Hornets were the latest example of that.

Playing at home against the lowly Wolves, a team that had won only two road games coming in, New Orleans looked to roll over Minnesota. Except the Wolves came out firing, scoring 37 in the second quarter en route to hitting 11 3s on the night and beating NOLA 104-92.

Other than the two lines -- the free throw and 3-point ones -- this game was even. New Orleans made 35 baskets to Minnesota's 34. The Wolves had 44 rebounds, the Hornets 43. Turnovers were almost even.

But the Wolves separated because they scored 15 more points from 3 and went 25-25 from the free throw line. Between those two places, Minnesota picked up an extra 24 points on the Hornets. It showed late in the fourth too as Minnesota stretched out to an 18-point lead before Chris Paul tried to bring his team back by forcing a few turnovers and getting a couple good looks for Hornet shooters.

It wasn't enough though as if only for a night, the Wolves looked like the playoff team in New Orleans. Jonny Flynn looked as good as he has this season after coming back from hip surgery with 13 points and six assists, Kevin Love was Kevin Love (27 points, 17 rebounds) and the Minnesota bench poured in 47 points. The defense was there, they selectively ran instead of recklessly doing it and definitely played their best game of the season.

Is it something to build off of? Probably not, because I think it was more of a product that the Hornets weren't prepared, but the Wolves have some talent on the roster. And they showed that they're capable on any given night you don't take them seriously.

BOSTON SLIPS TO BOB'S FORMER CATS

What did I just say about any given night in the NBA? Well, apply it here too.

The Bobcats bit the Celtics 94-89 behind a big performance from unlikely hero Shaun Livingson who had 18 points on 7-10 shooting off the bench. It was the kind of game you almost always see Boston win. A tough, defensive game where every point came at a premium. But the Cats did it all a little better in the end, hitting a number of tough, contested shots while forcing Boston into tough looks on the other end.

At the half, it looked like Charlotte would have a serious uphill climb in order to win. They led 51-50, but Stephen Jackson was tossed because he picked up back-to-back technicals. Without Jackson, things looked to be difficult for Charlotte. One of their top offensive options was gone. They needed someone to step up. And that's where Livingston came in.

He was a huge part of the offense in the fourth quarter rally where Charlotte outscored the Celtics 29-20. He moved the ball, hit jumpers and freed up others with dribble penetration.

A late questionable call on Livingston gave the Celtics life as Paul Pierce went to the line for three, making two and cutting the lead to 92-89 with three seconds left. And despite the bad foul, Livingston swore he wasn't trying to throw the game.



(Ray Allen hit two 3-pointers, putting him one shy of Reggie Miller's record. In case you were wondering.)

The Celtics aren't going to win every night, but this was pretty unexpected, especially with Jackson being absent the last 24 minutes.

CAVS BEIN' CAVS

Coming in, it didn't look there was any question as to if the Cavaliers would drop their 25th straight. They were playing in Dallas against the hit Mavericks.

But there they were, right in the game.

Cleveland got it down to three and had possession with a minute left twice. But they almost looked panicked. Antwan Jamison hurried a 3-pointer and then J.J. Hickson ran over Jason Kidd for a charge. The Cavs went into a frantic mode, hurrying everything trying to tie the game.

Jason Terry knocked down a jumper, but the Cavs responded, cutting it to 99-96. The Cavs got a stop with 15 seconds left and Anthony Parker had a decent pull-up look from 3 to tie. The ball just bounced off the rim but Jamison tapped the ball out.

But naturally, the Cavs didn't even get another tying attempt up before the buzzer sounds. It was so, so Cavs.

They battled though, going on a 7-0 run to even have a chance. But they finished the game like a team that just doesn't know how to win. This is the official record of 25 losses in a row and wouldn't you know it, they were so, so close to preventing that.

GO-GO-GADGET LINES

Carmelo Anthony gets the gold star of the night as he dropped 50 points on 16-24 shooting while also grabbing 11 rebounds.

LaMarcus Aldridge exploded for 42 against the Bulls.

Kevin Martin went for 37 against Denver.

Gerald Wallace went for 19 points and 16 rebounds.

Rajon Rondo notched another double-double with 10 points and 14 assists.

Kevin Love with another typical night -- 27 points, 17 rebounds and 14-14 from the line.

PARTING THOUGHT

I don't know who's harder to figure out, the Nuggets or the Rockets. Denver lost to Houston at home 108-103 despite 50 from Melo. The Rockets just don't seem to go away and the Nuggets just continue to lose puzzling games. In Denver's defense though, Nene missed the game and Chauncey Billups exited early with an injury. Still though, dropping games at home versus sub-.500 teams doesn't happen often in Denver.
Posted on: February 7, 2011 9:55 pm
 

Rockets trying to move Brooks, Knicks involved?

Posted by Royce Young

Things can change quickly in professional sports. One minute you're the star of a team, a building block for the future. The next, you're on the trade block.

That appears to be the story for Rockets guard Aaron Brooks as Newsday reports that Houston is "going to try hard" to move Brooks before the Feb. 24 deadline. The report also says the Knicks are interested in acquiring Brooks.

Brooks is a restricted free agent after this season, so that will bring down the price tag. He's making $2 million this season. As pointed out by Posting and Toasting, a potential trade could include Kelenna Azubuike's expiring deal ($3.3 million) that is eligible to have 80 percent covered by insurance.

The Rockets have a pretty good stable of guards with Kyle Lowry who has taken over the starting duties at point, Kevin Martin and Courtney Lee. Rookie Ishmael Smith has moved between the Rockets and the D-League, but he'll likely find a permanent spot if Brooks is moved.

Brooks of course had a recent issue with the Rockets as he was suspended for Monday's game for leaving the floor after being substituted in a game over the weekend. But the issues with the team go back to before the season too as he was vocal about wanting an extension with the team though general manager Daryl Morey said the team had a "policy" about not giving them out.

I guess you can kind of see why Morey held off now. It's why he's one of the smartest out there. Other GMs would've hit Brooks with a five-year, $50 million deal the second he asked for it.

Things haven't gone well recently in Houston for last season's Most Improved winner, with him losing playing time and even his starting spot. He battled an ankle injury early on but since his return hasn't performed up to expectation. Brooks, 26, is averaging 12.2 points and 4.1 assists per game this season after his career-best 19.6 points and 5.3 assists in 2009-10.

The Knicks have been after a backup point guard for Raymond Felton for some time, but to me it seems like Brooks might be a little too good for that role. If Brooks isn't happy about his minutes in Houston, why would he all of a sudden be happy in New York behind Felton?
Posted on: February 6, 2011 2:35 pm
 

Aaron Brooks suspended for walking off court

Posted by Royce Young

About halfway through the fourth quarter of Houston's overtime win against the Grizzlies Saturday, Rick Adelman subbed for Aaron Brooks. No big deal, just a substitution, right?

Wrong. Brooks, apparently not liking the swap, walked straight past the Rocket bench and into the locker room. Not because he needed some treatment or was injured. Nope, he was just mad about the substitution.

As a result, the Rockets have suspended Brooks for a game, according to the Houston Chronicle. He'll be sitting out Monday's game against the Nuggets and did not travel with the team.

Brooks, who battled injury early on during the season after winning Most Improved last year, has been relagated to a backup role for the Rockets. The reason though is simply because he hasn't played that well at all this year. He's forcing horrible shots and trying to do way too much. Two things that definitely don't fit into Adleman's share-the-ball system.

This type of stuff happens with players. They have egos. They have emotion. Brooks is obviously frustrated with the situation but surely is most frustrated with himself and his play. In the long run, this will be a good thing for him and probably for the Rockets. The team has underachieved and when that sort of thing happens, emotions boil over.

That doesn't excuse it, but it at least makes it understandable.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com