Tag:Houston Rockets
Posted on: August 18, 2010 2:44 pm
Edited on: August 18, 2010 2:49 pm
 

Other teams are eyeing Carmelo Anthony

Posted by Royce Young

We know about the Knicks. We know about the Magic. But those two teams can't possibly be the only squads in a league of 30 that are after one of the most prized scoring forwards in the world. And they aren't.

Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated reports
both the Rockets and Nets are candidates in this hunt for a new home for Carmelo Anthony. Sources have indicated to SI that 'Melo would be open to signing a long-term extension with one of those squads if he landed there in a trade.

That's an underrated aspect of this whole thing. Anthony has a player option next season and while he might get traded, whoever gets him is going to want an extension signed right then and there. Nobody is willing to waste assets and players just to rent Anthony for a season or two.

If you recall though, Houston GM Daryl Morey said about a week ago that the Rockets weren't done trading. "Obviously one of our stated goals is that at some point -- and who knows when the opportunity will arise -- we want to make a move for a star, who comes loose like Boston did in trading for Kevin Garnett a few years ago," Morey said. I think Carmelo Anthony definitely fits that "star" description. You have to wonder if Morey knew something might be up when he said that.

And when Houston moved Trevor Ariza in the four-team deal that brought them Courtney Lee, most overlooked the fact the Rockets snagged a $6.3 million trade exception. When dealing for Anthony, this could be massive. A simple deal of Shane Battier and Jared Jeffries goes through just fine for Anthony. And it makes sense too for both teams. Both Jeffries and Battier are expiring contracts, but they're good players that could help fill the void of Anthony. If the Nuggets didn't feel like that was enough, Houston could always toss in a player like Chase Budinger or Jermaine Taylor to add some more talent to the deal.

As for the Nets, they have serious trade pieces that could bait the Nuggets into a deal. Devon Harris could be moved because of Jordan Farmar's signing. Of course newly drafted Derrick Favors would certainly be an enticing piece. Or players like Terrance Williams and Brook Lopez could be dangled. Plus, as I mentioned earlier today, the fact the Nets are moving to Brooklyn, which happens to be 'Melo's hometown. Then there's the Jay-Z connection and the fact Anthony fits well. So the Nets are definitely a player in this.

A lot of teams are going to try and get in the game for Anthony, but the most important issue is whether or not he's willing to sign an extension and play long-term there. And if he is, then it's just a matter of that team putting together the most enticing package for the Nuggets. And while the Knicks and Magic certainly can make good case, New Jersey and Houston are definitely players.
Posted on: August 13, 2010 12:24 pm
 

Houston's not done trading yet

"" Posted by Royce Young

When the Rockets traded Trevor Ariza in a four-team deal that brought Courtney Lee to Houston, most saw it as a salary dump with one decent player replacing another decent player. The Rockets saved some $10 million this season , snagged a valuable $6.3 million trade exception and also cleared a logjam at small forward while upgrading its backcourt depth.

But it doesn't sound like they're done.

"Obviously one of our stated goals is that at some point -- and who knows when the opportunity will arise -- we want to make a move for a star, who comes loose like Boston did in trading for Kevin Garnett a few years ago," general manager Daryl Morey told the Houston Chronicle. "Those opportunities don't come along often, but if something comes along like that, it's something we have to look at. And we feel like we're in a similar or better situation to get those kinds of things done after this trade than before."

By freeing up some money in the Ariza deal, Houston now has that ability. The trade exception is huge in trying to make a blockbuster deal, plus the extra money saved because the Rockets won't bust into the luxury tax area will please owner Leslie Alexander.

As Morey said, landing that marquee star isn't easy. He made a strong run at Chris Bosh this offseason before the star power forward turned him down to go to Miami instead. The market is a little thin on tradeable stars right now, but eventually you'll find some team in financial distress looking to dump a contract. Or just a team ready to cut ties and start over with cap space and assets.

Ariza was never a perfect fit for Rick Adelman's system in Houston and wasn't ever going to blossom into that star the Rockets are looking for. So Morey cut his losses, took back a player that's not quite equal to Ariza's talent but that is someone that will help the team, plus grabbed some flexibility and the trade exception. It's what good general managers do. And an example why Morey is one of the best.

Posted on: August 12, 2010 5:18 pm
Edited on: August 12, 2010 9:16 pm
 

Blog talk: 4-way trade

A look around the web at reactions to the 4-way trade between the Hornets, Rockets, Nets, and Pacers.
Posted by Matt Moore

Indiana Pacers

Pacers blog Indy Cornrows is breathing a heavy sigh of relief as the team has finally begun to construct a roster for the future, after years of band-aids on bullet holes:

"The second major area of relief addressed was adding a point guard who isn't just a one-season rental or a stop-gap point guard until someone better surface. Darren Collison is a young and vibrant point guard who instantly energizes the backcourt and fits in well with the other young core pieces the Pacers have assembled.

Plus, the risk on Collison is minimal since he has three years remaining on his rookie contract. If things work out as planned, he's extremely valuable from a production per dollar view. If the worst case situation plays out and Collison doesn't pan out, his minimal salary doesn't become an anchor on the salary cap for the Pacers to move on.

Exhale."

Teams trying to acquire a legitimate point guard never get this lucky. You either have to overpay in assets or money, and often both. For the Pacers to have acquired a player with neither limitation nor cost, that's quite a coup. 8 Points 9 seconds touches base on how it's relevant that Collison brings the right attitude to "running the team."

"Celebrate, Pacers fans. This is a good, good, good day. The team has a point guard. I never thought this day would come. Best part? Darren is just the perfect combination of youth, talent, mentality (he wants to show the world he belongs among the better PGs on this league) and drive to run this team at a very high level immediately. I’m sure he enjoyed picking up a thing or two from Chris Paul, but he must be ecstatic to have “his” team. And with only Granger and Hibbert as established team cornerstones for the future, he can immediately put his mark on the ball club."

 

And that aspect is why it's important the Jim O'Brien makes it clear the team is headed for a youth movement and not allow the same kind of veteran preference overshadow the need to put the youth on the floor. The Paces also feature a solid four-man rotation in the backcourt with Collison, Brandon Rush, Lance Stephenson, and A.J. Price. Also, there's no word on if the celebration in Indiana will feature a hoe-down. (I'm not mocking. I'm from Arkansas. I respect a good hoe-down.)

Houston Rockets

The Dream Shake lays out the biggest reason this trade works for the Rockets. It removes a logjam at small forward and allows Shane Battier to return to the rotation in heavy minutes.

"While some may argue that Trevor Ariza is the better player than Lee, that's not really my concern. Rather, I'm focused on how Lee fits with the roster, because that's what ultimately matters most. He's perfect for the free-flowing offense that Rick Adelman will likely employ with the second unit, much in the way that Shane Battier was a terrible fit for such a unit. Lee's presence frees up Battier to start once again, where he is much more comfortable. Make no mistake: Battier starting again is a good thing. He may have suffered through an ankle injury last season, but his style of play is not such that it will be affected by his aging. He is an intangibles player, much in the way Lee is. If anything, I'm excited that Lee will be able to learn from Battier"

Lee is often criticized for having limited upside.  I'd argue that his upside manifests itself not in terms of increased points and assists, but in the kind of things The Dream Shake hints at, the defense and savvy attributes that Battier represents.

New Jersey Nets

Sebastian Pruiti of Nets Are Scorching thinks the best thing about the Nets' acquisition of Troy Murphy is his expiring contract, which gives them not only flexibility next summer, but the ability to "flip" Murphy before the deadline if a marquee upgrade becomes available to teams with cap space.

""At the start of next season, the Nets are going to have both Murphy and Humphries coming off the books, plus they are saving what Courtney Lee would be making next year ($2,225,093).  This means that they are going to have somewhere in the area of $15 to $16 million worth of cap space to work with next year, when a certain indecisive forward in Denver becomes a free agent.  Even if the Nets don’t make a run at Carmelo, they have a lot of money to continue adding pieces to their roster.  In addition to the cap space next year, Murphy’s contract is going to be very attractive to teams at the trade deadline, and if Favors is playing well enough, I can see the Nets flipping Murphy for some young talent/trade exceptions/draft picks."

It's strange to see Murphy headed to the Nets in such a salary-shifter role, considering he was one of the more sought-after offensive weapons at last year's deadline. In the interim, he should be able to provide some help, most notably taking pressure off of Derrick Favors to come in as gangbusters, which is a really good thing considering how raw Favors is:

"From a roster standpoint, the Nets now have a power forward who can come in right away and be “the guy” at the spot.  Murphy, the New Jersey native, is going to be the opening day starter, no question about it.  So what does that do to the rest of the front court?  It makes Derrick Favors the back-up, and this is probably the best scenario for him in terms of development. "

New Orleans Hornets

Hornets 247 reports on an underrated element of this trade , that head coach Monty Williams has done terrific work with similarly long versatile small forwards in Portland, which could spell good things for Ariza in New Orleans.

"It also has to be noted that this is the exact kind of small forward that new coach Monty Williams will love to work with. By all accounts he did wonders with Nicolas Batum and Travis Outlaw while he was in Portland and Ariza is further along in his game than either of those players were when Monty started working with them. Once Peja is moved, the Hornets will have two defensive minded small forwards in Pondexter and Ariza that will be able to hound players on the defensive end, fill lanes and finish in transition, and knock down the wide open threes that CP3 will be able to provide."

At The Hive, on the other hand, isn't nearly as impressed with the trade, being frustrated with not getting more for what they consider a future star in Darren Collison.

"At the end of the day, I simply expected more for Darren Collison. I thought his value was higher and that Trevor Ariza's, after an underwhelming first year in Houston, was lower. The fact that Houston received nothing more than Courtney Lee in the transaction is pretty telling."
Posted on: August 11, 2010 1:23 pm
Edited on: August 11, 2010 4:22 pm
 

Nets, Hornets, Rockets, Pacers talking trade

"" "" Posted by Royce Young

Update: Our own Ken Berger of CBSSpors.com confirms that the deal is done, pending league approval.

I guess new Hornets general manager Dell Demps was serious about upgrading the talent and putting together a plan in New Orleans to keep Chris Paul. And he's not wasting any time doing it, sacrificing Darren Collison in a trade in order to move James Posey's hefty chain of a contract.

Chad Ford of ESPN.com reports that the Hornets, Nets, Rockets and Pacers are talking a four-team trade that would send Trevor Ariza to NOLA, Courtney Lee to Houston, Collison and Posey to Indiana and Troy Murphy to New Jersey.

Goodness. Let's all let that one soak in for a minute.

At first glance, I'm having trouble finding anything all that appalling about it. It makes sense for Indiana who desperately needs a point guard and is willing to take on Posey's ugly contract to get a potentially excellent point man in Collison. The Nets don't really need Murphy long-term because they just drafted Derrick Favors, but with Yi Jianlian moving to Washington, the Nets could use some more scoring punch and honestly, unloading Lee is not that much of a price to pay for a double-double machine like Murphy. Plus having Murphy in front of Favors and pairing those two with Brook Lopez would be darn fine frontcourt.

The Rockets would get Lee, who is a good shooter and scorer to spell Kevin Martin and also clear room for Shane Battier who now can get the minutes he deserves. Not to mention they'd ship Ariza's $5.8 million off the books in exchange for Lee's $1.2. Houston clearly is looking to clear some money off the books, because a straight swap of Lee for Ariza really isn't equal in terms of a talent trade. For instance, as Ford points out, before the trade, the team was bracing for a $10 million-plus luxury tax hit. This trade would save them $28 million on the life of the contracts and $10 million this season, including luxury tax considerations. That's a good chunk of change.

And of course the Hornets, who are the most important part of this proposed trade. Demps promised CP3 he would improve the roster and here's his first stab at it. Ariza replaces Posey in the proposed trade and this would also gives Demps the flexibility to move Peja Stojakovic, who he surely would love to.

Though he has faults (like shooting way too much, shooting too many 3s and shooting too low a percentage) Ariza is a quality scorer and someone that Paul can be encouraged in having. Plus, the kicker: Demps is already starting to try and clear some of the dust off the shelves by moving contracts like Posey's off the books. Though if there is a question mark here, it's that one would think the Hornets could get more than Ariza in a trade that sends Collison somewhere.

Obviously New Orleans wouldn't trade Collison if it weren't certain that Paul were staying. So if there's anything to take from all this, it's that CP3 will likely be with the Hornets for at least two more years. That is, if it all goes through in the end.
Posted on: July 28, 2010 4:53 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2010 4:54 pm
 

Rockets to trade Andersen to Toronto for pick

Posted by Royce Young

Jonathan Feigan of the Houston Chronicle reports the Rockets are shipping center David Andersen to Toronto for 2nd round pick, per a source.


So that's not a ground-shaking trade by any means. But it's something . Andersen is going to have a lot more opportunity to play in Toronto and if you'll excuse me and allow me to possibly read far too deep into this, it might say that Yao Ming is more healthy than we thought. Would the Rockets trade away a legit backup center if Yao weren't somewhat reliable for this upcoming season? My thinking is no, but of course I could be way off on that.

Last season in Houston, Andersen, a 30-year-old rookie, played in 5.8 points per game in 14.1 minutes a game. He saw most of his time filling in for Yao and in spot duty for Luis Scola and Chuck Hayes.

The Raptors are after front line help and Andersen will provide some pick-and-roll prowess, plus he's a big body. Again, nothing major here, but for a second-round pick, Andersen is an OK pickup. And the Rockets surely enjoyed unloading his $2.3 million off the books as well, especially after a summer of some solid spending.
Posted on: July 27, 2010 3:56 pm
Edited on: July 27, 2010 3:59 pm
 

The lost legend of Yao Ming

Posted by Matt Moore

You have to remember how good this Rockets team was. Or rather, how good they could have been. In 2006-2007, Yao Ming only played 48 games. He broke his kneecap in December and was sidelined until March. When healthy, Ming averaged 25 points per game (26.6 per 36 minutes), averaged 10 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game. He had a PER of 26.5 that year, which would have been good enough for second behind Dirk Nowitzki if he had maintained it for the 34 games he missed. The Rockets were fifth in point differential that season, even with Yao missing all those games. 

They finished fourth in SRS , a rating that measures strength of schedule and point differential, but wound up as the fifth seed. Worse yet, they were matched up with the Utah Jazz, a team that for whatever reason, owned Houston completely and totally during the middle 00's. That same Utah team would not only defeat the Rockets, but be gifted with the Golden State Warriors, fresh off their own matchup-oriented upset of the Dallas Mavericks, before falling to the Spurs in the Western Conference Finals. 

This was pretty much par for the course for the Rockets. Have a great season, be in position for a high seed, Yao as an MVP candidate. Then a Yao injury and a tough matchup with the Jazz, ending in an out. They finally managed to avoid injury. Finally managed to make it past the Jazz. And wound up against the Lakers in 2008 and looked very much like they had a shot at pushing LA. Broken foot. Done.

The questions will always be out there. What if Ming stayed healthy? What if Daryl Morey was able to pull of his moves a little sooner? What if Tracy McGrady hadn't been, well, you know, Tracy McGrady. What if things had gone just a little differently for that Rockets team? Not a lot. Just a little.
There are a million unfair endings for NBA players and teams, just as there are in life. Kermit Washington. Sam Bowie. The Blazers are staring down the barrel of such a situation with Greg Oden. But Ming's was more than just promise. It was delivered. When healthy, Yao Ming was the best center in the NBA. Dwight Howard is an absolute beast. One of the best defensive players you'll ever see. And Yao Ming had him dead to rights because of his touch, discipline, versatility, and range. He had a ridiculous array of moves to go along with his frame.

Has him. Had him. We're not sure which.

Ming is scheduled to return this season from the foot injury that cost him all of 2009-2010. But reports today indicate he may hang it up after this season, debating on how it goes. Yao turns 30 this year, and from the quotes he gave to the Chinese reporters, he's taking his usual level-headed approach to it.

Like I said before, I will quit the national team and the sport one day. It's what happens to every athlete."

Compare that with Tracy McGrady, Shaquille O'Neal, and Allen Iverson. You may call it a fierce competitor's will to play, I call Ming's attitude class and rationality. And it brings us to an important point.

This may seem like burying the man's legacy before the heart stops beating. But if this is his last season, we need to soak up whatever few moments we get to watch him play. We need to remind ourselves of how good Yao Ming really was, and can be. A big man with touch is seldom seen these days, and Ming brought a fierceness with him that we first thought would never come. By the time he hit his stride, we had seen the lion inside the lamb, only for the lion's paw to detonate into a million pieces. Every generation has their own lost legend. Yao Ming is this one's.
Category: NBA
Posted on: July 23, 2010 10:08 am
Edited on: July 23, 2010 3:30 pm
 

Offseason reviews: Southwest Division

Posted by Royce Young

Dallas Mavericks

Added: Tyson Chandler (trade), Alexis Ajinca (trade), Ian Mahinmi (free agency), Dominique Jones (draft)
Lost:
Erick Dampier (trade), Eduardo Najera (trade), Matt Carroll (trade)

Philosophy: "It's now or never."

The Mavs' clock is starting to tick. Time is beginning to run out on the Dirk Nowitzki era and the team knows this. And every move this offseason was made in an effort to stay competitive, get to the playoffs and hopefully set themselves up for more midseason moves if necessary. The Mavericks have had the type of roster over the last 10 years that's always good enough to win 50 games, get to the postseason and maybe even win a series. But there's just never enough oomph to it and it seems like the Mavs are always a player short.

Tyson Chandler for Erick Dampier seems like a lateral move in a sense because does that really improve Dallas to the point that they're a legitimate contender now? Unlikely. The Mavericks picked up about 10 centers, but with Brendan Haywood now established inside, the Mavericks are looking to match up with Bynum and Gasol and with Chandler, things got a little better.

Grade: B-

Houston Rockets

Added: Luis Scola (re-signed), Kyle Lowry (re-signed), Brad Miller (free agency), Patrick Patterson (draft)
Lost: None

Philosophy: "Keep playing chess while the rest, you know."

You might as well count Yao as addition as well, because getting the big man back is huge for the Rockets. But Houston re-inked Kyle Lowry and Luis Scola for the long-term and brought in Brad Miller as help/insurance behind Yao. The Rockets are a team that want sustained success but are looking to compete now. Daryl Morey isn't shy about being active to build a roster he prefers, and this offseason, he did exactly that. The Rockets drafted Patrick Patterson in the first round, re-signed a few players and attempted to address an issue inside.

Grade: B+

Memphis Grizzlies

Added: Rudy Gay (re-signed), Tony Allen (free agency), Xavier Henry (draft)
Lost: Marcus Williams (free agency), Lester Hudson (free agency)

Philosophy: "Hang with us, we're getting there."

The Grizzlies have built a quality roster somewhat unconventionally. They've acquired a large bulk of it through the draft and trades, but really scored big last season when Zach Randolph decided he was ready to play without any baggage. The biggest thing the Grizzlies did this offseason was re-sign Rudy Gay. Now, is Gay worth $84 million? Eh, that's a pretty hefty price for him. But keep in mind, Gay is only 23 and had his best season last year. And someone was going to pay him. It basically came down to if Memphis wanted to hang on to its franchise player, they were going to have to overpay. These are the type of things that can hurt in the long term, but it was a choice the Grizzlies had to make and they chose to keep their most talented player. Hard to say it's really that dumb.

The Tony Allen signing is a slight headscratcher, mainly because where does he fit in for quality minutes? O.J. Mayo may be learning to play point, but he's still the starting 2. Of course there's Xavier Henry who the Grizzlies drafted and though he can play small forward, he's a more natural shooting guard. Allen is versatile and brought in to defend, but $15 million over three years is pretty steep for a guy that might only play 15-20 minutes a night.

The one thing about the Grizzlies is that there doesn't seem to be any real direction. It's more a collection of talented players, but how do they fit together? How do they play together? Memphis isn't necessarily a player or two away from being a playoff team, but more an existing roster player elevating his game. Mike Conley Jr. definitely was an improved player last season, so maybe he's a candidate for a leap. Same with O.J. Mayo. The talent is in the cupboard, it's just about pulling it out onto the floor.

Grade: B

New Orleans Hornets

Added: Quincy Pondexter (draft), Craig Brackins (draft)
Lost: Morris Peterson (trade), Sean Marks (free agency), Chris Paul's commitment to the franchise

Philosophy: "Just trust us Chris! We'll get better!"

Ignore all that Chris Paul talk for just one minute. The Hornets, have been a pretty active team this offseason. And not just in terms of the roster. New Orleans has its GM resign, then hired a new GM, hired a new coach and is in the process of transferring ownership. Then they signed Luther Head and rescinded that deal. Plus they traded the 11th pick, Cole Aldrich, for Quincy Pondexter and Craig Brackins.

They've done a whole lot, while doing very little. But it all comes back to Paul. The main goal of this offseason is to set up a new front office, install a new coach and somehow convince your soured star to stay true to the mission. If that gets done, this is a slam dunk of an offseason for the Hornets, considering the circumstances. If Paul walks, the summer months were nothing short of a disaster.

Grade: Incomplete

San Antonio Spurs

Added: Tiago Splitter (signed), Richard Jefferson (re-signed), James Anderson (draft), Ryan Richards (draft), Gary Neal (summer league signee)
Lost: Roger Mason Jr. (free agency), Keith Bogans (free agency), Ian Mahinmi (free agency),

Philosophy: "We're not done yet."

The Spurs are offseason savants. RC Buford and company know how to pay just the right money, push the right buttons and get the right players. And evidently how to talk people out of $15 million. Take say, Richard Jefferson for example. The Spurs lucked out when Jefferson opted out of his $15 million deal. He claimed it was because he wanted a long-term deal. The Spurs obliged, Jefferson took less money and it saved the Spurs from busting the luxury tax and kept some serious coin in their pockets. It's a fishy deal, but nonetheless, good for San Antonio.

Next, they signed Tiago Splitter. Splitter has been sort of a myth the last few years. A gifted big man that tore it up internationally, but couldn't come to terms with San Antonio. Well, the Spurs officially inked him to a sensible deal (about $16 million over three years) and not only is Splitter visions of the future for San Antonio, but he also helps now. They also added James Anderson, an All-American and prolific college scorer to replace Roger Mason Jr. The Spurs know what they want to do and while their core may seem ancient, the goal remains the same: build around talent and ride Tim Duncan until he can't walk anymore.

Grade: B+


Posted on: July 20, 2010 6:21 pm
 

Video: Offseason update, 7.20.10

Posted by Royce Young

What's up with the Matt Barnes sign-and-trade that didn't happen? Is Yao Ming actually hurt or not? And what does it mean that super-agent Lon Babby is now a head man for the Phoenix Suns? All this is discussed in today's NBA offseason update.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com