Tag:Houston Rockets
Posted on: March 8, 2012 4:32 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2012 4:42 pm
 

Trade Deadline: Teams looking to make a move

Dwight Howard faces the most uncertain trade deadline of his career. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore

The winds are filled with whispers and disinformation. Fans are rattling trade machines and scouring salary lists. And most of the players in the league have a heightened anxiety while telling everyone they're oblivious to what's going on.

It's trade season.

With the deadline a week away, talks are ramping up, and while this is the most difficult trade deadline in years to predict in the way of volume of deals, the chatter is going to be the same as ever. Teams are at the point in the season where it's time to either head in a different direction, try and get over the hump, move towards the future, add that final piece, blow the whole thing up, or try and stay the course.

Some teams are above the fray. The rest will be on the phone. And some desperately need to get a deal done in the next seven days. With that, we present the Deadline Urgent Care Report, for teams that need to make a move now. It's time to trade or get off the block.


1. Orlando Magic: There's so much going on with this situation that no one really wants to talk about. It gets boiled down to a handful of narratives. "You have to rebuild if you're going to lose Dwight Howard." "You don't trade Dwight Howard until you absolutely have to." "You can't make decisions based on emotions." "Who really wants to rebuild around Brook Lopez?"

There's so much more going on. The health of their owner. Dwight's complex relationship with the city, with ownership, with Otis Smith, with Stan Van Gundy. To be sure, there's an impression given that Howard thinks he's beyond all of them at this stage in his career. But there's part of him that knows Smith took a chance on him. He knows Stan Van Gundy helped make him into the Defensive Player of the Year that he is. He knows Orlando has embraced him. This isn't an easy scenario in back and white lines.

But the reality remains. The Magic have to trade Howard if he is unable to give them a solid indication he wants to stay. Yes, Cleveland has rebuilt well without trading LeBron James. But it's less about what you get in return than it is about clearing space. Letting Howard go in free agency means you have a terrible team that's expensive. Trading him means the possibility of moving Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson, or Glen Davis to alleviate the contract situation.

The Magic need to be looking to the future, trying to pull in as many young viable could-be-stars as possible, not bringing in veterans with large contracts or injury issues. They need to scrap it and start over. It's the quickest and most logical way back to title contention. Currently the odds are a pick 'em for if they'll trade him or not. At some point, despite how complicated the situation is, you have to move forward. Otherwise you're not saving yourself, you're just waiting to die.

Targets: Distributing wing creator, point guard upgrade.
Movable assets: Dwight Howard, Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu, J.J. Redick, Jameer Nelson


2. Los Angeles Lakers
: It's pretty simple stuff, really. This team, as constructed, will most likey win a title. They can, but they probably will not. And that is not how the Los Angeles Lakers operate. They have movable stars, are willing to take on salary, and are in need of a face-saving move to try and redeem the decisions of the front office.

The trick for the Lakers is determining trade value. Pau Gasol was thought of as the best big man in basketball a year and a half ago. Now, he's a sidekick delicate shooter who fell apart in the playoffs. Andrew Bynum was a project with upside who you could still rationalize moving for something less than elite return. Now he's an All-Star who finally looks healthy. Do you see the problem? Gasol is better than his current value will allow in return and Bynum's current value is so high as to make it difficult to net equal return.

Furthermore, they need a star to put next to Kobe Bryant. Dwight Howard is there, but that situation has been temperamental. And it doesn't address their issues. A trade for Howard means they still have weaknesses at point guard and small forward. If the Lakers are going to do a deal, they need to pull in other teams to get some auxiliary talent back.

Targets: Dominant superstar option B, point guard upgrade, small forward who can hit water falling out of a boat.
Movable assets: Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum (?), Metta World Peace, Steve Blake, Matt Barnes.


3. Boston Celtics:
It's. Over.

The run was good. It wasn't great, just one championship, two Finals, and for a collection of Hall of Famers, it's disappointing. But the reality remains, it's time for Boston to move on. Every indication is that Danny Ainge isn't looking to try and win a title this year through trade. He's aiming for down the line. The idea is to be in a position to make a big move should one come available, not try an force one with the older players currently on roster.

And still, a change is needed. They can definitely re-stock in free agency when Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett's deals come off the books. But considering the value of both players, it would make sense to shop either or both in an attempt to get something of value now. Again, the idea is not to find players to win a title now, since they're not in that position. But to get players that will have value later to then move for those big pieces.

And then there's Rondo.

The enigmatic, temperamental shrouded in mystery and a faint air of disgust who drops triple-doubles to boggle the mind continues to be at the center of the Celtics' uncertainty. The Celtics took to the offensive last week to shoot down rumors they were looking at moving Rondo. But he's been discussed as a potential trade target for far longer than the past two weeks. Rondo has trouble scoring efficiently. He also possesses arguably the best vision of any point guard in the league, including Chris Paul. Can you build around him? Is his success a product of playing with three Hall of Famers? Is he limited by the Celtics' pace and lack of speed? The questions about Rondo have implications beyond whether to trade him or not. They also deal with how to build a team around him going forward if they don't trade him.

Targets: Versatile wings, on-ball creators, anything resembling a legitimate center.
Movable assets: Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce (?), Chris Wilcox, Avery Bradley, Brandon Bass, Jermaine O'Neal (expiring contract).


4. Atlanta Hawks:
Josh Smith still wants out. The roster is stale. Marvin Williams is movable, finally. Jeff Teague makes Kirk Hinrich expendable. There's every reason for the Hawks to be big players at the deadline, but as always, their ownership situation makes things complicated. Still, the Hawks have repeatedly made moves at the deadline over the years and Smith should get a high amount of offers.

Targets: Clearing salary, legitimate center, back-up scoring guard.
Movable assets: Josh Smith, Kirk Hinrich, Joe Johnson.


5. Golden State Warriors:
The Warriors' new ownership has made big noise about change and bringing in stars, changing the culture. Instead they're largely the same team they have been for the past few years. They want to make a big splash. They have all the components to do so, it just matters how desperate they are. Expiring contracts, young stars on good contracts, versatility and depth. They have everything but a good roster. Fixing it will take more than a quick fix, but if they want to make a splash, the time is now.

Targets: Legitimate star, legitimate center, defensive backcourt and frontcourt upgrades.
Movable assets: Literally every player on roster.


6. Milwaukee Bucks:
Stephen Jackson has a huge contract, a bad attitude and a declining skill set. So clearly the market should be strong for him. The Bucks have wandered into no-man's land, not bad enough to land a star in the lottery, not good enough to make progress. But how do you remake a roster like this with a very specific outline for a blueprint? Brandon Jenning is the franchise player... is that a good thing? If Andrew Bogut can stay healthy they're a force... can he? They have depth that plays exceptionally well, is it worth selling high on them? It's a complex situation in Milwaukee.

Targets: Scoring, versatility, multi-dimensional impact.
Movable assets: Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Ersan Ilyasova, Drew Gooden, Brandon Jennings (?), Andrew Bogut (?), Stephen Jackson.


7. New Jersey Nets:
They can wait on Dwight. But that's the kind of gamble that puts the fear of God in you. It's like telling your spouse, "Don't worry, honey. I've lost our car, our couch, our refrigerator, our bed and our life savings the last five times I've tried this gamble, but this time it's going to be different!" Nets supporters often point out that Billy King has made a number of four and five team trades. What they do not mention is how seldom his teams have gotten the better end of those deals. Not that his teams come out worse. But it's not like we're dealing with a stellar record.

The Nets have young players, but they're not very good. It's unlikely they'll panic should Howard stay put in Orlando, but it's going to make them break out the scotch. Expect their phone lines to be busy for the next week.

Targets: Dwight Howard. Pieces necessary to get Dwight Howard.
Movable assets: Anyone but Deron Williams.


8. Houston Rockets:
The Rockets are where they always are. Trying to get a star and building up assets to get a star they can never seem to land which makes them build up more assets to try and get a star. It's like an M.C. Escher painting.

Targets: Superstar to build around, low-post scorer.
Movable assets: Anyone for the right price.
Posted on: March 7, 2012 4:10 pm
Edited on: March 7, 2012 4:43 pm
 

Vegas oddsmaker: expect busy NBA trade deadline

Dwight Howard could determine whether or not this is a busy NBA trade deadline. (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver   

Will we see two hectic NBA trade deadline days in a row? Las Vegas seems to think so.

The 2011 trade season was crazy, but the biggest deals -- Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks and Deron Williams to the New Jersey Nets -- were both completed in advance of the Feb. 24 deadline. Even so, Gerald Wallace, Kendrick Perkins, Baron Davis, Shane Battier, Aaron Brooks and Jeff Green were just some of the names that moved on the final day of the trade season.

This year, Vegas oddsmaker Bovada anticipates a similar level of activity. On Wednesday, the site set the over/under on trades that will happen on the March 15th deadline at 6.5. Of course, this number is for entertainment purposes only.

It goes without saying that the biggest potential trade chips are Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard and Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol. Both are listed at even odds if you want to bet "yes" on them moving. 

So will we see seven trades? Given the slow run-up of rumors it looks a little bleak right now. Let's take a look from both sides.

If this does wind up being a quiet trade season, you can bet on the following factors emerging as explanations after the fact.

Howard's uncertainty

Teams with top-tier assets are on hold as they wait for the Howard situation to clear up. If it gets closer to the deadline and he winds up staying in Orlando, rival GMs will have the choice of scrambling to execute a back-up plan or simply holding their cards until the offseason. It's essentially the same thing if he winds up moving late. For teams not in the transaction, they won't have days to weigh their options as they did following the Anthony and Williams trades last year.

Lockout schedule

The delayed start to the 2011-2012 season also pushed back the trade deadline. With six weeks until the playoffs, the temptation to fold the tent and wait until Draft season could be strong for teams that either aren't true contenders or have already dropped out of the playoff chase. It's much easier to write-off a 66-game season than it is an 82-game season. A number of teams have tanked hard since the beginning of the season using the same logic.

Established dominance in the East

In the East, Chicago and Miami have separated themselves so far from the pack that GMs may have trouble selling their owners on a win-now move that requires taking on salary. Why stock up only to get cut down by two truly elite teams? That train of thought is compounded by what is expected to be a strong free agency class. Taking on salary now means less flexibility later.

If, on the other hand, we do see a flurry of deals, here are a few factors that might trigger them. 

Wide open West

If there's activity for basketball reasons, there's a good chance it happens out West given the possibility that 4.5 games separate seeds 3 through 11. If someone wants to pay to make a push, they will be able to do so.  The Clippers, Lakers, Mavericks, Rockets and Timberwolves would all seem to have interest in making their team better for a little postseason fun.

Luxury tax  

Under the new collective bargaining agreement, high payroll teams are set to be hit with major fines for going over -- and eventually, for staying over -- the luxury tax line. Already, we saw one high-profile salary dump for tax purposes, when the Lakers moved Lamar Odom to the Mavericks.  It doesn't have to be big names or big salary numbers that move, though. Simply shipping an extraneous smaller-salary (over multiple years) guy to a team with cap space for oblique future Draft considerations could wind up saving a taxpayer real money when everything is added up down the line.

Danny Ainge 

The Boston Celtics are always active and this year they have assets galore plus plenty of motivation to move them given the uncertain direction going forward. Last year, Ainge made trades both big (Kendrick Perkins) and small (Luke Harangody). It's difficult to imagine he could sit on his hands with Boston limping along as the No. 7 seed.
Posted on: February 21, 2012 9:24 pm
 

NBA Power Rankings: Breakdown, Takedown Vol. 10

Posted by Royce Young and Ben Golliver

Even with all the hype, Jeremy Lin and the Knicks aren't getting their due. (Getty Images)

The 2011-2012 NBA season continues. Here's the tenth weekly installment of CBSSports.com's NBA Power Rankings by Eye On Basketball's Matt Moore.

What did he get right? What did he get wrong? We're here to break it down and take it down.

1. Too High: Houston Rockets at No. 9. I want to get excited about the Rockets too. They're an intriguing bunch of over-achievers with almost-stars in Kevin Martin and Luis Scola. But no way are they top 10 material quite yet. They are good at home but haven't been able to prove themselves much on the road. A 6-10 mark away from the Toyota Center has to improve if this group is to make a good case to be mentioned among the Western elite. -- RY

2. Too Low: New York Knicks at No. 15. Gauging the Knicks is all about how you want to look at the sample. They're 1-2 in their last three and they're 16-17 on the season, but they're also 9-4 in their last thirteen. All indications are that this is an above-average team that's put its early-season woes behind it. Working Carmelo Anthony back in after injury and adding J.R. Smith to the formula won't be a completely straightforward process, but this is a team that should be at least two spots higher. -- BG

3. Most Overrated: Minnesota Timberwolves at No. 14. We seem to go through this every week, but there's no chance that Minnesota should be this high, given that they're below .500, ranked above the Portland Trail Blazers, currently a game up on them, and still reside in last place of the Northwest Division. This week, they're not all that drastically overrated but placing them above New York, Portland, Memphis and Boston was a big with the heart, not the mind. Or maybe a pick made with googley eyes at Ricky Rubio. Whatever the reason, overrated. -- BG

4. Most Overlooked: Golden State Warriors at No. 23. Among the bottom ten teams in the league, Golden State seems the least awful. They're 5-5 in February, which counts as positive momentum after a slow start. Written off by many as early as mid-January, the Warriors are just four games out of the No. 8 playoff seed in the ultra-packed Western Conference, and even though they're 12th in the West, their No. 7 ranked offense provides enough reason to believe that they will land closer to the playoff fringes than the basement. -- BG

5. Sure Thing: San Antonio at No. 4. After back-to-back weeks of having the Spurs too low, it looks like they're finally in the right spot. Not quite as good as the Thunder, who own the West currently and certainly not among the Heat and Bulls. But absolutely a top five team with a look in them to make a strong push for the West's top spot before it's all said and done. They briefly got back Manu Ginobili, only to lose him again for a few weeks. No bother. The Spurs will just keep on. -- RY

6. Wild Card: Denver Nuggets at No. 11. At one point, it was nearly universally agreed upon that this team was legit contender material and a threat to the Thunder in the West. Then everyone started getting hurt and they started losing games by the bunches. What would've been a defining win against OKC Sunday was snuffed out by Kevin Durant. The Nuggets have shown they're almost good enough, but not quite there. If Danilo Gallinari can lift his game to another level when he returns, this could be a group to make a big Western push. -- RY
Posted on: February 10, 2012 1:39 am
Edited on: February 10, 2012 1:48 am
 

Report Card: Bynum and Gasol dominate Boston

Posted by Royce Young

 Bynum is an All-Star and Gasol got snubbed, but played like one anyway against the Celtics. (Getty Images)

Each night, Eye on Basketball brings you what you need to know about the games of the NBA. From great performances to terrible clock management the report card evaluates and eviscerates the good, the bad, and the ugly from the night that was.

Bynum and Gasol
The Lakers needed something from their terrific interior duo and they got it, as Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol combined for 41 points and 31 rebounds. They gave the Lakers just enough inside and on the glass to overcome a rough night and beat the Celtics. Plus, Gasol had the game-winning block of a Boston layup.
Houston bench
 The Rockets bench combined for 57 points and here were their plus/minus numbers in a win over the Suns: +18, +27, +25, +17. +22.
Sacramento Kings
The Kings deserve a whole lot of credit for beating the Thunder in their only national television appearance. They closed the game on a 19-6 run, "forced" 23 turnovers and have now won four of five and are a two-point loss to the Wolves away from winning five straight. Still, it wasn't a clean performance and you could tell the Kings weren't entirely sure where to go for points late but caught OKC in a couple bad rotations as Marcus Thornton hit two big 3s. The team still has work to do.
The Lakers-Celtics game in general A close overtime game, featuring the biggest rivalry in the NBA, but it was mostly ugly for about 47 minutes. There were some big shots and some big plays, but both teams shot under 40 percent and both teams looked old and out of sync at times.
Houston starters
The Rockets starting five combined for 39 points and here were their plus/minus numbers: -15, -13, -16, -16, -14.
Denver Nuggets The Nuggets have dropped six of seven after working themselves into the conversation of the best in the West. The Warriors did the work, behind 36 from Stephen Curry who had 36, but the Nuggets aren't looking like the elite team we all thought they were going to be. It could be just a bump in the road, as they're without some key players, but it could mean something more as well.
Thunder ball security
Oklahoma City blew a chance to lock up Scott Brooks' coaching the Western All-Stars with a 106-101 loss to the Kings. But what killed the Thunder most was 23 turnovers and 17 Sacramento rebounds. That added up to 22 more shots for the Kings and a loss for OKC.

Posted on: February 9, 2012 9:50 pm
Edited on: February 9, 2012 9:51 pm
 

Rockets & Warriors GMs admit Jeremy Lin mistakes

Jeremy Lin is making his former GMs look bad. (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver 

How crazy is this Jeremy Lin story? So crazy that two NBA general managers have publicly admitted that letting him go was a mistake.

Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey took to Twitter on Thursday morning to cop his plea.

"We should have kept Jeremy Lin," Morey wrote. "Did not know he was this good.Anyone who says they knew [is] misleading you... Really happy Jeremy Lin. Very hard working, nice, & humble. He has a great, great future." 

Then, in an interview with the New York Times, Golden State Warriors GM Larry Riley did the same.
“We always felt there would be some chance he’d be a backup point guard,” said Larry Riley, the Warriors general manager. “I have egg on my face in telling you that I did not think he was going to become a starting point guard with a good team. He’s doing that right now.”
Lin, the Knicks' Taiwanese-American point guard sensation, has scored 23 or more points in three straight games to help lead New York to consecutive wins over the New Jersey Nets, Utah Jazz and Washington Wizards.

Undrafted out of Harvard, Lin earned his first NBA contract with the Warriors after impressing at the 2010 NBA Summer League while playing for a team affiliated with the Dallas Mavericks. Lin wound up playing in just 29 games for Golden State, averaging 2.6 points and 1.4 assists in just 9.8 minutes per game.

When the Warriors released him prior to the 2011-2012 season, Lin signed briefly with the Rockets, but was released before he could appear in a single game. 

The Knicks wound up claiming Lin off of waivers on Dec. 27, and the rest is history.

And this really is history. Basketball operations executives admit mistakes at a rate of approximately one per lifetime. For the same player to produce two admissions of error in less than 24 hours is almost certainly a league record.
Posted on: February 5, 2012 5:53 pm
Edited on: February 5, 2012 5:56 pm
 

Scola handled Love stomping his face with class

Posted by Royce Young



No one would've held it against Luis Scola to blast Kevin Love for what may have been a cheap shot Saturday night. Whether Love meant to stomp on Scola or not, you know Scola probably didn't feel great about it.

Instead, Scola decided to handle the situation with total, impressive class saying, "I just don't care about that play. The game is over."

Scola instead only said that maybe he was bothered that the officials didn't call a foul on Love for hitting him across the arms.

Love pleaded innocence in regards to the stomp telling the Star Tribune, "He was kind of right there ... I have size-19 feet. He just happened to be there. I had nowhere to go. I kind of tripped up. I just had nowhere to step. It was a Heat-of-the-moment type play. He was there and it happened to be his face."

Love apologized to Scola after the game for the play and said the two have a good relationship. "Obviously it was nothing personal against their team," Love said. "... Nothing personal, just heat of the moment."

Maybe it was retaliation for Scola rocketing the ball off of Love's nether regions recently? Love says nope, just accidents all around.

"It happened to be his face, just like Houston, where it happened to be my groin."

The league certainly will be taking a look at the play and deciding whether or not is deserves a suspension, but in these cases, it's really hard to judge intent. Both Scola and Love seem to think it's a non-issue and something that's in the past, but the league office might be having the final word soon.
Posted on: February 4, 2012 10:00 pm
Edited on: February 6, 2012 12:24 pm
 

Kevin Love suspended for stepping on Scola's face

Posted by Ben Golliver

Update 12:22 p.m. Monday, February 6th: The league announced Monday that Kevin Love has been suspended two games for the whole "stepping on Scola's face" thing. Scola handled the whole thing pretty well.

---------------------------

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love is a surefire All-Star this season and one of the most promising young players in the NBA. But he'll catch some Heat for what went down during a Saturday night game against the Houston Rockets. There may very well be some people who watch the video below and deem it "dirty."

The incident began with the Rockets holding possession of the ball, trailing the Timberwolves leading, 64-52, with a little less than nine minutes remaining in the third quarter. Scola was working on Love with his back to the basket in the post. Scola fell to the ground in the paint after Love swiped down hard on the ball to force a turnover and Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio collected the ball and passed ahead to start a fast break the other direction. Love then moved to join the play as Scola lay on his back in the paint, in between Love and the upcourt action. Love seemed at first to attempt to step over Scola but his left foot wound up coming down with full force on Scola's face. Replays seemed to indicate that Love was looking down at Scola prior to stepping his foot down.

No foul was called on the play. The only question now is whether the act will draw the attention of the NBA league office.

Here's the video of Kevin Love stepping hard on Luis Scola's face via YouTube user RocketsRed and ClutchFans.net.



This isn't the first recent incident between the two big men. Less than a week ago, Scola threw the ball at Love's male region while attempting to save the ball from going out of bounds. Love doubled over in pain at the force of the throw and lay on the ground motionless while Scola checked on his well-being.

Here's video of Scola throwing the ball at Love's male region via YouTube user RocketsRed.


Posted on: February 1, 2012 4:30 pm
Edited on: February 1, 2012 4:40 pm
 

Report: Rockets pursuing trade for Kaman

The Rockets are reportedly pursuing Chris Kaman in a trade. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore

Chris Kaman is apparently a thing, now. 

The one-time All-Star traded from L.A. to the Hornets has been benched for the time being while the team attempts to trade him. There were talks that Kaman could be bought out, but a report from Sports Illustrated indicates that it may not get that far, because the Rockets are hot to trot for him. From SI.com:  
While no deal is imminent and the pieces are still being discussed, sources said the talks have involved the Rockets' two top-10 picks from the 2009 draft -- center Hasheem Thabeet (No. 2 by Memphis) and power forward Jordan Hill (No. 8 by New York). The Rockets have other young former first-rounders who could be included as well, among them second-year forward Patrick Patterson, third-year point guard Jonny Flynn and third-year small forward Terrence Williams. They also have a 2012 first-round pick from the Knicks that the Hornets would love to obtain.
via Houston Rockets discuss acquiring Chris Kaman from Hornets - Sam Amick - SI.com.

This comes after another SI report indicated that the Sixers are out of the running for Kaman, prefering to hold on to their valuable assets despite short-term injuries to both of their centers, Nikola Vucevic and Spencer Hawes.  

For the Rockets, a simple question.

Why?

This is a team badly in need of a star player. They need a quality starting scorer, a franchise player, someone to take them from the "borderline 8th seed, one-and-done at best" mediocrity they've settled into and towards a future of contention.

Chris Kaman is pretty much the opposite of that.

It's certainly true that Thabeet is nothing to give up for Kaman. But Jordan Hill is posting a 19 percent-plus rebound rate, playing pretty solid defense for a third year guy, and shooting over 50 percent. Is he a good basketball player, yet? No, but he's more than acceptable, and has room to grow. Better still, he's a movable contract. Why would the Rockets send out a quality young player and a draft pick they can move later for a  29-year-old on an expiring contract? Kaman is a quality center when healthy, but he's not something to build around. But if the Rockets really want to make a run this season with Kyle Lowry, Kevin Martin, and Luis Scola, sure, Kaman's as good a center as any, even if the have Samuel Dalembert

It's also possible the Rockets are clearing cap space for the summer. The question then is who they're targeting if not in trade.

All around, a confusing situation surrounding Kaman.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com