July 11, 2014 at 1:10 pm

Rockets trade Jeremy Lin to Lakers

jeremy lin traded Rockets trade Jeremy Lin to Lakers

Jeremy Lin’s Houston Rocket career is over.

The Rockets unloaded Lin and his $15 million salary for 2014-15 to the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday. To get the Lakers to absorb Lin’s contract, the Rockets sent their first round pick in 2015 plus an additional second round pick (2015 pick from the LA Clippers, only conveyed by LAC if between 51-55) to the Lakers. The Rockets also received the rights to Sergei Lishchuk.

It’s clear that Daryl Morey and the Rockets are full steam ahead in their cap room pursuit to sign Chris Bosh and sending out Lin was always a necessary step.

The move could be good for Lin, who was born in Los Angeles and grew up in California (Palo Alto). The Lakers, who fell short in free agency this summer, can now try their cap room plan again in 2015.

As for the Rockets signing of Lin in 2012, it was ill-fated from nearly the beginning and one of the bigger mistakes of the Daryl Morey era. He never quite meshed with James Harden and moved to the 6th man role last season.

The bigger goal is Bosh, who the Rockets hope to sign this weekend before having to match Chandler Parsons’ offer sheet from Dallas. The Rockets still need to execute the Omer Asik trade and it’s likely they are looking into moving Donatas Motiejunas and/or Terrence Jones as well.

Posted in Houston Rockets |
July 10, 2014 at 2:42 pm

Chandler Parsons won’t be getting a free pass any longer

Chandler Parsons

The NBA is a business.

That much we know and it was confirmed again on Thursday when Rocket restricted free agent Chandler Parsons agreed to a three-year, $46 million deal with the rival Dallas Mavericks. The offer sheet was signed by Parsons at an Orlando nightclub with Mavericks owner Mark Cuban grinning by his side.
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Posted in Houston Rockets |
July 3, 2014 at 12:55 am

The Jeremy Lin-Carmelo Anthony jersey controversy is ridiculously overblown

carmelo anthony locker room The Jeremy Lin Carmelo Anthony jersey controversy is ridiculously overblown

No doubt by now you’ve heard about the uproar being caused by Jeremy Lin’s fans on Wednesday after the Rockets, in their pitch to Carmelo Anthony, displayed artwork at the Toyota Center showing the superstar free agent in a Houston jersey wearing the number 7.

Only one problem — that’s Jeremy Lin’s number, and he’s still with the Rockets. Lin himself turned to Twitter to express that he felt disrespected.

Lin’s tweets sparked a controversy (even PTI got in on the act) when, in reality, this is business as usual in the NBA. Are the Rockets supposed to not depict a superstar free agent in the number he wants because their backup point guard currently has that number? Did the Dallas Mavericks refuse to display Melo in a Mavericks number 7 jersey because it might hurt Ricky Ledo‘s feelings?

Rockets general manager Daryl Morey spoke very candidly about it on Wednesday.

“It’s always a challenging situation during free agency,” Morey said in an interview with FOX 26 Sports outside the Toyota Center. “You are always having to recruit players and there might be current players at current positions, might be people with the current numbers. It’s unfortunate that it’s often hard to handle.

“Reality is it’s standard practice. When we went after Chris Bosh a few years ago, we had him in (Luis) Scola’s number. When we went after Dwight Howard he had (Pat) Beverley’s number. I get the sensitivity and I hate that it creates some hurt feelings. I don’t like that, but that’s obviously Carmelo Anthony’s number, that’s the number he wants. He told us that.”

Our Rockets forum (and my twitter timeline) filled up, with many of the Jeremy Lin crazies rallying around images like this one, claiming that the organization is lying and that the Rockets never used Beverley’s number 12 on Howard artwork.

Of course, this image was after Dwight signed with the Rockets and his number was established. There was no pitch at the Toyota Center (it was in Los Angeles) and Morey is telling the truth. How do I know? Because I saw the actual pitch that was made to Howard last summer, and it used Beverley’s number 12.

rockets dwight howard pitch 2 The Jeremy Lin Carmelo Anthony jersey controversy is ridiculously overblown

rockets dwight howard pitch 1 The Jeremy Lin Carmelo Anthony jersey controversy is ridiculously overblown

You would have to be living under a rock these past few months to not know that Jeremy Lin is going to be traded. We wrote about it as soon as the season ended and hammered it home again three weeks ago. The Rockets don’t have cap room and need to move Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin to create it.

“Bottom line, if Carmelo comes, Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin have to be traded,” said Morey. “It’s just math. It’s not personal. My job is every day figure out how to win. Sometimes it creates challenging situations.”

Posted in Houston Rockets |
July 1, 2014 at 11:20 am

Podcast: Carmelo, Love, Lowry and Houston’s options as free agency arrives

Kyle Lowry Houston Rockets free agency

Cap guru David Weiner, aka BimaThug, joins Dave Hardisty to discuss all the options the Houston Rockets have and the cap implications as NBA free agency officially opens. Here are the major topics discussed:

  • 2:30 — What has to happen to make Carmelo Anthony an interesting offer
  • 4:15 — The Kevin Love trade possibility
  • 7:15 — The Omer Asik trade and the draft pick received from New Orleans
  • 14:45 — Kyle Lowry
  • 20:00 — Why has Jeremy Lin not yet been traded?
  • 24:45 — Fallback options for the Rockets
  • 30:30 — Chandler Parsons contract and his restricted free agency
  • 36:45 — Houston’s Draft landing Clint Capela, Nick Johnson and Alessandro Gentile
  • 41:45 — The Rockets’ stash of international prospects

Posted in Houston Rockets, Podcasts |
June 30, 2014 at 9:47 pm

As they enter free agency, Rockets keeping all options open

Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Love

While saying nothing, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey seemed to say just about everything about the Rockets right now.

“It’s very hard to predict what will happen when things happen tonight,” said Morey.

Because of that unpredictability, the Rockets are preparing for numerous scenarios when the NBA free agency market officially opens tonight at midnight Eastern time.

The Rockets will make their pitch to the agent of LeBron James, though it looks like a near certainty that he will return to Miami. They will have Carmelo Anthony in Houston on Wednesday and are preparing to make a Dwight Howard-style presentation to him. They have made offers to Minnesota for Kevin Love and will continue to be in that mix. They also have been mentioned in reports as having interest in Pau Gasol and Luol Deng and some former Rockets as well — Trevor Ariza, Jordan Hill and Kyle Lowry (In fact, Morey and Kevin McHale met with Lowry in Philadelphia as free agency opened, according to Yahoo! Sports).

But the Rockets are trying to remain as flexible as possible until they have to commit to a certain direction.

They haven’t traded Jeremy Lin yet, likely knowing that they need to be more certain of the need for cap room since that deal will cost them additional assets. If they strike out in free agency, Lin’s contract would represent the one salary large enough to be used in a major trade. The pick they received in the Omer Asik trade could be a major trade asset.

That’s why I wouldn’t panic if the Rockets don’t land one of the Big Three (LeBron, Carmelo, Love) this summer. This was a very strong team last year that will keep their core intact and they are in a good enough position to make a quality trade and one or more signings as well.

Notes

  • The Omer Asik trade was simply beautiful.

    Dave Hardisty Sports Talk 790 guest appearance with Lance Zierlein and Adam Clanton to discuss the Asik trade.

    Not only will the Rockets completely clear off Asik’s salary, but they reel in a very good draft pick in the process, one that is similar to the pick received from Toronto in 2012. When the Rockets traded Lowry for that pick, I compared it to swapping a gift card for cash. This is what the Rockets do over and over and over again — they flip a rigid asset that would be attractive to a small handful of teams for a more flexible one that would draw the interest of just about every team.

    Now holding that pick, the Rockets will be in the conversation with just about any rebuilding team looking to move a win-now asset for future considerations.

    Asik is a strong defensive center. He’s going to form a wall in New Orleans as the starting five next to Anthony Davis. But while Asik was a key defensive big for the Rockets, the team was 34-20 (.629 winning percentage) in games (including playoffs) where Asik played last season and 22-12 (.647) when he was out. He will be missed, but the role he played simply wasn’t big enough to move the needle that much.

    That trade was a big win on all three fronts (trade, draft and free agency) moving forward.

  • Morey was asked multiple times in the Rockets press conference on Monday if he was confident that Alessandro Gentile, acquired by the Rockets on draft night, would be on Houston’s roster next season. I can assure you that, given the Rockets’ state right now, not even they know the answer to that question yet… and not just because they don’t have a commitment from Gentile.

    The Rockets are about to go through a big month of change and every player in their impressive stash of international prospects is a trade asset right now, according to a source with the team. I feel confident one of Sergio Llull, Kostas Papanikolau, Clint Capela and Gentile — the four best in the crop — will be dealt this offseason and I wouldn’t be surprised if two of them are moved.

    As to their view of the prospects, the team feels Llull, Papanikolaou and Gentile are all ready to contribute in the NBA right now. All three are too significant of players overseas to be able to join the Summer League squad.

  • I’ve been encouraged by the Kevin Love possibility.

    Reports that Love shot down the possibility of re-signing with the likes of Cleveland and Phoenix seem to suggest some pickiness on his part, which could be to Houston’s advantage. The shorter his list, the better the chance Houston has of getting Minnesota to accept a deal.

    I originally wrote that to get Love it would at least take Parsons, and Yahoo! Sports reported this week that the Timberwolves have an interest in a sign-and-trade for Parsons if they can’t strike a deal with Golden State. But the word right now is that the Rockets plan on keeping Parsons and haven’t offered him in a Love swap. They’re likely trying to package every rebuilding asset they have to get Minny to bite, and the pick received in the Asik deal certainly helps in that regard.

    But is Terrence Jones, Donatas Motiejunas, the New Orleans pick, one or more of Houston’s picks, their choice of Houston’s international prospects and Jeremy Lin (salary) enough to beat out what Golden State can put together?

  • I love the pick of Nick Johnson in the second round.

    There’s no telling how well a rookie will do in the NBA, especially out of the gate, but this kid looks like a gamer. His primary weakness — being a two-guard with a point guard’s body — is minimized in a lineup next to James Harden, a two who plays the de facto point guard for the Rockets.

    Meanwhile, his strengths fit perfectly. The Pac-12 Player of the Year is a tough, hard-nosed defender with excellent athleticism and a solid outside shot. He’s no stranger to big games, as Morey called him the “most productive player on the best team in the country.”

  • The Houston Chronicle cited a team source last week saying that the “Rockets likely will receive only a future second-round pick for Lin, not a first-rounder like the got for Asik.”

    That seemed way off at the time and almost looked like the Rockets were fishing for a better deal through the media.

    Consider the market. Since then, the Atlanta Hawks traded Lou Williams, who like Lin has just one year left on his deal. The Hawks had to give up top prospect and 2013 first round pick Lucas Nogueira to Toronto to unload that salary and the Hawks didn’t completely clear the books. They got back John Salmons, who has $1 million guaranteed for the next season.

    Williams will make $5.45 million next season. Lin has a cap hit of $8.4 million and will actually be paid $15 million in salary next season.

    Lin’s marketability makes his situation a little more unique, but if the Rockets are able to trade Lin with no sweeteners for pure cap room and net a second-round pick in the deal, Les Alexander needs to erect a Daryl Morey statue in front of the Toyota Center.

    Toronto (if they lose Lowry), Orlando and Philly seem like possible destinations for Lin.

Posted in Houston Rockets |
June 27, 2014 at 10:31 am

Draft Interviews with Clint Capela, Nick Johnson and Daryl Morey

Despite the fact that “cap room” was the major theme for the Rockets Thursday night, they still grabbed three players in the 2014 NBA Draft, selecting Swiss big man prospect Clint Capela with the 25th pick, Arizona guard Nick Johnson with the 42nd pick and adding the 53rd pick from Minnesota (for cash) to select Alessandro Gentile, a 22-year old scoring guard/forward out of Italy.

We got the chance to talk with Capela, Johnson and Rockets general manager Daryl Morey after last night’s draft. Here are the interviews:

Clint Capela Interview

Nick Johnson Interview

Daryl Morey Press Conference

Posted in Houston Rockets, NBA Draft |
June 26, 2014 at 9:55 pm

Rockets get guard help, draft Nick Johnson in second round

Nick Johnson Houston Rockets

The Rockets got some guard help in the draft Thursday night, taking Arizona’s Nick Johnson in the second round (#42 overall).

“It’s a great organization. They’re a playoff team and have a great group of guys,” said Johnson after being taken by the Rockets. “I’m excited. I’m speechless.”

The Rockets place a premium on three-point shooting and defense and Johnson can provide some of both. An undersized two at just 6-foot-3, Johnson played three seasons with the Wildcats, averaging 16.3 points a game as a junior in 2013-14. He is a solid shooter, hitting about 36% from three-point range over his college career, but he knocked down 39.3% from distance in his sophomore season.

He’s a good athlete with explosive leaping ability, testing out with a near-42″ vertical leap at the NBA combine.

He gives tremendous effort defensively, and he expressed his excitement to be able to play with Patrick Beverley.

“The one person I’m going to really latch onto is Beverley,” said Johnson. “I think we have a lot of similarities. I think his grit and grind that he really plays with is something I have in my game. I think I can come in from Day One and be that person that he’s being, the defensive player, the energy guy.

Johnson considers himself a “combo guard,” able to play the one and two, and he’s ready to get going.

“I’m going to come in, listen, work hard and do whatever I can,” said Johnson.

Here are some Nick Johnson highlights:

Posted in Houston Rockets, NBA Draft |
June 26, 2014 at 8:13 pm

Rockets take Clint Capela with pick #25

clint capela Rockets take Clint Capela with pick #25

Cap room is king for the Rockets right now and that continued to be shown on Draft Night as the Rockets went the international route, selecting Swiss power forward prospect Clint Capela with the 25th pick of the NBA Draft Thursday night.

“It was really amazing, like a dream come true,” said Capela on how he reacted when he learned the Rockets drafted him. “It was like, awesome.”

The 6-foot-10 athletic forward averaged 9.4 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 22 minutes a game for Elan Chalon in France’s top pro league in 2013-14.

“We thought he had the highest upside outside of the top few guys in the draft,” said Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, who said that Capela’s 7′ 4.5″ wingspan was second only to Anthony Davis (who measured at 7′ 5.5″).

At just 20 years of age, Capela is an excellent athlete and finisher. He’s especially quick on the second and third hop and specializes in rebounding and shotblocking. In transition and on the pick-and-roll, Capela can be very impressive.

He has a lot of work to do, however. He must get stronger and add some bulk, and there have been questions about his work ethic, which you never like to see. But as an athlete and with his length, there is a tremendous amount of potential here. This isn’t an undersized four.

It’s not immediately clear if the Rockets will keep the pick through the free agency period, but there is no financial incentive to move it by itself. Since the Rockets can stash Capela overseas for a year or more, there will not be a cap hit until he does come over.

For his part, Capela expects — or at least hopes — to join the Rockets this coming season.

“I want to come this year and work hard here,” said Capela, who added that the Rockets are aware of that desire.

Morey felt Capela’s development timeline to join the Rockets was “probably a little bit down the road,” but he didn’t think it would take too long.

“He already was, you could easily argue, the best big in the French Pro A League at his age,” said Morey. “His ability to rebound, he’s super athletic — I don’t think it’s too far off where he’s helping the Rockets.”

As for Capela’s assessment of himself, he said he needs to work on his “physicality and mid-range shot” but he compares his game to Oklahoma City defensive menace Serge Ibaka.

“I’m a good rebounder. I can really run the floor. I can play tough. I can do this with regularity,” said Capela.

While Capela may be a year or two away from contributing, the highlights are intriguing. You get a feel for how his length and athletic ability could have a real impact.

The Rockets also drafted Arizona guard Nick Johnson in the second round.

  • Audio: Clint Capela after being drafted by the Houston Rockets

  • Posted in Houston Rockets |