Rockets Trade Camby To Knicks

The Rockets have traded 38 year old veteran center Marcus Camby to the New York Knicks in a sign-and-trade, Adrian Wojnarowski reported earlier.

The Rockets will receive guard Toney Douglas (contract paid by the Knicks), Josh Harrellson, Jerome Jordan, and second-round picks in 2014-15. Camby agreed to a three year $13.2 million deal via the sign-and-trade.

Though Camby is 38 years old, the Knicks have sent a clear “win now” message by acquiring the veteran big man. The Rockets on the other hand have completely transformed the roster in search for an identity that they have not had in years.

According to John Hollinger, “Rockets now have six non-guaranteed contracts and Livingston’s partial, totaling $7 mil in confederate money to use in trades.”

Obviously the Rockets have set themselves up for movement, and have not surrendered the rebuild flag yet. Douglas is a talented combo guard, but has been criticized heavily by Knicks fans for his inconsistencies. After losing Kyle Lowry, and Goran Dragic, the Rockets will gladly keep Douglas around.

Harrelson is a 6’10 275 pound big man who has shown signs of life. He certainly doesn’t solve the problem at center for the Rockets, but that’s easier said than done.

Jordan is a 7’0 big man that has yet to see any significant time in the NBA. He has been bounced around the D-League and overseas continuously. Jordan has lots of work to put in before he sees any serious time on this roster, but he could be a nice piece down the line.

Wojnarowski recently tweeted, “The Rockets refuse to give up on the Dwight Howard derby, gathering more assets to try and entice the Orlando Magic to engage in talks.”

The Rockets have been relentlessly involved in the “Dwight Derby,” and no matter how tired people are with the never ending “Dwight-mare,” the Rockets will continue to test the Magic’s patience.

Wojnarowski also excited Rockets fans when he tweeted, “Among Bynum’s short list of potential free agent landing spots in 2013, Houston is prominent with Dallas and Cleveland, sources tell Y!”

If the possibility of Dwight is slipping, then Bynum is not a bad consolation prize. Bynum is just 24 years old and would give the Rockets another big center to build around for years to come. Bynum’s knees have been an issue, but the Rockets are very familiar with taking a risk on a big man.  Bynum is an unrestricted free agent after 2013, but time will tell what the immature center will decide.

The bottom line for general manager Daryl Morey still remains finding a foundation player.

“When you’re close and have a foundational piece, you should be willing to give up picks and overpay players, whatever it takes while you have that precious foundation to get better,” Morey told the Houston Chronicle. “When you don’t have a foundational piece to build around, you should do every move in reverse, which is how does each move get us closer to getting a star, how does it get us more cap room, how does it get us more high picks and how does it get us more players with potential.”

The Rockets have acquired a plethora of players through trades that will likely be cut. Two specific contracts that involve Omer Asik, and Jeremy Lin are still on hold until the moratoriums comes to an end. That means the team will have to clear roster spots for those two guaranteed rotational players if they are eventually acquired.

The Rockets currently sit in uncertainty. With so many players lost, and so many random ones gained, the team must sift through the cluster. One thing the front office has made clear; they aren’t finished wheeling and dealing. If a superstar deal is approachable, the Rockets will be first in line.

Rockets Finally Forced To Rebuild?

What do Chase Budinger, Samuel Dalembert, Goran Dragic, Courtney Lee, and Kyle Lowry all have in common? None of them will be wearing a Rockets jersey next season.

The Rockets have finally blown up a team that hasn’t made the playoffs in three years. The team tried to trade picks and assets multiple times for a superstar prospect, and it just never panned out. Many would say it was an unrealistic way of getting better, and that’s the truth. The Rockets unlike most teams in the league, belated the inevitable in a classy manner. The team would fight hard against better teams, and would often prevail with a feel good victory.

While those teams would head into the tunnel with a bad regular season loss, they knew they would likely be in the playoffs. For the Rockets it was a proud regular season win, with a very predictable conclusion looming.

Why did the Rockets wait this long? The track record on owner Leslie Alexander does not normally involve the word “rebuild.” Alexander has always been an ambitious owner, and at times has looked stubbornly unrealistic. While general manager Daryl Morey may have advised Alexander that this process we are using is unrealistic, Alexander is the boss, and what he says goes. Three years later the Rockets find themselves as the team that can’t get anyone interested.

The next thing to question for this team is the commitment to accept rebuilding. Is the Dwight Howard chase really finished? The Rockets may have shipped out key role players in various ways, but you can never quite accept that the journey of acquisition is over for this team.

What fans need to keep in mind is the Rockets had a core roster of role players. Not one player on the roster was untouchable, and while Morey made verbal promises on bringing them back, the climate quickly changed.

Now the Rockets are stacked with young talent, but how those players translate into the NBA level is still a mystery. One thing is certain; the Rockets are still looking for a franchise player. That is the one universal goal that will not change.

A quick rundown on how each player was moved. Chase Budinger was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for the No. 18 pick in the draft. The Rockets drafted Terrence Jones from Kentucky with that pick. Samuel Dalembert and the Rockets No. 14 pick was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for the No. 12 pick, Jon Brockman, Jon Leuer, and Shaun Livingston. The Rockets drafted Jeremy Lamb, and many are hoping he is a star in the making. The Rockets also added versatile forward Royce White with the No. 16 pick.

After the draft frenzy wrapped up, free agency hit, and man did it hit! The Rockets once again attempted to scour the market for a superstar. They made a significant offer to big man Omer Asik, met with restricted guard Eric Gordon, and even brought back “Linsanity,” for a visit.

Jeremy Lin is still mulling his contract offer from the Rockets, but all credible sources report that the Knicks will match any deal given to Lin. It is also rumored Jason Kidd has decided on joining the Knicks. Kidd would certainly not be a long term solution for the team, but a great tutor for Lin to improve as a point guard.  So essentially the Rockets are trying, but will likely not acquire Lin but instead make the financial lives of the Knicks a pain. (That’s something I guess.)

While the hunt for a superstar continued, the Rockets backcourt took a massive hit. It was like a blob of Wite-Out spilled, and the backcourt that once consisted of Kyle Lowry and Goran Dragic was gone. Dragic signed a 34 million/4 year deal with the Suns, taking his talents back to where his predecessor once played. Only difference now is, Nash is with the Lakers, and Dragic will run the show. Lowry was also traded to the Toronto Raptors for forward Gary Forbes, and a protected future first round pick. The Rockets and Raptors had been chatting about a Lowry deal for weeks, but could not swing the deal in time for the Rockets to move up in the draft, and grad the Raptors No. 8 pick. Not only have the Rockets lost Dragic and Lowry, but you can add swingman Courtney Lee into the mix. The Rockets decided to pull the qualifying offer they gave to the restricted guard, and released him to the free agency stratosphere.

Whew, did you digest all of that?

Multiple questions now loom around this franchise. Are the Rockets finally rebuilding? Will veterans Kevin Martin and Luis Scola be next on the chopping block? Who will be the starting point guard? Who will be the starting center?

It’s not the offseason we all hoped for, but it may be a large dose of reality finally sinking in. While “Red Nation” has a mini panic attack, the Rockets will likely be focusing on cultivating the youth on this roster, instead of trying to cultivate something that never really existed.

Rockets Make Offer To Omer Asik

Multiple sources have confirmed the Rockets have offered a three-year, $25.1 million dollar deal to Chicago Bulls free agent center Omer Asik.

Free agents are unable to sign an offer sheet until July 11, but the Bulls will have three days to match the restricted free agents offer, or will face losing him to the Rockets.

The Rockets are currently without a center, and would be filling a desperate need by adding a defensive oriented big man. Asik’s stats don’t justify this expensive offer, but it’s all about the defense. His defensive awareness is above average, and his toughness will make a huge difference in the paint for the Rockets.

The Rockets clearly offered a financially friendly deal to the Asik camp, knowing that they needed to put pressure on the Bulls to match. The Rockets have been in pursuit of Asik for a couple of years, but when rumors surfaced the Bulls wanted guard Courtney Lee in the package, deals fizzled out.

The contract offered is what they call the “Gilbert Arenas” provision. A loophole that lets the back-end of a contract be inflated. In this case Asik would reportedly make $15 million in the last year of his contract. For more information on the “Gilbert Arenas” provision you can visit http://www.cbafaq.com/salarycap.htm#Q44 and as always Larry Coon the salary cap extraordinaire will break it down for you.

While many are skeptical with the money being offered, and Asik’s ability to make a difference, the Rockets have no bigger need than a defensive center. This is Daryl Morey being as proactive as a general manager can be in sports. The Rockets aren’t bad enough to build through the draft, and aren’t good enough to win at a high level with the current structure they have. Take those two factors into consideration, and realize the Rockets do need to spend money in order to move forward. That’s the position this team is in, and unless a major change of direction occurs, the Rockets will have to pay up, and get better through trades and free agent signings.

The Bulls will have an important decision to make, and we will know by July 14 the latest, if Omer Asik is a Chicago Bull, or a Houston Rocket.

Rockets Strike Fast In Free Agency

The NBA free agency is officially underway. Though teams can’t sign players until July 11th, verbal commitments are now allowed.

Daryl Morey, the Rockets general manager wasted no time in his quest to find a center. He immediately tweeted; “Meeting w/Omer Asik in a few minutes — tell him how much you want him to be in Houston! He will see your msg live – include #Asik2Houston.”

While many Rockets fans responded resoundingly with the #Asik2Houston hash tag, others were quick to call out the obvious, was this now considered the game changing move for the Rockets? A center that averaged 3.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1 block per game last season, would somehow be the big free agent singing that would move the Rockets forward?

As the night progressed it was reported the offer would hover around the 8 million dollar mark, which many agreed was pricey for the big man. It is important to keep in mind that centers are a rare commodity in the NBA. Many mediocre centers are overpaid, but because the market demands it, teams are willing to make the investment.

Take for example DeAndre Jordan, a gifted and athletic big man who has raw talent. Jordan became a coveted free agent last season, and joined “Lob City,” which made perfect sense considering his best attribute is dunking the basketball. DeAndre’s astronomical salary ($10,532,977, $10,986,550, $11,440,123) set the bar for players like Asik, who will be expecting a substantial amount from the Rockets. Asik is a restricted free agent, so the Bulls are in control of his destiny depending on if they are interested in overpaying for the center.

The advantage the Rockets hold is that they don’t have a single center on the roster. Morey can make a strong pitch to Asik with money, and guaranteed starting playing time. The Rockets are still interested in retaining Marcus Camby’s services, but at 38 years of age, you can only ask for so much from the “Camby man”.

Asik won’t make this team a contender, but he will alleviate the desperate need at center for the Rockets.

Chris Broussard has reported that restricted free agent guard Eric Gordon will be visiting Houston on Monday. Gordon is seeking a max 4-year $58 million dollar deal sources say. Eric does have health issues, but has proven when healthy he is all-star material. It’s likely the Hornets will match any contract offered to Gordon, but the Rockets as promised will make a strong pitch towards Gordon.

Pau Gasol rumors have continued to surface, and the Rockets still seem to be associated with the Spaniard. It has been reported the team will likely keep Kevin Martin who has an expiring contract, shop Kyle Lowry who has a friendly contract, and continue to shop Luis Scola who has gotten heavy interest from the Brooklyn Nets.

With the draft over, and multiple holes in the roster, the Rockets have some major readjusting ahead. Morey has never been a GM that sits on his hands, but it’s now time to make a significant splash, and move this team forward.

Rockets Unable To Land An Established Star

The Rockets, who were wheeling and dealing players for picks, used each and every pick they acquired in the 2012 NBA Draft.

While most fans were hoping for a franchise changing trade, the Rockets instead drafted shooting guard Jeremy Lamb with the 12th pick, followed by combo forwards Royce White and Terrence Jones with the 16th and 18th picks on Thursday night.

While all three have loads of potential, the general consensus was the team remained mediocre; after rumors stirred that the Rockets were in the hunt for Dwight Howard.

For Rockets fans the team is in an interesting situation. While the NBA Draft is used to acquire some of the best college basketball players in the world, the Rockets were looking for an established superstar instead. After all three picks were announced; fans realized that the Rockets used the draft for its original purpose.

“They’re trying to do something that very few teams try to do in the NBA, which is stay pretty good, and then go from pretty good to great,” Jeff Van Gundy said. “A lot of team’s tank to get high lottery picks, Houston is trying to do it different, and I applaud them for it.”

Fans weren’t the only disappointed ones; head coach Kevin McHale acknowledged the fact that an established superstar would have been just what the team needed.

“There were a lot of things in the hopper,” McHale told the Houston Chronicle. “There were a lot of different things we were looking at. Ideally, it would have been nice to pull off a trade that would have helped the team immediately.”

Jeremy Lamb averaged 17.7 points for Connecticut, giving the Rockets a shooting guard for the future. This pick makes Kevin Martin even more expendable, as Courtney Lee is a restricted free agent and will likely be back for the Rockets. Martin has an expiring contract that should help alleviate the challenges of moving him elsewhere.

Lamb has work to do in the gym, and must focus on improving his defensive game to be successful in the NBA.

Royce White might the most intriguing player in this year’s draft. White struggles with an anxiety disorder, and has a sketchy past which he openly admits.

Though these problems exist, White knows he’s defeated them and feels like the Rockets sent him a strong signal of confidence by drafting him with the 16th pick.

“I’m just happy the Houston Rockets took me when they didn’t have to,” White admitted. “I do have a lot of red flags in my history that could have kept me out of that 16th spot or out of the first round in general. I’m glad they took that chance on me.”

The uniqueness in Royce’s game is his passing ability. For a combo forward, Royce has great court vision, and above average speed at the position. The Rockets are stockpiled with forwards, but given the time, Royce may be the one to break free from the pack.

The forward frenzy continued as the Rockets decided they could not pass up on sophomore Terrence Jones, a 6’9 forward who averaged 12.5 points, and 7 rebounds per game. Jones has a 7-2 wingspan, and brings a unique blend of athleticism and versatility to the court.

The Rockets claim they will keep all three rookies, but history has shown that the front office will not be afraid to pull the trigger if a trade that involves a star is on the table. The main thing to remember here is the Rockets drafted three versatile players who can be packaged in various combinations.

If the Rockets are still pursuing a superstar, which they are, then you can be sure these young guys will be involved.

The team is log jammed at the forward position, while the same can’t be said at center. They currently don’t have a center, and while Marcus Camby has vowed to return, he is 38 years old. Camby’s minutes will be limited, making it imperative for the team to fill a desperate need. The Rockets have now been rumored to be interested in restricted free agent Omer Asik, who they have pursued in the past.

Owner Les Alexander is not disappointed in how the night turned out, and wants to make it clear that the team is not sitting still, but instead evolving into a real contender.

“The emphasis is always to try to be as great as we can every year,” Alexander said. “It doesn’t change. It’s not like this year my thoughts are any different than any other year – zero difference.”

Alexander also came to the defense of Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, who many believe is on the hot seat.

“I think Daryl (Morey, Rockets general manager) has done a terrific job,” Alexander said. “Why would I want to change? I’m always getting that question for some reason. They expect him to get LeBron James tomorrow. That’s not happening.”

While Morey is respected by many across the city, fans are growing impatient with the small fish acquisitions, and are ready for Morey to hook a big fish. Morey has made valiant efforts ever since accepting the job as Rockets GM, but as each rumor passes, reality bites the dust.

Alexander was very pleased with the players that were acquired, but finished his comments by acknowledging the team needed a superstar to succeed.

“We still can be players in free agency, too,” Alexander said. “We’ll do something in free agency.”