The Rockets have “kicked the tires” on trade scenarios involving Markieff Morris and Ryan Anderson, though it doesn’t seem likely they’ll deal for either, writes Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. It’s clear the team has shopped Terrence Jones and K.J. McDaniels, though Rockets sources label such talk as routine and due diligence, Kyler adds. Sources told Marc Stein of ESPN.com earlier this month that the Rockets were interested in Morris and would likely give up Jones to get him. The Pelicans would consider giving up Anderson for Morris, according to Adrian Wojnarowski and Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports, but New Orleans is not anxious to trade him, Kyler wrote earlier this month. McDaniels has appeared for a total of only 39 minutes this season after signing a three-year, $10MM deal in the offseason. See more from around the Southwest Division:
- Rookie scale contracts will look “like gold” as the salary cap escalates and their dollar values remain the same, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said to Zach Lowe of ESPN.com in the offseason, a signal that the team knows it must replenish its youth, Lowe writes. Dallas is turning away any teams interested in trading for Justin Anderson, this year’s 21st overall pick, sources tell Lowe.
- Kawhi Leonard won the Defensive Player of the Year award last season, and after signing a five-year max deal to stay with the Spurs in the summer, his defense has improved even further, Spurs coach/executive Gregg Popovich acknowledged, as Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News relays (Twitter links).
- The Pelicans have been slow to pick up the ball movement principles in new coach Alvin Gentry‘s offense, observes John Reid of The Times Picayune. New Orleans struggled with injuries throughout the preseason, keeping players from the opportunity to learn the new system. The Pelicans have the NBA’s third-worst record, though that puts them in prime lottery position, as our Reverse Standings show.