Thursday’s trade for point guard Tyler Ennis is a sign of the new approach that coach Mike D’Antoni wants to bring to the Rockets, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Ennis was acquired from the Bucks in exchange for veteran forward Michael Beasley. While Beasley is a volume shooter and productive scorer, Ennis thrives in running an offense, particularly the pick-and-roll. Feigen sees the deal as a sign that Houston is moving away from the one-on-one philosophy that has marked the team through much of the James Harden era.
There’s more news out of Houston:
- D’Antoni sounded confident that power forward Donatas Motiejunas will be re-signed, Feigen tweets. The restricted free agent has been in a contract impasse with the Rockets all summer, with no movement other than the team submitting a qualifying offer. That offer will expire October 1st if Motiejunas doesn’t accept it. Last week, B.J. Armstrong, the agent for Motiejunas, charged that the Rockets have yet to make a serious offer. Feigen adds that GM Daryl Morey refused to say much about the Motiejunas negotiations at Friday’s media day.
- After missing almost his entire rookie year with back problems, Sam Dekker is ready to make up for lost time, Feigen writes in a separate piece. The 22-year-old combo forward said he felt “really good” today after the first practice of the new season and he hopes his physical problems are in the past. The 18th pick in the 2015 draft, Dekker managed just three games and six minutes for the Rockets last season. “I’m a guy that can come in and add energy, add a spark,” Dekker said. “There is a lot I can bring to the table. I’ve been able to show that this summer. I’m looking to keep improving that. I feel much better than I did last year in terms of mentally. The game has slowed down and I know the nuances of the NBA style of basketball. I’m looking to make a splash.”
- The Rockets are counting on Clint Capela to improve his game to compensate for the loss of Dwight Howard, relays the Associated Press. The Rockets also signed Nene to provide frontcourt help, but they are counting on Capela to handle most of the work. “Clint is going to have to take a big step forward and it’s not an easy step,” Morey said. “To go from playing 15-20 minutes against often not the starting center to playing 25-plus minutes against front-line guys, that’s a big step forward. It’s more physical. It takes a big toll on your body to do that night-in and night-out.”