There is a more positive feeling in the Rockets locker room this year, something that team owner Leslie Alexander chalks up to the teams new additions, Calvin Watkins of ESPN.com relays. When asked if he sensed a different vibe as the team begins training camp, Alexander told Watkins, “100% — they seem happier. James Harden especially seems happier, and I think they’re all together this year. They’re all in it to win, and the guys we brought over, Nene, Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon, they didn’t win last year, and they have this tense desire to win.”
When asked what prompted him to make significant changes after Houston’s disappointing 2015/16 campaign, Alexander said, “I wanted to play a different style. I thought defensively we lacked a lot of focus, and I think we brought in a real good defensive guy [assistant coach Jeff Bzdelik], and we brought in three strong players. One of our weaknesses last year was we couldn’t shoot the ball, and we brought two good shooters in, and we changed the team dramatically.”
Here’s more from out West:
- Nuggets executive Josh Kroenke told members of the media that Denver intends to establish a D-League affiliate in the near future, Harrison Wind of BSNDenver.com tweets. “Yes, there has been a lot of dialogue about that,” Kroenke said.
- Mavericks center Andrew Bogut said that he would have asked for a buyout if he was traded to a team other than Dallas this summer, Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com relays. The Warriors reportedly gave Bogut the choice of being traded to the Mavs and the Rockets, with the big man ultimately deciding to go to Dallas. The Sixers had also reportedly expressed interest, but Golden State wanted to deal the veteran big man to a team with more realistic playoff hopes than Philly.
- The expectations for Harrison Barnes have increased since he inked a maximum salary deal with the Mavs this offseason and its a challenge the young forward will have to embrace, coach Rick Carlisle told MacMahon in a separate piece. “I talked to him [Barnes] this summer a lot about that. Bottom line is that it’s a challenge that he’s got to love to take on. The important thing is that an elevation in responsibility comes at the right rate,” Carlisle said.