Rockets GM Daryl Morey confirms that the team has waived James Anderson and Tim Ohlbrecht, tweets Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. The team also renounced its rights to Francisco Garcia and Earl Boykins, Feigen notes via Twitter, but that's just a procedural move in Garcia's case. Renouncing Garcia's $9.15MM cap hold clears space necessary for the Rockets to finalize their other moves this summer before they officially re-sign Garcia to the cheaper two-year, $2.6MM deal they've agreed upon.
Anderson and Ohlbrecht were each about to enter the second year of a three-year minimum-salary deal with the Rockets, but the final two seasons were non-guaranteed for both players, so Houston clears them completely off its books. Anderson was the 20th overall pick in the 2010 draft, but the Spurs declined to pick up the third-year option on his rookie-scale contract, making him a free agent last summer. He spent training camp with the Hawks, re-signed with the Spurs early in the season, and wound up with the Rockets in January after San Antonio let him go. Ohlbrecht was undrafted out of Germany, but Houston picked him up in February in the hopes that the 6'11" center could develop into a frontcourt contributor. Neither he nor Anderson played an integral role for the Rockets this past season.
The Rockets declined their $6.4MM team option on Garcia last month, but the team was still stuck with his hefty cap hold until renouncing his rights today. The team could have made that cap hold disappear simply by formalizing the agreement on Garcia's new contract, but perhaps the club intends to use its cap room to bring aboard Dwight Howard and the rest of its free agent bounty first, and squeeze Garcia's deal in using part of the $2.652MM room exception. The $884,293 cap hold for Boykins, who didn't play in the NBA in 2012/13, was simply a placeholder, so it's no surprise the Rockets renounced him.
Dwight Howard opened up this weekend about his parting with the Magic, in advance of Orlando's meeting with the Lakers last night, and he talked about his willingness to change teams if that's what the pursuit of a championship requires. John Denton of Magic.com interprets that comment to mean D12 might be willing to leave the Lakers as a free agent next summer, but it seems more logical that Howard was referring to his departure from the Magic. Either way, there's plenty of room for pessimism about this year's Laker team, which takes an 8-9 record on the road for seven of its next eight games. Here's more from around the Association:
- Injuries to other Timberwolves have thrust rookie Alexey Shved into a prominent role, and the Russian guard is surprised at how quickly NBA success has come, writes Ray Richardson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
- Wolves coach Rick Adelman believes Shved will eventually become a mainstay in the backcourt alongside Ricky Rubio, as Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune documents.
- HoopsWorld's Steve Kyler, who noted earlier that the Hornets are not shopping Ryan Anderson, says the team isn't looking for an immediate solution to its troubles this season, preferring an approach predicated on draft picks and cap space (Twitter link).
- Earl Boykins, linked to the Mavericks last week before they signed Derek Fisher, has been working out in Denver and is in great shape as he awaits interest from teams, according to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link).
- DaJuan Summers, who last played in the NBA with the Hornets in 2011/12 and was a training camp invitee of the Bobcats, has signed to play with the Maine Red Claws of the D-League, tweets Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com, who notes the Red Claws let go of Brian Cusworth.
The Mavericks, who've been linked to Derek Fisher, are looking for a veteran point guard, reports Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News, who mentions Fisher and Earl Boykins as possibilities. He also identifies Gilbert Arenas as a long shot, though it's unclear whether Arenas can get out of his one-year deal in China. Dallas is without Darren Collison, who has a sprained middle finger, for tonight's game against the Bulls, and there's no word on how long he'll be sidelined.
The Mavs would have to let someone go to make a signing, though Troy Murphy, whom the team added at the beginning of the month, is presumed to be on a non-guaranteed deal. They have $1,974,509 of their room exception available if they want to dole out more than the minimum salary.
Fisher will reportedly decide on a team by Thursday, having narrowed his choices to three finalists, which have yet to be revealed. There hasn't been much buzz surrounding the 36-year-old Boykins since he finished up last season with the Rockets, but he did rack up a 17.6 PER in 15.1 minutes per game for the Bucks in 2010/11. For a complete look at all the available point guards, check out the Hoops Rumors list of free agents.
Let's catch up on the latest news and happenings from around the league as Sunday's afternoon action gets underway…
If the postseason began today, the Southwest Division would boast the greatest number of playoff participants, with four. The Spurs can clinch the division title in the next few days, while the Grizzlies, Mavericks and Rockets scramble for favorable seedings behind them. Even the lowly Hornets have gotten positive news lately, as Eric Gordon has returned from injury and new owner Tom Benson is already providing stability. Here's the rest of what's up around the Southwest:
- Earl Boykins' second 10-day contract with the Rockets expires after today, but indications are the Rockets will sign him for the rest of the season, reports Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. He practiced with the team today and boarded a flight to Denver ahead of Sunday's game with the Nuggets (Twitter links). Keep tabs on all the 10-day deals with our tracker.
- Speaking with Harvey Araton of the New York Times, Tim Duncan said he doesn't understand why players change teams simply to get to a larger market, and said none of the league's young superstars have sought his advice on becoming a franchise fixture as he has with the Spurs.
- Boris Diaw speaks fondly of his time in Phoenix to Tim Griffin of the San Antonio Express-News as the Spurs and Suns prepare for a possible preview of a first-round matchup tonight. Diaw, who signed with the Spurs after being bought out by the Bobcats, is a free agent this summer.
The Rockets have re-signed Earl Boykins to a second 10-day contract, tweets Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. Houston won't need to make a corresponding roster move to make room for Boykins, whose first 10-day deal expired last night.
There was no doubt the Rockets would be re-signing Boykins. The only question was whether it would be for another 10 days or the rest of the season. The Rockets are currently tied for the seventh seed in the Western Conference, so I imagine if they're still in the thick of the playoff race, they'll retain Boykins when this deal expires. This just gives them another 10 days to make their final decision.
Boykins, 35, has played 16.1 minutes per game in his five contests with Houston, averaging 6.4 points and 3.0 assists per game.
Home to both the Western Conference's second-best record (Spurs) and worst record (Hornets), here's the latest news from the Southwest Division.
- In an interview with Sportal.it, Hornets shooting guard Marco Belinelli stated his desire to finish his career in the NBA rather than return to Europe to play in Italy, reports Sportando's Emiliano Carchia. While the Hornets have struggled since trading Chris Paul to the Clippers in December for a package headlined by Eric Gordon, Belinelli has flourished this season thanks to his ability to stay healthy. The former first-round pick has seen his minutes increase to over 30 per game leading to a scoring average of 11.8 PPG.
- Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle says the Rockets are expected to re-sign Earl Boykins on Thursday to either another 10-day contract or for the remainder of the season (via Twitter). Feigen tweets the Rockets will presumably sign him for the rest of the season with a non-guaranteed contract for next year, which may not be of interest to a veteran like Boykins. The former Eastern Michigan guard, 35, is averaging 6.4 PPG and 3.0 APG in five games with the Rockets.
- David Stern says the Hornets are in serious negotiations with three different ownership groups and hope to soon have a future TV deal in place as well, tweets Brian T. Smith of The Salt Lake Tribune.
With the Mavericks in action in Orlando and the Rockets hosting the Grizzlies, here is a look at some links from the Southwest division:
- Tim Griffin of the San Antonio Express-News provides some interesting Spurs tidbits centering on how the international play of Patrick Mills and Boris Diaw helped to lead the two recent additions to San Antonio.
- NBA sources have told Fox 26 in Houston that the Rockets are likely to retain guard Earl Boykins and forward Malcolm Thomas after their 10-day contracts expire, tweets Mark Berman. Boykins signed his contract on March 26 and Thomas signed his on March 27.
- Ian Thomsen of Sports Illustrated thoroughly examines the state of the Hornets franchise, which is expected to be sold by the NBA in the coming weeks in a deal that will keep the team in New Orleans until at least 2024. Thomsen says the Hornets are headed towards profitability and he also delves into the vetoed Chris Paul trade.
- Jason Terry's comments aside, there was some other news after the Mavericks Thursday night loss in Miami. ESPN Dallas' Tim MacMahon writes that Lamar Odom has shown signs of effectiveness lately for Dallas. With Delonte West back in the lineup, the duo could provide a much needed boost down the stretch.
The Rockets and Earl Boykins have agreed to terms on a 10-day contract, tweets Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports. Houston had a pair of open roster spots, and won't need to make a corresponding move to make room for Boykins.
Boykins, 35, told Jorge Sierra of HoopsHype last month that he was talking to a couple teams and hoped to find a deal soon. The Rockets will be the tenth team Boykins has played for in 13 NBA seasons. Although the 5'5" guard hasn't played in the NBA yet this year, he appeared in 57 games for the Bucks in 2010/11, averaging 7.2 points and 2.5 assists in 15.1 minutes per game.
Three games behind the surging Knicks in the Eastern Conference playoff picture, the Cavaliers have a vastly different roster than they did a week ago heading into the final stretch of the season. They'll play host Sunday afternoon to the Hawks amidst a full slate of NBA action. Let's take a look at what The News-Herald's Bob Finnan has to say about the current state of the Cavaliers in the wake of what was a busy trade deadline for the club.
- Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak is very pleased to have been able to acquire Ramon Sessions from the Cavaliers for a first-round pick projected in the mid-20s. "In terms of the draft picks, I don't think we could've found a Ramon Sessions if he were available in the 20s this year in the draft," Kupchak said.
- The Cavs' decision to cut Jason Kapono wasn't a premeditated move by the team but rather a numbers game given that the Cavs needed to find a roster spot for Manny Harris. As part of the Sessions trade, the Lakers provided the Cavs with enough money to cover the cost of waiving Kapono.
- Much of the criticism surrounding what the Cavaliers received from the Lakers stems from Luke Walton's $6.1MM contract for next year. The hefty price tag for adding a first-round pick hasn't deterred Cavs head coach Byron Scott from feeling optimistic about the team's standing heading into the draft. "I'm very excited about what we did as far as getting another first-round pick, which is very exciting for us to go along with the one we have and our two second-round picks," Scott said. "So, like I said in the short term and in the long term, it was the best thing for us to do and we feel pretty good about it."
- If the Cavs didn't resign Harris, they would have seriously considered adding Earl Boykins to the mix. Boykins, 35, was serviceable last season with the Bucks where he averaged 7.2 PPG in limited action.