Lakers coach and former Knicks boss Mike D'Antoni was a little thrown by Amare Stoudemire's recent assertion that he was never taught defense before this year, as Newsday's Al Iannazzone documents. D'Antoni, who coached Stoudemire in New York and Phoenix, said he didn't think Stoudemire meant to be malicious, but still found the comment "mind-boggling" and implied that Stoudemire threw him and his assistant coaches with the Knicks under the bus. Here's more from around the Eastern Conference.
Gary Forbes signed to play in China this year for the Zhejiang Guangsha Lions, but he still has his eyes set on an NBA contract when the CBA season is over, agent Greg Nunn informs HoopsHype. The 6’7” forward was one of the last cuts by the Rockets at the end of training camp. The Chinese season ends in February, so there will be plenty of time for Forbes to return to the NBA if any team shows interest.
Forbes, 27, spent the last two seasons with the Nuggets and Raptors, respectively, after going undrafted out of UMass in 2008. He spent time in Italy, Israel and the D-League before making the Nuggets out of camp in 2010. He signed a two-year, $3MM contract with the Raptors after the lockout, but was sent to Houston in the Kyle Lowry deal. The contract was fully guaranteed for 2012/13, but the Rockets waived him when the James Harden trade left them with more guaranteed contracts than available roster spots.
MONDAY, 2:27pm: The Rockets have waived Forbes and Brockman as well, according to Mark Berman of FOX 26 Houston (via Twitter).
SUNDAY, 12:11pm: The team has waived Johnson, according to his agent, Kevin Bradbury, Mark Berman of FOX 26 reports (Twitter link).
11:20am: The Rockets are expected to waive Gary Forbes, Jon Brockman and JaJuan Johnson on Monday, reports Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). All three have fully guaranteed salaries, with two more cuts necessary to get down to the regular-season roster limit of 15 by Monday's 4:00pm Central time deadline.
Forbes is set to make $1.5MM, Johnson $1.089MM, and Brockman $1MM this season, all of which the Rockets would have to pay regardless of whether they're waived. Houston has three players with partially guaranteed contracts, but no one on a non-guaranteed deal.
Perhaps the most surprising training camp cut was Quentin Richardson, whom the Magic waived despite $5.438MM worth of guaranteed money on his contract for the next two seasons. The surprising play of DeQuan Jones, who appears to have made the team on a non-guaranteed deal, pushed Richardson out the door, writes John Denton of Magic.com. There's plenty of other news about players coming and going today, in advance of the 4:00pm Central time deadline for teams to let go of camp invitees so that they clear waivers before rosters must be down to 15 players.
THURSDAY, 2:38pm: The pick going to the Rockets will be top-three protected in 2013, top-two protected in 2014 and 2015, and top-one protected in 2016 and 2017, tweets Jerome Solomon of the Houston Chronicle. Solomon adds that if the pick isn't in the lottery, the Raptors will keep it until the next season. If the pick doesn't meet these criteria for five seasons, Toronto's 2018 first-rounder will be sent to Houston no matter where it lands.1:41pm: The pick headed to Houston will be protected "both ways," says Jonathan Feigen (via Twitter). So the Rockets won't get it if it's too high in the lottery, but also won't be forced to take it if it's too low in the first round.
1:30pm: The Raptors and Rockets are working on something "innovative" involving the first-rounder headed to Houston, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. My guess is that it could involve reverse protection -- for instance, if the pick falls outside of the top 10, Toronto keeps it, and if it's in the top 10, it's sent to the Rockets. That's just my speculation though.
1:05pm: The Raptors have agreed to send a first-round pick to the Rockets for Kyle Lowry, according to ESPN.com's Chris Broussard (Twitter link). Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reports that the first-rounder will likely be a lottery pick, and is part of a package (Twitter links).
After heading into the offseason with one affordable young point guard under contract and another one entering free agency, the Rockets have parted ways with both players. When Goran Dragic agreed to a contract with the Suns yesterday, it appeared Houston may hold on to Lowry, even though he had publicly expressed displeasure with his situation in Houston. But now the team has apparently turned its point guard focus to Jeremy Lin, who is expected to be re-signed by the Knicks.
For the Raptors, who missed out on Steve Nash, Lowry is a younger, more affordable alternative. The 26-year-old, who averaged 14.3 PPG, 6.6 APG, and 18.9 PER in 2011/12, is under contract for two more years for about $12MM total. As Zach Lowe of SI.com tweets, it's one of the more attractive non-rookie contracts in the NBA.
ESPN.com's Marc Stein (via Twitter) first reported that the two sides were "on the verge" of an agreement, after reporting yesterday that Toronto was still making a push for Lowry. Chad Ford of ESPN.com notes (via Twitter) that the Rockets tried to acquire the Raptors' 2012 first-rounder in a deal for Lowry, since they were targeting Andre Drummond or Austin Rivers. The pick in the trade figures to come in the 2013 draft, which will have a weaker class.