The latest news and notes from around the NBA on Saturday evening:
A roundup of the latest news and notes from around the NBA on Tuesday evening:
While the Los Angeles clubs stood pat and the Suns and Warriors only made small moves at the deadline, it was the Kings that were the Pacific Division's most active team, completing a six-player trade with the Rockets on Wednesday night. We have a couple links related to Sacramento's deal, as well as the rest of the latest items out of the Pacific:
A complete recap of trades that were completed before Thursday's trade deadline:
The Rockets have finalized a pair of deals they agreed upon Wednesday night, sending Marcus Morris to the Suns for a second-round pick and trading Patrick Patterson, Cole Aldrich, Toney Douglas and $1MM to the Kings for Thomas Robinson, Francisco Garcia and Tyler Honeycutt. The second-rounder heading to Houston is Phoenix's own 2013 selection. The Suns, who were at the roster limit of 15 players going into the trade, waived Luke Zeller to make room for Morris.
Houston was reportedly deciding between a pair of deals for Morris, whom the Rockets held out of their win against Oklahoma City on Wednesday. With Houston's top two power forwards gone, it looks like a pair of rookies, in Robinson and Terrence Jones, will man the position as the team fights to hold on to the final playoff spot in the West. One of the motivations to trade Morris was to free up time for Jones, according to HoopsWorld's Steve Kyler.
As Grantland's Zach Lowe points out via Twitter, the pair of moves will save Houston approximately $1.6MM for next season if they decline their option on Garcia. Lowe surmised earlier that Houston would look to cut between $1.5MM and $2MM to clear room for a max deal to land Dwight Howard, who'll be a free agent this summer. The Rockets also get the No. 5 overall pick from this past June's draft in Robinson, who's seen just 15.9 minutes per game as a reserve for the Kings this year. Nonetheless, Robinson is grabbing 4.7 rebounds in his limited action, which would extrapolate to 10.6 rebounds per 36 minutes.
Sacramento had appeared unlikely to make a deal as their ownership situation remains in limbo, but they flipped Robinson for two expiring deals and Patterson, who will enter the final season of his rookie contract next year. The move was all about cost-cutting and not something the Kings current management wished to do, tweets Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports. The Chris Hansen/Howard Ballmer group from Seattle that has a deal in place to buy the Kings was briefed on the trade before it went down, according to fellow Yahoo! Sports scribe Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). It's unclear exactly where the directive to make the trade came from, though SB Nation's Tom Ziller indicated Wednesday night that co-owner Gavin Maloof and Geoff Petrie are the driving forces in the Kings front office at the moment.
The Suns considered trading a first-round pick for Morris when the Rockets drafted him 14th overall in 2011, but wound up nabbing him for a second-rounder, currently projected to be the 35th overall selection. Now the power forward will reunite with his twin brother, Markieff Morris, whom the Suns took 13th overall in 2011. With the next pick that year, the Rockets drafted Marcus.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (All Twitter links) initially broke the news of both trades. Sam Amick of USA Today (All Twitter links) and TNT's David Aldridge (Twitter link) contributed additional details.
As the hours tick down to tomorrow's 2:00pm Central trade deadline, Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News is already starting to look ahead to free agency, and he writes that the Cavaliers believe they could make a longshot bid to sign Dwight Howard. That one seems hard to believe, and even Lawrence intimates that it's a little far-fetched. Still, the Cavs were reportedly in the mix for Andrew Bynum last year, and they'll have plenty of cap space this summer, so I suppose it's not entirely out of the realm of possibility.
In the meantime, there's more on potential deadline deals, and here's the latest:
Most around the league are surprised by the Kings' involvement in a cost-cutting deal that sent away Thomas Robinson, the fifth pick of this past June's draft this evening, Grantland's Zach Lowe hears (Twitter link). It's just the fifth time a team has traded a top five pick in his rookie season, ESPN Stats and Info tweets. The Kings weren't expected to be involved in any deals as their ownership situation is resolved, but ultimately they didn't hesitate to jump in at the last moment. Here's more on that trade and from around the West as the hours tick down until tomorrow's 2:00pm Central time deadline:
The Rockets are deciding between a pair of deals, and that's why they've made Marcus Morris inactive for tonight's game, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Grantland's Zach Lowe speculates that whatever deal Houston makes will cut $1.5MM-$2MM from next year's cap figure so the team can fit in a max deal for soon-to-be free agent Dwight Howard (Twitter links). Rockets coach Kevin McHale said earlier today he'd be "shocked" if the team made a deadline move, as Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle wrote, but when Feigen asked McHale this evening why Morris was inactive, the coach said, "Talk to Daryl," in reference to GM Daryl Morey (Twitter link).
HoopsWorld's Steve Kyler hears Morris is being traded to make room for Terrence Jones, whom we heard this morning the team is open to moving. A deal that would send Jones out is unlikely unless it brings back a major piece, according to Kyler.
If a deal goes down, it would be the sixth straight year that Morey and the Rockets have made a deadline move. Houston is currently 29-26 and in the last playoff spot in the Western Conference. It would be somewhat surprising to see them open up space for a rookie like Jones as they compete for a postseason berth. Lowe believes that, in addition to cap space, the Rockets are looking for a deal that makes them better in the short term than not.
With this season's deadline still three months away, the trade market likely won't be too active for at least a few more weeks. However, as Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld writes, things could start to pick up on December 15th, when most players who signed over the summer are eligible to be dealt. Kyler looks at a few specific trade candidates in his latest piece, so let's round up the highlights....
12:01pm: McCants has received word that the Rockets officially picked up Patterson's option, tweets Berman.
11:55am: Rockets GM Daryl Morey has informed Patrick Patterson's agent, Odell McCants, that Houston will be exercising its 2013/14 option on Patterson, tweets Mark Berman of FOX 26 Houston. The fourth-year option will pay Patterson about $3.11MM in '13/14.
In addition to Patterson's option, the Rockets still have decisions to make this week on two more players for 2013/14. Cole Aldrich has a team option worth about $3.25MM, while Marcus Morris has a third-year option worth about $1.99MM. Houston initially had five pending option decisions, but the team waived JaJuan Johnson and Lazar Hayward, choosing not only to turn down next year's options on both players, but removing from the roster immediately.
To keep tabs on all the offseason's 2013/14 option decisions, check out Hoops Rumors' tracker.