The remaking of the Rockets started not with the acquisition of James Harden but the hiring of coach Kevin McHale, writes Beckley Mason of ESPN.com. In a lengthy piece that examines Houston's philosophy, Mason points to Josh Smith and Andrew Bynum, the two free agents he sees as most likely to change teams in the offseason, as the sort of players the Rockets don't usually target. Yet fellow ESPN.com scribe Amin Elhassan, in an Insider piece, pegs Smith as a perfect fit in Houston. Elhassan looks at ideal destinations for four other marquee free agents, and as many teams start to ponder the summer in the last days of the regular season, here's the latest from around the Association:
- Damien Wilkins' minimum-salary deal with the Sixers is up at the end of the season, but the 33-year-old tells Lang Greene of HoopsWorld that he has no intention of retiring and wants to play until he's 40 (Twitter link).
- Spanish point guard Sergio Llull is considering heading to the NBA at some point but still has unfinished business with Real Madrid, as he tells Eurosport (translation via HoopsHype). The Rockets own his NBA rights.
- The Hornets will look for a small forward and depth in the draft this year, tweets Jim Eichenhofer of Hornets.com.
- Scouts generally see center Alex Len as a project, but they haven't been thrown by his up-and-down play for Maryland this season, valuing his athleticism and shooting range, according to Don Markus of The Baltimore Sun.
- The rosters are out for this year's Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, which features college seniors, and Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com analyzes the field. Only four players within Givony's top 100 are taking part, led by No. 45 prospect Solomon Hill.