Southwest Notes: Howard, Lawson, Green, Barnes

Rockets interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff called recent trade rumors surrounding the team “noise” and untrue, but he’s nonetheless thankful for them because he feels they’ve brought the locker room together, observes Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. Corey Brewer, ineligible to be traded until January 15th but already reportedly one of the subjects of talks with the Suns, pointed directly at rumors surrounding Dwight Howard.

“You just laugh,” Brewer said, according to Feigen. “It was easy to blow it off. C’mon. Everybody knows Dwight is not unhappy. He comes in here every day smiling. He’s joking around. Him and James [Harden], I don’t see any animosity. We’re just like, “Whatever.’ We didn’t pay any attention. We’re trying to win games.”

See more on the Rockets amid the latest from the Southwest Division:

  • Ty Lawson‘s minutes have been dwindling and the Rockets are reportedly cooperating with his representatives to try to find a new home for him, but he told Mark Berman of Fox 26 Houston today that, “More than anything I just want to be in the mix with the team” (Twitter link).
  • Danny Green has shot poorly from the outside this season, and Gregg Popovich has berated him on the sidelines, as he is wont to do, but Green isn’t thinking about his offense or feeling pressure from the four-year, $40MM contract he signed in the offseason, as Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express-News details. “You’re expected to perform every night at a high level on any team when they sign you to a contract like that,” Green said. “But on this team, not so much. We’re all playing together. We’re all playing well. Pressure? Not as much as you think it is, especially here [where] they make it easy and encourage you. Just keep playing. Keep shooting. Keep doing what you do.”
  • Trade acquisition Matt Barnes has proven an asset during a season of uncertainty for the Grizzlies, as Chris Herrington of The Commercial Appeal observes in his Pick-and-Pop column. Now a starter, Barnes is rebounding and hitting 3-pointers at better rates than Jeff Green is, Herrington notes. Both Barnes and Green are poised for free agency at season’s end.

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