Southwest Rumors: Rockets, Gentile, Gee, Dirk

Italian wing Alessandro Gentile, whose NBA rights are held by the Rockets, is very interested in making the leap to the NBA this year now that Mike D’Antoni is the new head coach in Houston, as he tells Adrian Wojnarwoski of The Vertical. “My goal is to play in the NBA next year,” Gentile told The Vertical. “I really hope this can happen. For me, Mike D’Antoni is like a legend in Italian basketball, an example for everyone. For him to coach me would be very, very nice.”

While the Rockets have “significant interest” in signing Gentile, according to Wojnarowski, the team may wait to see what happens at the start of July’s free agent period before negotiating a deal with the 23-year-old. It’s also possible that Houston could trade his rights, if the team “becomes hesitant or financially unwilling” to lock him up — in that scenario, Gentile would still want to come stateside. “My dream is that I want to play in Houston with Mike D’Antoni,” Gentile said. “If that’s not possible, my goal is to still play in the NBA next year.”

Here’s more from out of the Southwest:

  • The Rockets don’t have a first-round draft pick this year, but general manager Daryl Morey thinks they should be able to get back into the first round if they want to. “I think it will be pretty easy to trade (our) picks into the first this year,” Morey tells Calvin Watkins of “There are four teams that have almost half the draft in the first round, and none of them wants to use their pick to trade. Trading in will be easy.” On Monday, we looked at the five teams that control 14 of this year’s 30 first-round picks.
  • The deadline for Alonzo Gee to make his decision on his player option for 2016/17 had previously been reported as June 21st, but Brett Dawson of The Advocate tweets that the Pelicans forward will actually have until June 27th to pick up or decline that option.
  • The Pelicans haven’t been shy about dealing first-round picks for veteran players in the past, and general manager Dell Demps hasn’t ruled out the possibility of doing it again with the No. 6 overall selection this year. ESPN’s Justin Verrier examines the pros and cons of trading the pick for New Orleans.
  • In the wake of a report indicating that the Warriors may attempt to court Dirk Nowitzki in free agency, Mavericks guard Devin Harris tells Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News, “I don’t think the big German is going anywhere.” Nowitzki has opted out of his contract, but is still considered likely to re-sign with Dallas.
  • Matt Bonner is eligible for free agency this summer, but the 36-year-old veteran hopes to play another year with the Spurs, as Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News details.
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