Southwest Rumors: Rockets, George, Pelicans, Grizzlies, Sharpe, Doncic

The Rockets are among the teams with interest in Paul George if he can’t work out an extension with the Clippers this week, league sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. Even though Houston is considered an unlikely destination for George, it’s an indication that the team is engaged in “big game hunting” ahead of the draft and free agency, Scotto adds.

He also hears that Rockets general manager Rafael Stone has been involved in exploratory conversations about dealing the No. 3 pick for a “win-now player upgrade” and possibly moving down in the draft.

For Houston to land George, he would have to exercise his $48.8MM player option for next season and request a trade. The organization has six recent first-round picks on its roster, along with the rights to Brooklyn’s first-rounders over the next three years.

Scotto notes that even if the Rockets don’t acquire George, they have plenty of flexibility for a major move, holding team options on Jeff Green ($8MM) and Jae’Sean Tate ($7.57MM), along with an $8MM non-guaranteed salary for Jock Landale. Houston is expected to hang onto all three of those players through their various option/guarantee deadlines, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (subscription required), who also reports that the team is open to re-signing free agent guard Aaron Holiday.

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • With Jonas Valanciunas considered likely to leave in free agency, the Pelicans are willing to trade the 21st pick in this year’s draft for center help, sources tell Scotto. Along with New Orleans, NBA executives consider the Grizzlies and Thunder to be possible destinations for Hawks center Clint Capela, Scotto adds. If the Pelicans keep their pick, Scotto sees Baylor center Yves Missi as a potential selection, comparing him to Capela as an athletic big man who should thrive in the pick and roll. Scotto also hears that the organization will target another former head coach for Willie Green’s staff if it loses associate head coach James Borrego.
  • The Grizzlies have renewed their interest in Nets backup center Day’Ron Sharpe after holding talks with Brooklyn at the trade deadline, Scotto states. He adds that Memphis considered making an offer for forward Dorian Finney-Smith before the Nets acquired him at the 2023 deadline. In his aggregate mock draft, Scotto suggests the Grizzlies might take Tennessee shooting specialist Dalton Knecht as a potential replacement for Luke Kennard, who has a $14.8MM team option for next season and is considered a possible trade candidate.
  • Mavericks star Luka Doncic has joined the Slovenian national team and plans to participate in an Olympic Qualifying Tournament July 2-7 in Greece, according to NBA reporter Marc Stein (Twitter link).
View Comments (11)