Danuel House

Texas Notes: Murray, Gordon, House, Samanic

Defensive-oriented young Spurs guard Dejounte Murray overcame a tough upbringing to make the NBA and become a key part of San Antonio’s future, writes Michael Pina of Sports Illustrated in an extremely detailed profile.

Pina notes that Murray’s offensive game is a bit of a throwback, as he, like his Spurs teammate DeMar DeRozan, favors jump-shooting from the midrange over the three-point shooting that has overtaken shot profiles league-wide.

“This is my first year in the NBA being free to just, you know, play,” Murray said. “(Spurs) Coach (Gregg Popovich), he let me off the leash a little bit.

“As far as carrying the legacy on, the winning culture, yeah, I think I’m responsible for that,” Murray added. “I’m part of it. It’s a team game, but I’m a natural-born leader.” At 33-36, the Spurs currently occupy the tenth seed in the Western Conference, and are in position to appear in the play-in tournament.

There’s more out of the Lone Star State:

  • Rockets guard Eric Gordon, absent with a groin injury since March 11, will not rejoin the team for its final two games of the 2020/21 season, writes Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle“Eric was doing everything he could to come back, working out with [assistant coach John Lucas] and working out with the performance team,” head coach Stephen Silas said. “Although I would have loved to see Eric play, it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.” 
  • Rockets small forward Danuel House has been able to showcase his versatile game beyond just being a reliable long-range sniper during an otherwise frustrating Houston season, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.
  • The official Spurs injury report ahead of tonight’s Knicks game indicates that second-year power forward Luka Šamanić has fractured the fourth metacarpal in his left hand, tweets Paul Garcia of Project Spurs.

Rockets Notes: Brown, Porter, Silas, House

The incident in which Rockets guard Sterling Brown was assaulted in Miami was more serious than first reported and could get several players in trouble for violating the league’s health and safety protocols, The Athletic’s Kelly Iko and Shams Charania report. Brown was beaten up by several assailants and was hit over the head with a bottle, leaving him woozy. The assault occurred after Brown after he entered the wrong “sprinter van” while exiting a strip club.

Brown required stitching in multiple areas for his facial injuries and underwent several tests. The team initially feared he might be in critical condition.

Five or more Rockets went to the strip club early Monday, which would violate NBA protocols that prohibit players from going to bars, lounges or clubs. The league has opened up an investigation into the incident.

There’s more on the Rockets:

  • Kevin Porter Jr. stepped in to protect Brown during the incident and suffered minor injuries, Charania tweets. Porter won’t be able to play until Sunday, as he has been placed on the NBA’s health and safety protocols list.
  • The altercation is the latest off-court distraction that first-year coach Stephen Silas has dealt with this season. He says it comes with the territory, Mark Berman of Fox 26 tweets“I’m dealing as well as I can,” he said. “It’s not an easy situation, but that’s the job. That’s what I’m here for. My job is to lead us through these choppy waters.”
  • There’s still no timetable for Danuel House‘s return from a sprained right ankle, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle writes. He suffered the injury on April 5. “We’re doing a good job of rehabbing and taking our time and making sure it is handled in the right way,” House said. “The medical staff hasn’t really given me a precise date. I’m just going by rehabilitation and movements day-by-day until they give me the OK.”

Injury Notes: Holmes, Bagley, Butler, Augustin, Hayward, SGA

Kings center Richaun Holmes will miss at least three games with a strained right hamstring, writes Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. After suffering the injury in Monday’s game, Holmes underwent an MRI that revealed the extent of the damage.

He will be held out of tonight’s game against the Wizards and won’t accompany the team on a two-game road trip to face the Suns and Mavericks. Holmes is averaging 14.1 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game this season.

“We’ll see how he’s doing as we get back into town,” coach Luke Walton said. “Clearly, we’ll miss him. He’s had an incredible year for us so far and he’s a big part of what we’re trying to do.”

There are more injury updates from around the league:

  • The Kings got good news about Marvin Bagley III, who will rejoin the team Thursday in Phoenix, according to Jason Jones of The Athletic (Twitter link). Bagley has been away from his teammates while rehabbing a fracture in his left hand, and there were plans for him to return to the club when he was close to being able to play again.
  • Heat forward Jimmy Butler had an injury scare involving his ankle in Tuesday’s game, but he will be in the starting lineup tonight in Denver, tweets Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. “There’s no doubt about it, that Jimmy will always want to go,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “But we evaluated him today and he passed all the tests with the trainers and that allowed him to where we all feel comfortable, him going tonight.”
  • Rockets guard D.J. Augustin had an MRI today on his sprained left ankle, tweets Mark Berman of Fox 26 Houston. Coach Stephen Silas said Augustin is using crutches and a walking boot and has been ruled out at least through Monday. Danuel House, who hasn’t played since April 4 due to a sprained ankle, and Eric Gordon, who has been sidelined since March 11 with a groin strain, are also both expected to miss another week or so.
  • Hornets forward Gordon Hayward still has a protective boot on his strained right foot, according to Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer (Twitter link). He is expected to be re-evaluated early next month.
  • Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was projected to be out through at least mid-April with plantar fasciitis, but his condition hasn’t been re-evaluated yet, coach Mark Daigneault told Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman (Twitter link).

Rockets Likely To Trade Oladipo Before Deadline

The Heat and Knicks, two of the teams linked most frequently to Victor Oladipo, are reluctant to offer substantial packages for the Rockets guard, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). However, that doesn’t mean that Houston is considering moving the two-time All-Star for pennies on the dollar.

[RELATED: Heat, Knicks, Pistons have shown interest in Oladipo]

According to Wojnarowski, a market has developed for Oladipo, with teams offering some combination of young players and/or first-round picks. The clubs making those offers will be capped out this offseason, Woj notes, which means acquiring Oladipo’s Bird rights would be crucial to locking him up long-term. Miami and New York, on the other hand, project to have significant cap room and could conceivably sign Oladipo outright in free agency.

The Rockets appear likely to move Oladipo before this Thursday’s trade deadline, says Wojnarowski.

[RELATED: Hawks worth keeping eye on for Oladipo]

Oladipo hasn’t recaptured his All-Star form since suffering a ruptured quad tendon in 2019, but remains relatively productive, averaging 20.8 PPG, 5.0 RPG, and 4.7 APG on .411/.333/.767 shooting in 29 games (33.4 MPG) for Indiana and Houston this season. He’ll be seeking a raise on his current $21MM salary this offseason when he reaches unrestricted free agency.

Besides Oladipo, not many other Rockets players who are on the trade block are generating major interest ahead of this week’s deadline, per David Aldridge, Kelly Iko, and Danny Leroux of The Athletic. Danuel House has generated some interest, but the market for Sterling Brown and Ben McLemore appears limited.

Rockets Rumors: Oladipo, Tucker, Gordon, More

With the Rockets in the midst of a 13-game losing streak and their playoff chances dwindling, people around the NBA are wondering if general manager Rafael Stone will launch a full-scale rebuild this month in what could be a seller’s market, writes Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.

One rival scout told Fischer that he keeps hearing the Rockets will hold a “fire sale” prior to this year’s deadline, while an assistant general manager predicted that the club will “burn the house down.” Another assistant GM told Bleacher Report that Houston has been starting to call teams about deals.

The Rockets haven’t had a sub-.500 season since 2005/06 and it’s unclear whether team owner Tilman Fertitta would have the patience for a multiyear rebuild. As Fischer explains, Houston still had playoff aspirations when it traded James Harden to Brooklyn in January — the decision to flip Caris LeVert for Victor Oladipo in that blockbuster deal was made in part due to the club’s belief that Oladipo would make more of an impact in the postseason race.

However, the Rockets also have incentive not to try to fight their way back up the standings, as their first-round pick will be swapped with either the Thunder’s or Heat’s pick (whichever is worse) if it doesn’t land in the top four. Even a last-place finish won’t guarantee that the Rockets hang onto their own first-rounder, but the lower they finish, the better their odds are of hanging onto a top pick that could help them secure a long-term franchise cornerstone.

Here’s more on the Rockets:

  • Fischer suggests that if the Rockets hang onto Oladipo through the trade deadline, a sign-and-trade deal in the offseason appears to be the most likely outcome. “They’re too smart to just whiff and get nothing off of him,” a Western Conference official said. Still, getting anything of value in a sign-and-trade would hinge on Oladipo wanting to join a team that doesn’t have the cap room available to sign him outright.
  • The Sixers are on a long list of potential suitors for P.J. Tucker, according to Fischer, who says the veteran forward would welcome the opportunity to join a 76ers team led by former Rockets GM Daryl Morey. League sources tell Bleacher Report that Houston could’ve gotten a late first-round pick from the Timberwolves in the 2020 draft for Tucker, but the team will be hard-pressed to get that strong a return now, since the 35-year-old has had a down year. “If they had a first for him now, he’d already be gone,” one GM said.
  • Fischer adds that there has been a “long-whispered rumor” that the Nets and Rockets could make a swap involving Tucker and Spencer Dinwiddie. According to Fischer, wherever Tucker ends up, he’ll be looking for one last lucrative contract in the offseason, having turned down a two-year extension from the Rockets earlier in the season.
  • There’s little expectation that the Rockets will trade Eric Gordon, sources tell Fischer. However, clubs may target some of the team’s other, more affordable wings, including Sterling Brown, Danuel House, Ben McLemore, and Jae’Sean Tate.

Windhorst’s Latest: Tucker, House, Shumpert, Oubre, Ball, Butler, Lowry

The Rockets are seeking a first-round pick or three second-rounders for P.J. Tucker, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said on his latest Hoop Collective podcast. Houston was unable to reach an extension agreement with Tucker prior to the season and he has been the subject of trade rumors. He’s making a reasonable $8MM this season and will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

The Rockets’ desire to accumulate multiple second-rounders for Tucker has previously been reported but Windhorst indicates they’d want a first-rounder as an alternative. Houston already has a stockpile of first-rounders from the James Harden blockbuster.

Windhorst also divulged a number of other tidbits during his podcast:

  • Speaking of the Rockets, forward Danuel House has attracted some trade interest around the league. House is signed through next season but he has a team-friendly contract — $3.72MM this season and $3.89MM next season.
  • Iman Shumpert’s new contract with the Nets is non-guaranteed. Brooklyn filled a roster spot by signing the veteran guard over the weekend.
  • There are rumors circulating about a potential WarriorsPelicans trade involving Kelly Oubre and Lonzo Ball. The Bulls, who continue to look for a long-term solution at point guard, might also be interested in Ball, who will have a qualifying offer in excess of $14MM this offseason.
  • Heat star wing Jimmy Butler lost more than 10 pounds during his recent bout with COVID-19, something that Ethan J. Skolnick also noted last week on the Five on the Floor podcast (hat tip to Radio.com).
  • The Raptors could be in the market for a player who could jolt their offense. If Toronto doesn’t turn things around, the team might consider offers for Kyle Lowry, who could become an “interesting” rental for a contender. Lowry is headed to unrestricted free agency but his $30.5MM contract would complicate the process of moving him.

Southwest Notes: House, Eubanks, Ball, Doncic

Forward Danuel House, who has not played since January 2, returned to Rockets practice on Monday, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle tweets. House missed four games with back spasms, then was placed on the league’s health and safety protocols list. While Feigen adds that Houston will work House back in slowly, the 27-year-old said he expects to be ready to play on Tuesday, Kelly Iko of The Athletic tweets.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • Prior to the postponement of the Pelicans-Spurs game on Monday, San Antonio’s Drew Eubanks was ironically removed from the league’s COVID-19 protocols list, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express News tweets. The third-year big man has been out since January 7 due to those restrictions. He has appeared in three games this season.
  • Lonzo Ball may no longer be in the Pelicans’ long-term plans and there’s a real possibility they’ll decline their $14.36MM qualifying offer after this season, which would make him a restricted free agent, Seth Partnow of The Athletic opines. If New Orleans’ season continues to go sour, the franchise would likely prefer to trade him rather than allow the point guard to walk in free agency, Partnow adds.
  • Mavericks owner Mark Cuban will go to great lengths to keep his superstar Luka Doncic happy, as Kevin Sherrington of the Dallas Morning News details. Cuban has expressed interest in playing exhibition games in Slovenia, where Doncic grew up, and Spain, where he played for Real Madrid. The Mavs are confident that Doncic’s youth and talent will help them secure a top-level free agent during the offseason, Sherrington adds.

Rockets Notes: Harden Trade, Wall, House, Wood

The idea that Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta told general manager Rafael Stone not to trade James Harden to the Sixers – whose front office is led by former Rockets GM Daryl Morey – is incorrect, reports Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle.

Fertitta stays out of trade discussions, according to Feigen, who says that Stone and Morey had “extensive” discussions. In fact, talks on Harden advanced to the point where Stone made one final demand of the Sixers in the final stage of negotiations and would have traded the former MVP to Philadelphia if Morey had agreed.

As Feigen explains, Stone wanted one more draft pick or player – believed to be Tyrese Maxey – and less protection on the draft picks included in the Sixers’ offer. Philadelphia was unwilling to meet those demands, so Houston made a deal with Brooklyn. Morey has since told confidants that he thinks his former lieutenant Stone made a great trade, according to Feigen.

Here’s more out of Houston:

  • While some reports have suggested that Harden favored Tyronn Lue for the Rockets’ head coaching job over Stephen Silas, the team actually didn’t know which coaching candidate Harden liked best, Feigen writes in the same story. While Russell Westbrook preferred Lue, Harden never expressed a strong preference, which may have been due to his simmering desire to be traded. Westbrook and Harden both ultimately signed off on the hiring of Silas, Feigen notes.
  • Rockets point guard John Wall isn’t accompanying the team on its road trip this weekend due to a sore knee and isn’t expected back in the lineup until at least Tuesday, according to Feigen. Danuel House (health and safety protocols) also won’t play until Tuesday at the earliest, while Christian Wood (ankle) will miss at least Friday’s game in Detroit.
  • Injuries, absences related to COVID-19, and the Harden trade had the Rockets playing rotational roulette during the first month of this season, according to Kelly Iko of The Athletic, who suggests the club will ideally be able to get a better read on its roster in the coming weeks.

COVID-19 Notes: Protocols, Rosters, Beal, House

For COVID-19 tracing purposes, the NBA follows CDC guidelines, defining “close exposure” as having spent 15 or more minutes within six feet of someone who tests positive for the virus. As Tim Cato and Jared Weiss of The Athletic explain, league research has shown this doesn’t happen during games, where players don’t spend more than five or six total minutes within six feet of any one player. That’s why teams aren’t required to fully isolate following one positive test.

However, applying CDC guidelines – which are meant to cover average circumstances – to NBA games without accounting for all the extenuating factors in play may be risky, infectious disease physician Dr. Amesh Adalja tells The Athletic.

“We know that when people are engaged in athletic activity they’re often breathing faster,” Adalja said. “(It’s) more likely for more viral droplets to emanate during high intensity exercise, especially in indoor environments where people are less than six feet apart.”

As Cato and Weiss note, there haven’t been any confirmed examples of on-court transmission of COVID-19 between opposing NBA teams. If that does happen, the league may have to make some tough decisions, since applying week-long contact tracing protocols to entire squads following a positive test would make it difficult to continue playing games at all.

Here are more updates on how COVID-19 is affecting the NBA:

  • Some team executives are hoping to revisit the possibility of expanding rosters as a way to avoid COVID-related postponements, says Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times. According to Tim MacMahon of ESPN (Twitter link), the argument against adding more roster spots is that, as one exec put it: “More players means more risk.”
  • After missing Saturday’s game due to the health and safety protocols, Bradley Beal will be available for the Wizards on Monday, tweets Fred Katz of The Athletic.
  • The Rockets said today that Danuel House has been ruled out for the time being due to the league’s health and safety protocols, tweets Kelly Iko of The Athletic.
  • As the NBA considers ways to potentially tighten its coronavirus protocols, its primary areas of concern are what happens on team benches, in locker rooms, and on planes, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link).

Rockets Notes: Wood, Harden, McLemore, Martin, House, More

New Rockets center Christian Wood has been a revelation on offense in Houston so far, but in order to maximize his overall impact, he needs to become a more consistently reliable rim protector, as Kelly Iko of The Athletic writes.

“For us to be a great defense, it’s all about protection in the paint, protecting that rim,” Eric Gordon said on Monday. “If guards come down and they have to think about scoring over Christian Wood, that’s gonna help us.”

According to Iko, rebounding is also an area the Rockets will need to improve. When the team was playing micro-ball last season, its poor rebounding numbers were understandable, but those struggles have carried over to the early part of 2020/21, even with Wood and other big men now part of the rotation. Houston currently ranks 29th in rebounding percentage.

Here’s more on the Rockets:

  • While James Harden has made it clear that he wants to be traded out of Houston, he still has to prove what sort of sacrifices he’s willing to make if he wants to win a championship, writes Howard Beck of Sports Illustrated. Some executives who spoke to Beck were skeptical that the former MVP would readily change his playing style to help a new team. “James is like Allen Iverson: He wants to win his way and put up historical numbers while he’s winning,” one veteran Eastern Conference executive said. “I would never question their desire to win, but they all want to win on their terms.”
  • Ben McLemore and KJ Martin, who were self-isolating after reportedly testing positive for COVID-19, have returned to the team but are focusing on improving their conditioning and aren’t traveling to Indiana for Wednesday’s game, says Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Danuel House, who continues to be nagged by a sore back, also won’t be with the club for that game.
  • In a separate article for The Houston Chronicle, Feigen takes a look at the strong start Sterling Brown has enjoyed after signing with the Rockets as a free agent in November.
  • Kelly Iko and Tim Cato of The Athletic revisit Stephen Silas‘ days as an assistant coach with the Mavericks and explore how that position helped prepare him for his first head coaching job in Houston.