David Nwaba

Rockets Rumors: Gordon, Wood, Wall, Theis, Nwaba, Augustin

The Rockets have received multiple trade offers for veteran shooting guard Eric Gordon, but have turned them down, according to Kelly Iko of The Athletic. Iko suggests that unless they get an offer that “simply can’t get ignored,” it’s becoming more plausible that the Rockets will simply hang onto Gordon through the trade deadline.

Houston is in the early stages of a rebuild and Gordon is having his best shooting season as a pro, with career highs in FG% (.506) and 3PT% (.452) — the time seems right to make a deal. However, Iko says the team admires how Gordon carries himself on and off the court and believes he’s a positive influence on Houston’s young players, so there’s no rush to ship him out.

It still seems possible that Gordon will be on the move by February 10 if a potential trade partner meets the Rockets’ reported asking price of a first-round pick. But if Gordon remains in Houston, the club will have more opportunities to trade him before his contract expires — he’s owed a $19.6MM guaranteed salary in 2022/23 and a $20.9MM non-guaranteed salary in ’23/24.

Here’s more on the Rockets:

  • Unless they’re blown away by an offer, the Rockets will likely hang onto Christian Wood through the trade deadline, says Iko. Sources tell The Athletic that the Heat have been one of the most “persistent” teams that has engaged with Houston in conversations about Wood.
  • Although the Rockets have received some inquiries about John Wall, his contract makes a trade unlikely, and most teams that have registered interest continue to simply monitor the situation rather than actively pursuing the point guard, Iko writes. The Clippers expressed genuine interest earlier in the season, sources tell The Athletic, but their goals as the deadline approaches are unclear. I’d be pretty shocked if the Clippers sought a trade for Wall.
  • With no guarantees that the Rockets will make a trade involving Gordon, Wood, or Wall, Iko indicates smaller deals around the edges are more likely. Daniel Theis, David Nwaba, and – to a lesser degree – D.J. Augustin – have all drawn some interest, Iko reports.

Southwest Notes: Jackson, Nwaba, Zion, Luka

The lucrative four-year, $105MM rookie extension that power forward Jaren Jackson Jr. signed this week with the Grizzlies is very much predicated on his ceiling. Evan Barnes of the Memphis Commercial Appeal details why he considers the agreement mutually beneficial to both sides in a new piece. A big reason: the contract will decrease in value every season once it kicks in, which will give Memphis room to further bolster the roster.

“I’m locked in, I’m blessed, I’m happy I get to be here and be around people I love,” the 6’11” big man said of the deal and his chemistry in Memphis. “It’s a good experience.”

Due to Jackson’s extensive injury history, the agreement contains injury protection related to his left knee, but it only applies to the last year of the deal (for 2025/26), a source informed John Hollinger of The Athletic.

There’s more out of the Southwest Division:

  • Following two injury-plagued years, Rockets swingman David Nwaba is relishing his good health heading into the 2021/22 season, writes Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. Nwaba suffered an Achilles injury in December 2019, and then a right wrist injury in February of this year that ultimately required surgery. “Hopefully, just take care of my body for the length of this season,” Nwaba said of his hopes for the year. “I think we’ve had a lot of improvements on the defensive end.” All told, the 28-year-old has been healthy for just 50 of his past 144 games with Brooklyn and Houston.
  • Thanks to an uncertain recovery timeline for the injured foot of All-Star power forward Zion Williamson, the Pelicans have already proved frustrating to fans ahead of the 2021/22 season, opines Scott Kushner of the NOLA.com. Williamson and team president David Griffin made it seem like the former No. 1 pick could be back in time for the beginning of the year, but it appears that the team was either too hopeful or being deliberately disingenuous, Kushner says.
  • Mavericks All-Star point guard Luka Doncic expressed his excitement about the club’s development ahead of the 2021/22 season, according to Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News. “I think we’re playing great, sharing the ball,” Doncic said of the team’s 4-0 preseason showing. “Especially on the defensive end, we’ve been way better, and I think that’s the key for us.” 

Contract Details: Clippers, THT, Ball, Nwaba, Bembry, Raptors

After reporting over the weekend that the Clippers used about $3.9MM of their taxpayer mid-level exception to sign Justise Winslow, ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Instagram video) confirmed today that the team used the leftover portion of that MLE to sign second-round picks Jason Preston and Brandon Boston Jr. to three-year deals, with Preston getting a little more than the rookie minimum.

Keith Smith of Spotrac shares those salary figures down to the dollar, tweeting that Winslow’s first-year salary is $3,902,439 while Preston’s is $1,062,303. Combined with Boston’s rookie minimum of $925,258, those three salaries add up to exactly $5.89MM, the amount of the taxpayer mid-level exception.

Here are a few more details on new contracts from around the NBA:

  • While Talen Horton-Tucker‘s three-year deal with the Lakers was initially said to be worth $32MM, the year-by-year breakdown provided by Smith works out to a total of $30.78MM (Twitter link).
  • Lonzo Ball‘s four-year deal with the Bulls also came in slightly lower than expected, according to Smith, who says it has a base value of $80MM, with $1MM in annual unlikely incentives (Twitter link).
  • David Nwaba‘s three-year, $15MM contract with the Rockets has two fully guaranteed seasons followed by a third-year team option, according to Marks (Instagram video).
  • DeAndre’ Bembry‘s minimum-salary deal with the Nets has a partial guarantee of $750K for now, tweets Smith. That number will increase to $1.25MM on December 15 before becoming fully guaranteed in January.
  • Blake Murphy of The Athletic (Twitter links) shares some Raptors contract details, reporting that Gary Trent Jr.‘s deal has a base value of $51.84MM, with $250K in annual unlikely incentives. Murphy adds that Ishmail Wainright got a $250K guarantee in 2021/22 – plus a $125K guarantee in ’22/23 – on his minimum-salary contract, while Yuta Watanabe‘s minimum-salary deal is now partially guaranteed for $375K. Watanabe would get his full guarantee if he makes the regular season roster.

Rockets Sign David Nwaba To Three-Year Contract

AUGUST 8: The Rockets have officially signed Nwaba, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle.

AUGUST 2: The Rockets have agreed to a three-year, $15MM contract to retain athletic free agent wing David Nwaba, reports Marc Stein of Substack (Twitter link).

The journeyman Nwaba, 28, has suited up for several clubs after going undrafted out of California Polytechnic State University in 2015. Though not much of a jump shooter, Nwaba proved his prowess on the other end of the floor, during promising stints with the Lakers, Bulls, and Cavaliers.

20 games into his lone season with the Nets, Nwaba suffered a season-ending right Achilles tendon tear in December 2019. After being waived by the Nets, Nwaba signed a two-year deal with the Rockets ahead of the 2020 Orlando “bubble” season restart. The Rockets then exercised their $1.82MM team option on the small forward/shooting guard before the 2020/21 season.

He finally returned to action for the tanking Rockets during the 2020/21 season, and seemed none the worse for wear. Across 30 games, including nine starts, Nwaba averaged 9.2 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 1.0 APG, 1.0 SPG, and 0.7 BPG in just 22.6 MPG.

Houston will be Nwaba’s first long-term NBA home, the first club for which he has played for longer than one season, though he has technically been on the Rockets for portions of two seasons already.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

David Nwaba Opts For Surgery On Wrist

Rockets swingman David Nwaba has decided to undergo right wrist surgery, according to coach Stephen Silas, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle tweets.

The surgical procedure would likely sideline Nwaba for approximately six weeks. Nwaba originally sprained his wrist in a February 28 game, but he tried to tough it out with so many of his teammates unavailable due to injuries.

Nwaba re-aggravated the wrist injury on Sunday against Boston, which put surgery back on the table. Nwaba has appeared in 30 games this season, averaging 9.2 PPG and 3.9 RPG. He’s playing for his fifth team in as many seasons.

Houston picked up its $1.824MM option on Nwaba in November. He was signed to a two-year deal prior to the restart. He began last season with the Nets but suffered a torn Achilles tendon in December and was waived shortly thereafter.

Southwest Notes: J. Johnson, Rockets, Nwaba, DeRozan

Mavericks forward James Johnson, who left the team over the weekend to attend a personal matter in Wyoming, missed a mandatory COVID-19 test and will be sidelined due to the health and safety protocols until he registers a certain number of negative tests, head coach Rick Carlisle said on Tuesday, per Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News.

Johnson is now back in Dallas, but he won’t be active for any of the Mavericks’ three remaining games this week, according to Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News, who tweets that the earliest the veteran forward could be cleared is for the March 24 contest against Minnesota.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • In the latest episode of The HoopsHype Podcast, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype and Kelly Iko of The Athletic previewed the Rockets‘ trade deadline, discussing possible suitors for Victor Oladipo and P.J. Tucker, as well as other players who could be available. Iko believes Ben McLemore could be had for a second-round pick and suggests that Christian Wood is the closest thing to an untouchable player on the roster.
  • David Nwaba decided to forgo wrist surgery and play through the injury for the shorthanded Rockets, but he reaggravated the issue a couple games ago, putting surgery back on the table, according to head coach Stephen Silas, who said Nwaba is “probably going to be out for quite a bit” (video link via Mark Berman of Fox 26 Houston).
  • Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan will miss a fourth consecutive game on Wednesday for personal reasons, per Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News (Twitter link).
  • Although the Pelicans suffered a brutal loss in Portland on Tuesday night, the decision to expand the rotation has served the team well, giving New Orleans’ young players a chance to see more minutes, writes Scott Kushner of NOLA.com.

Rockets Notes: Porter, Nwaba, Tucker, Silas

Kevin Porter Jr. has been one of the few bright spots in a miserable season for the Rockets, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Porter has been spectacular in his first two games since being recalled from the G League, averaging 20.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 9.0 assists.

Houston acquired Porter for a conditional second-round pick in January after he wore out his welcome in Cleveland due to off-court issues. He was a small forward with the Cavaliers, but the Rockets have shifted him to point guard after having him experiment with the position with Rio Grande Valley.

“He does have like a sereneness to him,” said coach Stephen Silas. “He is just composed for a young kid, doesn’t get too high, too low, That’s a steadying influence on the rest of the group, When you have the guy who has the ball in his hands most of the time, which it was (Friday) for him, to kind of play in that manner and not get rattled by a run by the opposing team or a turnover or a bad play, just kind of have the next play mentality, it’s pretty cool for a young guy to be that way. He’s played two games for us. We’re not going to overstate anything. But we think we got something there.”

There’s more from Houston:

  • David Nwaba was projected to have an extended recovery time after straining his wrist in a February 28 game, but he asked to play Friday because so many of his teammates are unavailable, Feigen states in a separate story. Surgery has been recommended, which would sideline Nwaba for six weeks. “Dave came up to me and was like, ‘I’m injured, but it’s hard for me to sit over there and watch when we’re so low on bodies and we’re so decimated and we’re in foul trouble. And even though I’m not 100 percent, maybe I can give a little bit,’” Silas said. “To hear that was definitely gratifying. That tells you a lot about him as a competitor and him as a person and him as someone you want in your group.”
  • The absence of P.J. Tucker, who isn’t playing while the Rockets try to work out a trade, has put more strain on a team already dealing with numerous injuries, Feigen notes in another piece. Houston signed guard Mason Jones to a 10-day contract so it would have enough active players for Friday’s game.
  • The Rockets will use their 24th starting lineup in 37 games Sunday, Feigen adds. The injuries and lack of continuity have played a large role in the team’s 15-game losing streak. “The sooner we can get to the point we know what our starting lineup is going to be, what our rotation is going to be off the bench, the better it will be for the group,” Silas said. “Obviously, it hasn’t been like that all season.”

Eric Gordon Expected To Miss 4-6 Weeks With Groin Strain

The Rockets continue to be hit hard by the injury bug, with shooting guard Eric Gordon the latest player to be ruled out. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Gordon is expected to miss approximately the next four-to-six weeks due to a moderate right groin strain.

Gordon strained his groin during the Rockets’ loss to Sacramento on Thursday night. He was listed as out for Friday’s game vs. Utah and had been scheduled to undergo an MRI today to assess the severity of the injury.

Gordon, 32, has had a fairly solid season for the Rockets, despite all the obstacles the team has faced so far in 2020/21. He’s averaging 17.8 points per game on .433/.329/.825 shooting in 27 games (29.2 MPG).

As Wojnarowski points out (via Twitter), Gordon would have been a trade candidate at this month’s deadline. Given his injury, he now looks like a safe bet to finish the season in Houston. The veteran guard remains under contract for three more seasons after this one, though his salary in that third year is non-guaranteed.

The Rockets signed Mason Jones to a 10-day contract earlier today to help fill the gap at shooting guard created by Gordon’s injury.

In addition to Gordon and P.J. Tucker, who is expected to be traded, Houston is missing Christian Wood (ankle), John Wall (knee), David Nwaba (wrist), Danuel House (knee), Dante Exum (calf), and Rodions Kurucs (oblique). The hope is that some of those players will be able to return soon.

David Nwaba To Undergo Wrist Surgery, Out 6 Weeks

Rockets wing David Nwaba is set to undergo wrist surgery and will miss a minimum of six weeks of game action, head coach Stephen Silas announced today (link via Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle).

Nwaba strained his wrist while dunking in a lopsided 133-84 loss to the Grizzlies this past Sunday.

The absence of Nwaba is yet another blow to the reeling Rockets, losers of a league-worst 12 games in a row. Nwaba will join starting center Christian Wood and reserve guard Dante Exum as the third Rockets player to be currently sidelined with a long-term injury.

In 28 games for the Rockets, Nwaba has proved a valuable role-playing contributor. The 28-year-old swingman, an athletic defender out of California Polytechnic State University, is averaging 9.4 PPG (a career high) and 3.7 RPG.

Rockets Notes: Cousins, Wood, Wall, Nwaba

DeMarcus Cousins showed flashes of his All-Star days when Christian Wood missed three games with a sprained right ankle in January. He’ll get a much longer chance to prove he can still be effective as a starter now that Wood is sidelined with a more severe injury, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle.

Wood has been listed as week to week after spraining the ankle again Thursday in Memphis. Until he returns, the under-sized Rockets will rely heavily on Cousins, who is the only other true center on the roster. Pressed into starting duty last month, the four-time All-Star averaged 17.3 points, 14.3 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game.

“Obviously, that helped me with my confidence going through this season,” he said. “I mean, it’s unfortunate what happened to C-Wood. I’m going to come in and do my job. That’s really all I can do, play my part and help us get another W in the win column.”

There’s more from Houston:

  • The Rockets aren’t offering a firm estimate of how much time Wood might miss, so Kelly Iko of The Athletic talked to Dr. Rajpal Brar, a physical therapist and sports scientist at 3cB Performance. “Really hard to tell severity just based on video,” Brar said. “However, if the Rockets are saying it’s a weekly eval, it’s my inclination that it’s a Grade 2 tear without any fracture (the fact he walked off was a very good indicator of the latter). Grade 2 is typically 2-3 weeks. Grade 3 is 4-6.” 
  • John Wall has claimed leadership of the Rockets since James Harden was traded to Brooklyn last month, tweets Mark Berman of Fox 26 in Houston. “I feel like I’m the franchise guy now that James has left,” Wall said. “You very rarely get the opportunity to be a franchise (guy) in two different cities and two different teams. … I feel like that’s my job, to be the leader of this team.”
  • David Nwaba is listed as questionable for tonight against the Spurs, and the Rockets are optimistic that he’s close to returning after missing the past three games with a sprained left ankle, Feigen adds in a separate story. “He has been doing his treatment, has been working on it,” coach Stephen Silas said. “… He’s definitely moving in the right direction.”