Eric Gordon

Lou Williams Wins Sixth Man Award

Lou Williams career year earned him the league’s Sixth Man of the Year award, it was announced at the NBA’s annual awards show. The 31-year-old Clippers guard easily beat out the other finalists, the Rockets’ Eric Gordon and the Raptors’ Fred VanVleet.

Williams had always provided instant offense off the bench during his career but he turned it a couple of notches this past season. He easily surpassed his previous scoring standards by averaging 22.6 PPG while dishing out 5.3 APG, another career best. Williams shot 43.5% from the field and 35.9% on 3-point attempts in 79 games in 19 career starts.

Williams scored 30 or more points in 17 games and blew up for a career-best 50 points against the Warriors on January 10th. Gordon won the award in 2017 while Williams was one of the finalists.

Mavs Optimistic About Signing DeMarcus Cousins

The Mavericks believe they have a strong chance of signing DeMarcus Cousins in free agency, according to Michael Scotto of The Athletic. Cousins, coming off a season-ending Achilles tendon injury, will be an unrestricted free agent next month. While the Mavericks’ interest in Cousins has previously been reported, Scotto’s story suggests the Mavericks are ready to make him a hefty offer to lure him away from the Pelicans. If the Mavs pass on Texas big man Mohamed Bamba with the No. 5 pick, that would reinforce the notion they’ll go all in to secure the services of either Cousins or the Rockets’ restricted free agent center, Clint Capela.

Scotto also has several other notable items to pass along:

  • The Sixers discussed the possibility of packaging the No. 10 and 26 picks, along with last year’s top pick Markelle Fultz, to move into the top five of the draft with Michael Porter Jr. as their target. However, lingering concerns over Porter’s back have cooled their interest in making that move.
  • Tobias Harris expiring contract is part of the package the Clippers are dangling to move up in the lottery. They have back-to-back picks at Nos. 12 and 13.
  • The Hawks are trying to make a deal with the Clippers or Nuggets (No. 14) in order to nab Miami (Fla.) guard Lonnie Walker IV. They are looking to package their picks at Nos. 19 and 30.
  • The Nets are dangling point guard Spencer Dinwiddie and the No. 29 pick in order to move into the middle of the first round.
  • The Rockets have received calls on guard Eric Gordon and could move him in order to get a mid-first-rounder.

Chris Paul Won’t Play In Game 7

7:13pm: Paul has a Grade 2 strain, Ramona Shelburne of ESPN tweets. The same injury cost Harden nearly three weeks of action earlier this season.

6:24pm: Chris Paul will not play in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals tonight, Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated tweets. Coach Mike D’Antoni told reporters the bad news during his pregame press conference.

It’s obviously a serious setback for the Rockets but not unexpected. Despite frantic efforts to get him ready to play, Paul simply did not have enough time to recover from his hamstring strain.

“There’s just no way. He couldn’t explode. He couldn’t push off on it,” D’Antoni said, according a tweet from Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.

Paul suffered the injury late in the Rockets’ Game 5 victory on Thursday. Without him, the Rockers will rely heavily on Eric Gordon along with James Harden to run the attack in a seven-man rotation.

Houston obviously missed its star point guard during a second-half collapse Saturday that resulted in a 29-point loss in Game 6. The Rockets were outscored 64-25 after halftime.

The Warriors will also be without one of their key players, as swingman Andre Iguodala was declared out for the fourth straight game earlier in the day due to a left knee injury.

Paul has posted a 21.1/5.9/5.8 stat line through 17 postseason games with Houston. He is in the final year of the contract he signed with the Clippers, and reaching a new deal will be among the Rockets’ priorities this offseason.

Finalists For NBA Awards Announced

The top three finalists for each of this year’s NBA awards are being released on tonight’s TNT pre-game show. The trophies will be presented June 25 at the league’s official awards show.

Here’s an ongoing list that we will update as the candidates are announced, along with links to our staff’s picks for each honor:

Rookie of the Year

Hoops Rumors Analysis: ROY

Most Improved Player

Hoops Rumors Analysis: MIP

Sixth Man of the Year

Hoops Rumors Analysis: Sixth Man

Coach of the Year

  • Dwane Casey (Raptors)
  • Quin Snyder (Jazz)
  • Brad Stevens (Celtics)

Hoops Rumors Analysis: COY

Defensive Player of the Year

Hoops Rumors Analysis: DPOY

Most Valuable Player

Hoops Rumors Analysis: MVP

Southwest Notes: Aldridge, Gay, Gordon, Finney-Smith

A Spurs team that has been without Kawhi Leonard for most of the season has nonetheless been able to remain in playoff contention. LaMarcus Aldridge has been largely responsible for that — once labeled a bust of a free agent signing, Aldridge has stepped up as a clutch leader for San Antonio, Mike Finger of the San Antonio Express-News writes.

“He’s basically carried us and everybody else him with his talent and everybody else with their heart,” head coach Gregg Popovich said. “The game goes along, goes along, and then you realize that his heart is as big or bigger than anybody’s.

Aldridge, in his third season with the Spurs, is also in the midst of his best season since departing from Portland. In 66 games, he’s averaging 23.1 PPG 8.4 RPG, and 2.1 APG. Without Aldridge’s production, the Spurs — who recently fell out of playoff contention — would likely not still be in the hunt. His coaches and teammates recognize and appreciate his productivity in a time of need.

“We are not the most talented team in the league,” veteran Manu Ginobili said. “He is the one with the real resources.”

Check out more Southwest Division notes:

  • Rudy Gay escaped from the Kings to join the Spurs and chase a championship. San Antonio is in the postseason picture and Gay, who has played in just one playoff series in his career, wants to help the team, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News writes. “I don’t know how they do it, to be honest,” veteran Tony Parker said of players who annually miss the postseason. “I’ve been in eight conference finals, so it’s kind of weird all those guys. But [Rudy Gay] got a great opportunity now with us and we will try to make the most out of it.”
  • Injuries to both Chris Paul and James Harden have given Eric Gordon an opportunity to be the Rockets‘ fill-in starting point guard. Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle relays that Gordon likes the opportunity the injuries created for him. “I like it that way,” Gordon said. “It expands my game more. To me, it’s tougher to determine what I’m going to do when I have the ball in my hands more. If you’re a good playmaker and a good scorer and you have the ball in your hands more, you have a chance to do good things. I do pretty well when I’m the backup point guard.”
  • Dorian Finney-Smith served as a starting shooting guard for the Mavericks in order to get both him and Doug McDermott into the lineup, Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News writes.“If you don’t start [Finney-Smith] at 2 or McDermott at 2, then somebody’s going to get really screwed on minutes,” head coach Rick Carlisle said. “And we need to see both of those guys play because they’re both good players. 

James Harden Out At Least Two Weeks

Rockets star guard James Harden will be sidelined at least two weeks with a Grade 2 hamstring strain, the club announced in a press release.

Harden suffered the injury on Sunday in a 148-142 double-overtime victory against the Lakers in which Harden posted 40 points and 11 assists. The release said Harden will be re-evaluated after the two-week period, which suggests he could require another week or more to get back in action.

Harden is enjoying another stellar season, averaging 32.3 PPG, 5.0 RPG and 9.1 APG. The Rockets snapped a five-game losing streak on Sunday and they are now two games behind the Warriors for the top spot in the Western Conference. Harden’s injury naturally decreases their chances of regaining the top spot.

In his absence, Eric Gordon and Chris Paul will have to take a bigger share of the scoring load. It also means an increased role for recently-signed Gerald Green.

Rockets Pursuing Paul George, Carmelo Anthony?

The Rockets’ acquisition of Chris Paul is now official, but the team may not be done dealing yet. According to Tim MacMahon of ESPN (Twitter link), a source tells him that the Rockets “think they are getting” Paul George or Carmelo Anthony.

Houston has been mentioned several times as a possible landing spot for George, who has made it clear he wants to leave Indiana. However, it remains to be seen whether the Rockets have enough assets to outbid rival suitors for George. Houston parted with young players (Sam Dekker, Montrezl Harrell), affordable veterans (Lou Williams, Patrick Beverley), and their 2018 first-round pick in today’s Paul trade. That doesn’t leave a ton of trade chips to offer the Pacers — a team like the Celtics would certainly be able to outbid Houston if they go all-in for George.

Still, the Rockets have shown in the past that they’re willing to be aggressive in trade talks for stars, even without a long-term commitment from that player. And according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle, Houston would have “no qualms” about trading for George with one season left on his contract.

Although George’s preference is to sign with the Lakers in 2018, Sam Amick of USA Today writes that the Pacers forward “won’t close a window of opportunity.” According to Amick, if George were traded to the Cavaliers, he’d be open to the idea of re-signing with Cleveland in ’18 if LeBron James sticks around. If the Rockets were to acquire George, perhaps the team could pitch him on a multiyear run with Paul and James Harden.

As for Anthony, Ian Begley of notes (via Twitter) that Paul was telling people a few days ago he’d like to play with Carmelo. Anthony’s situation is up in the air, particularly with Phil Jackson no longer in the picture in New York, but sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (Twitter link) that if the Knicks do decide to part with the standout forward, they still intend to trade him rather than buy him out.

If the Rockets were to trade for George or Anthony, they’d have to send out a sizable contract in the deal. Ryan Anderson ($19,578,455 salary in 2017/18) is the most obvious trade candidate on the roster, but Indiana native Eric Gordon ($12,943,020 salary in ’17/18) could be an interesting option in talks with the Pacers.

Eric Gordon Wins Sixth Man Award

Rockets guard Eric Gordon was named the league’s Sixth Man of the Year, which was announced on TNT’s awards show Monday night.

Gordon averaged 16.2 PPG and 2.5 APG in 75 games for one of the league’s most potent attacks. The oft-injured Gordon never appeared in more than 64 games in his five seasons with the Pelicans franchise before signing with Houston last summer as a free agent.

Teammate Lou Williams and the Warriors’ Andre Iguodala were the other finalists. Only one member of the Hoops Rumors staff chose Gordon as his top pick.

NBA Reveals Award Finalists

The NBA is in the process of revealing its finalists for each of the major year-end awards on TNT, the winners of which will be announced at the official award show on June 26.

Below is an ongoing list that we’ll update as the NBA on TNT crew reveals more.

Most Improved Player of the Year
Giannis Antetokounmpo
Rudy Gobert
Nikola Jokic

Hoops Rumors Analysis: MIP

Sixth Man of the Year
Eric Gordon
Andre Iguodala
Lou Williams

Hoops Rumors Analysis: Sixth Man

Rookie of the Year
Malcolm Brogdon
Joel Embiid
Dario Saric

Hoops Rumors Analysis: ROY

Coach of the Year
Mike D’Antoni
Gregg Popovich
Erik Spoelstra

Hoops Rumors Analysis: COTY

Defensive Player of the Year
Rudy Gobert
Draymond Green
Kawhi Leonard

Hoops Rumors Analysis: DPOY

Most Valuable Player of the Year
James Harden
Kawhi Leonard
Russell Westbrook

Hoops Rumors Analysis: MVP

Southwest Notes: Lowry, Ferrell, Rockets, Mills

Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry likely tops the Mavs’ list of point guards on the free agent market, according to Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News. Lowry confirmed after the Raptors were eliminated by the Cavaliers in the playoffs that he would opt of his contract. A solid, experienced point guard would be preferable to drafting one next month, Sefko continues, even though the team is undergoing a youth movement. Jeff Teague and Jrue Holiday are also potential targets during the offseason, Sefko adds.

In other news around the Southwest Division:

  • Yogi Ferrell will remain on the roster unless the Mavs get lucky in free agency and have a shot at either Stephen Curry or Chris Paul, Sefko writes in a separate mailbag. In that scenario, Dallas would have to clear as much cap space as possible. Otherwise, the coaching staff believes that Ferrell can turn into a sparkplug in the mold of J.J. Barea, Sefko continues. Veteran guard Devin Harris would be the first player let go if the Mavericks need to clear cap space, Sefko adds. Harris’ $4.4MM contract for next season is not guaranteed.
  • Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni will likely stick with smaller lineups and force the Spurs to adjust in the wake of Nene Hilario‘s season-ending injury, Sam Amick of USA Today reports. With Nene suffering a groin tear in Game 4, the Rockets downsized and buried the Spurs with a flurry of 3-pointers. It’s a good bet that forward Ryan Anderson will be replaced in the starting lineup by guard Eric Gordon, a strategy D’Antoni employed in the second half on Sunday.
  • Unrestricted free agent point guard Patty Mills could enjoy a big payday this summer, according to Mike Finger of the San Antonio Express-News. Tony Parker‘s serious quad injury could make Mills the Spurs’ top priority this offseason. They own his Bird rights and can thus offer Mills more than any other team, Finger points out. Mills provides scoring and energy off the bench, as Manu Ginobili has delivered for so many years, Finger adds.