Gerald Green

Free Agent Stock Watch 2018: Houston Rockets

The Rockets committed to a certain title contention window when they traded half of their roster in exchange for Chris Paul. The deal has paid dividends considering that the addition of the future Hall of Famer has taken the franchise from solid Western Conference team in a world dominated by the Warriors to a legitimate championship contender.

For that reason, the Rockets will head into the summer with one primary goal: bringing Paul back. If, or perhaps when, that happens, the club will go about filling out the rest of the roster, likely retaining several of the rest of their pending free agents and filling out the lineup with journeymen on minimum deals.

Trevor Ariza, 33, SF (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $32MM deal in 2014
There are few intangibles guys better suited to complement the current Rockets core than Ariza but that doesn’t mean general manager Daryl Morey will overextend the franchise to keep him on-board. Fortunately, he may not have to. While Ariza has serious value as the starting small forward on a very competitive roster, he’s not the type of asset that rebuilding teams would pursue given his age and the price tag may be too steep for another contender, desperate to plug him in alongside their current core. Unless a lottery team foolishly dumps a pile of money on his doorstep, Ariza will be back in Houston in the $10MM range for as long as the club’s title contention window is open.

Tarik Black, 26, C (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $3MM deal in 2017
Black has shown flashes of promise in spot minutes over the course of his four-year career but he’s not the intriguing bargain bin scratch ticket he used to be. He’s not a bad option for the cash-strapped Rockets if they can bring him back for the minimum but if there’s any other organization desperate enough to offer more than that, it would make sense to let him walk.

Clint Capela, 24, C (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $6MM deal in 2014
After four years as one of the most cost effective game changers in the NBA, Capela is going to get paid as a restricted free agent. Capela is young, has a proven track record of playing a major role for a serious contender and hasn’t even scratched the surface of what he’d be capable of in starter’s minutes. It would surprise me if Capela doesn’t land a max offer sheet as a restricted free agent this summer and Houston has no choice but to match it if they want to continue being the only team with a semi-realistic chance of unseating the Warriors.

Gerald Green, 32, SG (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $1MM deal in 2017
Green went from being practically out of basketball to putting forth his most inspired NBA season in years. In 2017/18, Green went unsigned until December. I anticipate that the Houston native will be back on board with the Rockets for the veteran’s minimum as soon as the dust settles on the rest of the team’s summer plans.

Joe Johnson, 37, SF (Down) – Signed to a one-year deal in 2018
The Rockets took a flyer on Johnson after he was bought out of the albatross deal he signed with the Jazz in 2016 but never managed to break into the club’s admittedly stacked rotation. It would make zero sense for any team to pay more than the veteran’s minimum for the greybeard after three years of team changes and pedestrian production.

Luc Mbah a Moute, 31, SF (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $2MM deal in 2017
The Rockets have done a fine job of surrounding their world-class skill players with defensive-minded role players. Landing Mbah a Moute for the minimum last summer was an incredibly valuable move. It’s hard to imagine that Mbah a Moute would sign for that cheap again this season seeing as he could realistically double or even triple that amount without breaking the bank for another contender. The Rockets would be happy to bring him back but may not be able to afford both he and Ariza.

Chris Paul, 33, PG (Down) – Signed to a five-year, $107MM deal in 2013
It wasn’t long ago that Paul seemed destined to sign a super max contract with the Clippers and retire a franchise legend. Fast forward to the summer of 2018 and we’re living in an entirely different reality. Paul performed brilliantly during his first season with the Rockets and his impact on the legitimate title contender is undisputed. That said, the franchise isn’t automatically compelled to offer a max money, four-year deal that would terminate when Paul is 37 years old. In a perfect world, the Rockets would sign him to a two- or three-year deal instead of going full-term.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Gerald Green Considered Retirement In 2017

After being waived by the Bucks before the 2017/18 regular season got underway, Gerald Green contemplated the possibility of retirement, as Kristie Rieken of The Associated Press writes. According to Green, he contacted his agent to set up an informal deadline to find another NBA job.

“I was like, ‘Look man, when January 1, 2018, hits, if I’m unsigned, I’m putting out a big statement on my Instagram letting everybody know, thank you for the awesome career over all these years but I’m done,'” Green said. “‘I ain’t going to play no more.'”

Green’s self-imposed deadline was just days away when the Rockets offered him a spot on their roster — he signed with the team on December 28, then had his salary guaranteed for the season a couple weeks later.

Now, Green admits that the call from the Rockets took him by surprise. As Rieken details, the veteran swingman had been “mentally checked out” from the NBA, and was spending his time working in real estate and helping victims of Hurricane Harvey.

“Basketball was the last thing on my mind until I got that call,” Green said. “Then it’s kind of like … ‘Are you serious?'”

In 41 regular season games for the Rockets, Green looked revitalized, averaging 12.1 PPG and 3.2 RPG for his hometown team. Those were his best marks since the 2013/14 campaign. While Green’s role hasn’t been as significant in the playoffs, he appears likely to head into the 2018 offseason with a better chance of finding a guaranteed contract than he had a year ago. As such, retirement probably won’t be a strong possibility for the 32-year-old this summer.

Southwest Notes: Green, Messina, Selden, Pelicans

Gerald Green‘s 2017/18 season changed drastically as he went from unemployed – cut by the Bucks after four preseason games – to joining the Rockets, a team he grew up rooting for. As the Rockets await their next challenge in the second round, Green is thrilled to be back in Houston and helping the team, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon writes.

“When I signed with the Rockets, I just kind of felt like that was my calling card,” Green said. “I’m going to be here. I want to help out. “I’m going to continue to keep putting [effort] in and keep helping out as many people as I can using this platform. I like to be able to do that. I like to see smiles [from the people] that you can help out. And right now, the city is still in need. It’s almost been a year, and it’s not back the same.”

Green became a lethal force off the bench, averaging 12.1 PPG and shooting from beyond the arc at a near 37% clip in 41 games. The 11-year NBA veteran continued being a helping hand for Houston against the Timberwolves, a series which the Rockets won in five games.

Check out more Southwest notes down below:

  • Manu Ginobili may officially retire this offseason, which will continue to shrink a Spurs core that has been a constant in the NBA for nearly two decades. Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post looks at what could the end of an era in San Antonio with Tim Duncans recent retirement, the possible departures of Ginobili and Tony Parker, and the ongoing drama with Kawhi Leonard.
  • Following the death of Gregg Popovich‘s wife Erin, assistant coach Ettore Messina stepped up to coach San Antonio for Games 3 through 5. He enters the offseason as a popular candidate for numerous head coaching vacancies and his three-game cameo may have helped his chances, Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News writes.
  • Michael Wallace of NBA.com examined Wayne Selden‘s season and his possible role with the Grizzlies moving forward. Selden averaged 9.3 PPG while shooting an impressive 40.2% from three-point range.
  • The Pelicans are headed for a second-round clash with the Warriors, an outcome that may have seemed unlikely several months ago. William Guillory of NOLA.com looks at how the current roster was assembled.

Southwest Notes: Green/Paul, Aldridge, Ginobili, Parsons

Late in Sunday night’s win over Minnesota, Gerald Green of the Rockets shoved Timberwolves big man Gorgui Dieng into the stands in retaliation for Dieng pushing Chris Paul to the floor after being fouled

Green was ejected, causing Paul to speak out on his behalf, telling Rockets‘ beat writer Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle that he would take care of any fine levied against Green by the league. Said Green, “I’m just trying to be there for my teammate. I saw something happen and I reacted. I paid the consequences for it. I learned my lesson, got ejected, try not to do that again, and hopefully we’re going to move forward from this.”

Despite Green’s contrition, the league announced today that it has fined the Rockets swingman $25K for the incident, with no word yet on whether or not Paul with stay true to his word and foot the bill for Green coming to his defense.

There’s more coming out of the Southwest Division:

  • With all of the uncertainty surrounding the injury to and possible return of superstar Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge has quietly saved the Spurs‘ season, writes Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News. “I’m a leader, so I have to do what we need – playing defense, blocking shots, scoring,” Aldridge said. “It all comes with it. But my teammates have been great. Everyone has gotten better in this stretch. It’s been good for us.”
  • In another article for the San Antonio Express-News, McDonald reports that Warriors’ head coach Steve Kerr believes that Spurs veteran Manu Ginobili, 40, still has another year or so left in the tank. “I could see Manu playing when he is like 58, honestly,” Kerr said before Monday’s game. “He loves the game. He keeps himself in such great shape. I thought he was going to retire last year, so the fact he came back this year surprised me. (But) it wouldn’t shock me at all if Manu came back next year.”
  • It has been a frustrating tenure so far in Memphis for Grizzlies forward Chandler Parsons, but as reported by Michael Wallace of Grizzlies.com, Parsons believes he can get back to form next season barring any additional injury setbacks. “Obviously, there were high expectations coming here and I haven’t come close to meeting them. But in my head, it’s all health. I know if I’m healthy, I can play with the best of them. And I’ve shown flashes of that this year when I’ve played minutes.”

Rockets Notes: Ariza, Tucker, Green

Rockets forward Trevor Ariza is expected to miss the team’s four-game road trip because of a left hamstring injury, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle tweets. He was injured during their game against the Suns on Sunday. With Ariza out, Luc Mbah a Moute will likely move into the starting lineup and Gerald Green will return to the rotation, Feigen adds“It’s always one thing and another,” guard Eric Gordon told Feigen about the team’s struggles with injuries this season. “The good thing about this team is we’re deep. Anybody to be replaced, we always do well.”

In other news involving the Rockets:

  • Forward P.J. Tucker has emerged as the team’s ironman, Feigen notes in a separate story. He has appeared in every game this season, averaging 5.3 PPG and 5.8 RPG in 26.8 MPG. Tucker, who signed a four-year, $32MM contract during free agency last July, has only missed one game over the past three seasons due to injury, Feigen adds. “I knock on wood every time I walk away from here,” Tucker told Feigen. “I don’t even think about it because I haven’t been injured. It doesn’t cross my mind.”
  • Green wasn’t upset about losing his rotation spot despite his hot shooting, as Feigen relays in yet another piece. Green has averaged 13.7 PPG and made 40.9% of his 3-point attempts in 12 games since the team signed him. But he had only played four minutes in three games until Ariza’s injury. “I’m blessed to have this type opportunity. I have a chance … to win a ring,” Green told Feigen. “Whatever role that I have on this team, I’m more than honored to have. Right now, I know my number is getting ready to be called. I’ve been in the gym working.”

Southwest Notes: Mavericks, Leonard, Green, Grizzlies

The Mavericks remain willing to take on salary in any deal as long as they get draft picks for their troubles, writes Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. Dallas has about $13MM in available cap room, and the quality of the picks they ask for will rise according to how much salary they absorb. The Mavs were rumored to be a potential third team to help complete a George Hill trade to Cleveland, with a Sacramento second-rounder coming to Dallas, but Sefko dismisses that as unlikely.

He identifies Harrison Barnes, Dennis Smith Jr. and Dirk Nowitzki as the only untouchables on the Mavericks’ roster, but adds that it would take an extraordinary offer to get J.J. Barea, Devin Harris or Wesley Matthews. Sefko notes that Dallas feels a sense of loyalty to its veteran players and speculates that another organization might have waived Harris before his contract became fully guaranteed earlier this month.

The Mavs, who rank fourth in our Reverse Standings, are counting on a high lottery pick to add another building block for the future. They would like to acquire a second pick and are hoping to find a center in the draft.

Sefko adds that Josh McRoberts, who has a $6MM expiring contract, is being made available in trades, but Dallas plans to let him play out the season if no deal is reached. The team is hoping to re-sign Seth Curry, Salah Mejri and Yogi Ferrell when they all hit free agency this summer.

There’s more tonight from the Southwest Division:

  • The tension between Kawhi Leonard and the Spurs over his injury is “legit,” a source tells Ken Berger of Bleacher Report. GM R.C. Buford has denied any rift with Leonard, but both sides are frustrated over his long recovery time from right quadriceps tendinopathy. The same source says the Spurs have a history of being reluctant to get second opinions from doctors outside the organization. Despite the hard feelings, a rival GM says San Antonio hasn’t given any consideration to trading Leonard.
  • The Rockets‘ return to full health has cost Gerald Green his spot in the rotation, notes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Green, who signed with the team in late December, averaged 15.6 points in 10 games while some key players were sidelined with injuries. “I can’t upset five guys to appease one,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. “I’d rather have one guy kind of out of it and four happy. I’ve got to keep a core that knows about their minutes. Now, whenever I can, I’ll play him. I won’t hesitate to play him. If somebody’s hurt or sick, he’ll play. Or if I can find time, I will.”
  • The Grizzlies are already making moves with next season in mind, writes Chris Herrington of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Memphis is giving more minutes to younger players and letting veterans rest longer after injuries. The team plans to explore the trade market for Tyreke Evans and other players on expiring contracts before the February 8 deadline.

Trevor Ariza, Gerald Green Suspended Two Games Each

The NBA is suspending Trevor Ariza and Gerald Green for “aggressively entering” the Clippers’ locker room earlier this week, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports (Twitter link).

Chris Paul and James Harden will face no discipline. Wojnarowski (Twitter links) adds that interviews with 20 people from the locker room incident were conducted. It was determined that Paul and Harden tried to be “peacemakers,” attempting to defuse the situation. The scribe also adds that Blake Griffin will not be suspended.

The pair of Rockets wings will miss the team’s games against the Wolves and Warriors this week. Golden State is the only team ahead of the Rockets in the Western Conference standings, while the Wolves own the fourth spot in the conference, sitting just three games behind Houston.

Ariza will lose approximately $103K as a result of the two-game suspension, while Green will lose roughly $19.K. The Rockets will receive a credit of slightly under $61K against the luxury tax, Bobby Marks of ESPN.com explains (Twitter link). The team now sits roughly $2.56MM below the luxury tax threshold.

NBA’s Clippers/Rockets Probe Focusing On Ariza

The NBA’s investigation into the postgame incident between the Rockets and Clippers in Los Angeles on Monday night is focused on Trevor Ariza, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. According to Wojnarowski, Ariza has been “isolated as the person most responsible” for the Rockets’ attempt to get into the Clippers’ locker room.

Ariza, who got into it with Blake Griffin during the game, resulting in ejections for both players, was waiting on Griffin after the game, a Rockets source told Lee Jenkins of SI.com. A source also told Jenkins that teammates James Harden, Chris Paul, and Gerald Green were holding Ariza back when he attempted to get into the Clippers’ locker room to confront Griffin and Austin Rivers.

Wojnarowski hears similar rumblings, writing that Paul and Harden are “increasingly described” as having attempted to cool down Ariza. However, Woj does note that some sources on the Clippers’ side insist that Paul “eagerly entered” the home locker room through the back entrance, as we detailed on Tuesday.

The NBA interviewed several executives, coaches, players, and security personnel during the 24 hours following the incident, and those discussions are expected to continue today, league sources tell Wojnarowski. It remains to be seen whether fines and/or suspensions will be announced before the Clippers host Denver on Wednesday night. The Rockets’ next game takes place on Thursday night in Houston.

NBA Investigating Rockets/Clippers Incident

10:09am: There will be “no shortage of punished individuals” as a result of the NBA’s investigation into last night’s incident in Los Angeles, tweets Wojnarowski. That investigation began late last night and continues into today.

8:26am: Chris Paul‘s return to Los Angeles took an unexpected turn on Monday night after the Clippers beat the Rockets in a testy contest that featured multiple ejections. As ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports, tensions boiled over after game, with a handful of Rockets players looking to confront Austin Rivers and Blake Griffin in the Clippers’ locker room.

According to Wojnarowski, Paul, James Harden, Trevor Ariza, and Gerald Green walked through a back hallway to reach the Clippers’ locker room, where several L.A. players “dared the Rockets to come farther into the room.” However, security and team officials quickly stepped in and pushed the Rockets back toward their locker room, per Wojnarowski.

Sources tell Wojnarowski that the Rockets were upset with Rivers, who was described as “especially belligerent” during the late stages of the Clippers’ win, despite standing on the sideline in street clothes (he’s still recovering from an ankle injury). Griffin was also involved in confrontations with Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni and Ariza during the game, leading to his ejection.

While the details of Wojnarowski’s report are bizarre and fascinating, it appears the locker-room incident didn’t escalate beyond some shouting. “It was classic NBA,” one Clipper witness told Woj. “None of these guys were going to fight.”

Nonetheless, the NBA intends to investigate the matter and will begin to gather information on Tuesday, Wojnarowski writes. It wouldn’t be a surprise if the league announces fines and/or suspensions at some point this week, with the Rockets seemingly likely to be hit with harsher penalties.

Southwest Notes: Leonard, Weber, Green

While it seems Kawhi Leonard may have partially torn his shoulder, the Spurs don’t seem particularly concerned about the injury. Immediately after mentioning the tear to Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News, head coach Gregg Popovich said that the forward could potentially return before the end of the team’s three-game road trip.

According to ESPN’s Michael Wright, Leonard has not even been formally ruled out for Thursday’s game.

Sidelined until mid-December with a quad injury, Leonard will now miss time just as he began to see an increased work load. Since the Spurs’ Boxing Day contest, Leonard had played four of five games, averaging 28.2 minutes and 21.3 points per game.

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • The Mavs are one team that could potentially benefit from “competitively tanking” but doing so may be easier said than done, Matt Mosley of the Dallas Morning News implies. The scribe says that Rick Carlisle isn’t a great coach for tanking and adds that Dennis Smith Jr. may have other plans following a losing year at N.C. State.
  • The Rockets may have a looming decision to make with regard to Briante Weber, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle writes. Because of the 45-day limit on his two-way contract Houston may need to convert his deal into a standard one if they plan to keep featuring him while James Harden recovers from an injury.
  • Houston native and recent Rockets addition Gerald Green has made an impact in his brief time with the franchise, averaging 19.8 points per game off the bench in his last five games. As Tim MacMahon of ESPN writes there wasn’t much of a market for his services prior to his signing. “No team wanted me, man. No team wanted me. No team wanted me,” Green said. “No overseas team. Not even a D-League team. So this is the only team that took a chance on me. For me, I’m just so overwhelmed and excited about the opportunity.