Rockets Rumors

Andre Iguodala Declared Out For Game 4

7:54pm: Looney will start, Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post tweets.

MAY 22nd, 6:50pm: Warriors forward Andre Iguodala will not play in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals tonight against the Rockets, Chris Haynes of ESPN tweets.

There was optimism in the Golden State camp earlier in the day that Iguodala would play. He was upgraded to questionable after being listed as doubtful Monday due to a left knee contusion. He banged knees with James Harden during Game 3.

X-rays showed no structural damage to the knee.

Iguodala has been instrumental is defusing the Rockets’ normally high-octane offense, allowing Golden State to regain home-court advantage and take a 2-1 series lead. He’s played 27 or 28 minutes in each game and posted 10 points, three rebounds, three assists, three steals and a block in the 126-85 Game 3 blowout.

Iguodala has played a minimum of 23 minutes in every postseason game this spring. It’s unknown how coach Steve Kerr will adjust his rotation, but Kevon Looney and Nick Young are the logical candidates for increased playing time, given that Kerr has gone with a small lineup to match up against the Rockets’ shooters.

Anderson Remains Odd Man Out

  • Ryan Anderson continues to be the odd man out in the Rockets‘ rotation, Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle reports. The high-priced power forward has only played 14 minutes during the first three games of the Western Conference Finals and his status is unlikely to change. “Ryan’s ready to go, but it’s a different type of series,” coach Mike D’Antoni told the media. “So he’ll just have to wait until his time.”

Andre Iguodala Upgraded To Questionable For Game 4

MAY 22, 1:29pm: Iguodala has been upgraded to questionable for Game 4, according to Slater (Twitter links). While Slater wouldn’t be surprised if Iguodala still ends up sitting out Tuesday’s game, he notes that the diagnosis for the veteran swingman is positive, as X-rays confirmed there’s no structural damage in his knee.

MAY 21, 2:47pm: Warriors forward Andre Iguodala is listed as doubtful for Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals on Tuesday due to knee soreness, Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets.

Iguodala has a knee contusion that worsened overnight and caused him to miss practice on Monday, Ramona Shelburne of ESPN tweets.

Iguodala has been instrumental is dousing the Rockets’ normally high-octane offense, allowing Golden State to regain home-court advantage and take a 2-1 series lead. He’s played 27 or 28 minutes in each game and posted 10 points, three rebounds, three assists, three steals and a block in the 126-85 Game 3 blowout on Sunday.

Iguodala has played a minimum of 23 minutes in every postseason game this spring. It’s unknown how coach Steve Kerr will adjust his rotation if Iguodala can’t go, but Kevon Looney and Nick Young are the logical candidates for increased playing time, given that Kerr has gone with a small lineup to match up against the Rockets’ shooters.

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.

Draft Notes: Porter, Bamba, Sexton, Allen

Missouri standout Michael Porter Jr. spoke to reporters at the draft combine in Chicago today and confirmed he has met with the Knicks, Mavericks, Sixers, Suns, Cavaliers, Hawks, Grizzlies, Rockets and Clippers, tweets Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. He will have another set of interviews tomorrow as he is scheduled to meet with the Kings, Hornets, Thunder and Celtics.

Porter, 19, missed most of his freshman campaign after he suffered a serious back injury just two minutes into the season. Porter underwent surgery –a microdiscectomy of the L3-L4 spinal discs — which sidelined him until the SEC tournament later in the season. In total, Porter appeared in three games with the Tigers, averaging 10.0 PPG and 6.7 RPG. However, Porter spoke confidently about his abilities and how he compares to other talents in this year’s draft pool.

“I know without a doubt that I’m the — I played against all these guys, they’re all great players — but I’m the best player in this draft,” Porter said. “And I just can’t wait to show what I’m capable of.”

Check out more notes related to the draft below:

  • We relayed earlier that Texas big man Mohamed Bamba measured in with a staggering 7’10” wingspan at the combine. Bamba would have the longest wingspan of any player coming into the NBA since 2000. Speaking to reporters, including Madeline Kenney of the Chicago-Sun Times, Bamba addressed his strongest attribute.“I’d say my biggest strength right now, just one word to summarize it all, is just my presence,” Bamba said. “Both offensively and defensively, the presence that I have is pretty profound. I don’t think any other prospect has this presence. I do more but require less. That’s both on the court and off the court. I feel I’m the most efficient guy in this draft class.” Bamba confirmed he has met with 13 teams, tweets ESPN’s Nick Friedell.
  • Alabama point guard Collin Sexton is at the draft combine and has already met with five teams, Alabama head coach Avery Johnson said to Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News. Sexton has yet to interview with the Mavericks but that could happen by Friday. Sexton did meet with the Knicks, tweets Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News.
  • The Timberwolves are set to interview Duke shooting guard Grayson Allen, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN.

Poll: Rockets Or Cavaliers In Better Position?

The Cavaliers are coming off one of their most disappointing games of the season, as they surrendered a halftime lead on Tuesday night and dropped a second consecutive game in Boston, with the Celtics taking a 2-0 lead in the series.

The Rockets, on the other hand, looked like a legit title contender on Wednesday night in Houston, jumping on the Warriors early and outscoring them in every quarter en route to a 127-105 win to even up that series at 1-1.

Despite each team’s most recent game though, the Cavaliers are still viewed as a stronger bet to make the NBA Finals than the Rockets, as the odds at Bovada.lv show. A $100 wager on the Cavs to win their series would net $175 in winnings, while the same bet on the Rockets would earn you $250.

A strong respect for LeBron James – and for the Warriors – is reflected in those lines, but LeBron’s excellence isn’t the only reason why oddsmakers still view the Cavs as a stronger bet than the Rockets. The Eastern Conference Finals are headed back to Cleveland, where the Cavaliers have a 5-1 record so far in the postseason. The Celtics, meanwhile, are 1-4 on the road in playoff games this spring. If the Cavs can take care of business at home, the series would return to Boston for Game 5 tied at 2-2.

Home-court advantage is also a major factor in the Western Conference Finals. Having stolen Game 1 in Houston, the Warriors don’t need to win another road game to win the series. In fact, the Rockets will be under pressure to win one of the next two games in Oakland to avoid heading back home down 3-1.

Outside of the home-court factor, oddsmakers also figure to be heavily weighing recent history in their lines. The Warriors were one win away from taking home the last three NBA titles, and have looked virtually unstoppable in the postseason since Kevin Durant joined the roster in 2016. James, meanwhile, has been in the last seven NBA Finals, and it wasn’t long ago that he and the Cavs steamrolled the East’s top seed in a four-game sweep.

What do you think? Are the Rockets, with one win in hand, in a better position to advance than the Cavs, or are oddsmakers right to give the Cavs a stronger chance to make the Finals?

Vote in our poll, then jump into the comment section below to make your case.

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.

2018 NBA Draft Picks By Team

While the Sixers were knocked out of the 2018 playoffs in the Eastern Conference Semifinals by the underdog Celtics, few teams are better positioned in this year’s draft than Philadelphia. The 76ers own six of the 60 picks in the 2018 NBA draft, including a pair of first-rounders.

As our full 2018 draft order shows, the Sixers are one of seven NBA teams that holds more than two selections in this year’s draft. On the other end of the spectrum, eight teams have just one pick in 2018, while two teams – the Heat and Raptors – don’t have any selections.

To present a clearer picture of which teams are most – and least – stocked with picks for the 2018 NBA draft, we’ve rounded up all 60 picks by team in the space below. Let’s dive in…

Teams with more than two picks:

  • Philadelphia 76ers (6): 10, 26, 38, 39, 56, 60
  • Phoenix Suns (4): 1, 16, 31, 59
  • Atlanta Hawks (4): 3, 19, 30, 34
  • Dallas Mavericks (3): 5, 33, 54
  • Orlando Magic (3): 6, 35, 41
  • Denver Nuggets (3): 14, 43, 58
  • Brooklyn Nets (3): 29, 40, 45

Teams with two picks:

  • Sacramento Kings: 2, 37
  • Memphis Grizzlies: 4, 32
  • Chicago Bulls: 7, 22
  • New York Knicks: 9, 36
  • Charlotte Hornets: 11, 55
  • Los Angeles Clippers: 12, 13
  • Washington Wizards: 15, 44
  • San Antonio Spurs: 18, 49
  • Minnesota Timberwolves: 20, 48
  • Utah Jazz: 21, 52
  • Indiana Pacers: 23, 50
  • Los Angeles Lakers: 25, 47
  • Oklahoma City Thunder: 53, 57

Teams with fewer than two picks:

  • Cleveland Cavaliers (1): 8
  • Milwaukee Bucks (1): 17
  • Portland Trail Blazers (1): 24
  • Boston Celtics (1): 27
  • Golden State Warriors (1): 28
  • Detroit Pistons (1): 42
  • Houston Rockets (1): 46
  • New Orleans Pelicans (1): 51
  • Miami Heat (0)
  • Toronto Raptors (0)

Morey Appreciative Of Harden's Recruiting Skills

While Rockets general manager Daryl Morey has deservedly received much of the praise for shaping Houston’s roster into a title contender, Morey credit his star guard James Harden for his ability as a recruiter and a pitchman, writes Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com.

“James was everything,” Morey said in discussing the Rockets’ roster building and the addition of Chris Paul. “Not only is he a great player on the floor, but he’s someone who’s just focused on winning and is willing to do anything to make it happen, whether it be meet with people, call them, text them, whatever is required. He makes my job easy.”

As MacMahon details, Harden and Paul were both instrumental in convincing P.J. Tucker to sign with the Rockets last summer. The veteran forward turned down a larger offer from the Raptors in order to join Harden and Paul in Houston, and he showed on Wednesday night how valuable he can be for the Rockets. Tucker, who scored 20 points in his first game with the team last October, hadn’t reached that mark again until he poured in 22 against Golden State in Game 2.

Latest On Pistons’ GM/Front Office Search

The Pistons continue to conduct separate searches for a new head coach and a new head of basketball operations, and while it’s possible they’ll hire a coach sooner rather than later, they prefer to address their front office opening first. That would allow the new head of basketball operations to have a say in the head coaching hire.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski provides an update on Detroit’s front office search today, reporting (via Twitter) that NBA executive VP of basketball operations Kiki VanDeWeghe, Grizzlies executive VP of player personnel Ed Stefanski, Rockets executive VP of basketball operations Gersson Rosas, and Nets assistant GM Trajan Langdon are among the candidates the Pistons are eyeing to run their basketball operations department. Current GM Jeff Bower also remains a candidate to be promoted, Wojnarowski adds (via Twitter).

Most of those executives have received consideration for top front office jobs in the recent past. Rosas, for instance, was cited as a contender for the Hornets’ GM opening this spring. Stefanski was said to be in the mix for the Bucks’ GM vacancy last summer, while Langdon received consideration for the Hawks job around the same time.

In addition to considering those aforementioned candidates for their top basketball operations job, the Pistons are also targeting TNT analyst Brent Barry and Heat director of basketball development and analytics Shane Battier for front office roles, according to Wojnarowski.

Although Bower is currently running the Pistons’ basketball operations department, his contract is set to expire on June 30, so Detroit could end up making several new hires this spring. Should Bower depart, the Pistons may hire a new president of basketball operations, a new GM, and a new head coach.

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.