Rockets Rumors

Gerald Green Fined; Paul Says He'll Pay The Fine

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.

Zhou Qi Assigned To Rio Grande Valley

  • The Rockets assigned Zhou Qi to their G League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, per the G League’s official transaction log. Qi, 22, is averaging 11.3 points and 6.2 rebounds per game in 21 G League contests this season.

D'Antoni: Tucker Deserves All-Defensive Honors

  • Rockets forward P.J. Tucker has never been named to the All-Defensive team and coach Mike D’Antoni believes that should change this season. “It doesn’t get much better than him,” D’Antoni told Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. The Rockets’ defense ranks third in the league since Tucker became a starter, Feigen notes.

Ryan Anderson Returns For Rockets, Feels 'No Pain'

  • Ryan Anderson played in both of the Rockets‘ games over the weekend after missing the previous nine contests with hip and groin injuries. As Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle writes, Anderson struggled a little with his rhythm in his first game back, but said he felt “no pain.”

Rockets’ Gersson Rosas A Serious Candidate For Hornets’ GM Job

Rockets executive Gersson Rosas is receiving serious consideration for the Hornets’ open general manager job, reports Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link). Former Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak has been viewed as the favorite to replace Rich Cho as Charlotte’s full-time GM, but Stein suggests Rosas has emerged as an “increasingly serious candidate” for the Hornets.

Rosas, who has spent more than a decade with the Rockets, currently holds the title of executive vice president of basketball operations for the franchise. A right-hand man of Daryl Morey, Rosas briefly left the franchise in 2013 to become the Mavericks’ GM, but returned to Houston after things didn’t pan out in Dallas.

The fact that Rosas resigned from that job with the Mavs after just a few months is something the Hornets will have to consider as they weigh whether he’s the right man for their opening. However, reports at the time suggested that Rosas had been hoping for more say in personnel decisions in Dallas, where Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson ranked above him in the basketball operations hierarchy. That shouldn’t be a problem in Charlotte, where the team’s new GM is expected to have control over basketball decisions.

While Rosas and Kupchak appear to be the early frontrunners for the Hornets’ GM position, the team was also said to be interviewing Sixers VP of player personnel Marc Eversley and Heat assistant GM Adam Simon. It remains to be seen if Charlotte will interview more candidates in the coming weeks — the club reportedly would like to have a GM in place around the end of the regular season, to give the new head of basketball operations plenty of time to prepare for the draft and free agency.

Latest On LeBron James

With the Cavaliers in Los Angeles this weekend to play the Clippers on Friday and the Lakers on Sunday, it seems like as good a time as any to check in on LeBron James‘ upcoming free agency. Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer jump-started that discussion on Thursday when he reported that he has “consistently heard from multiple league sources” that James’ list of potential destinations currently only includes four teams: the Cavs, Lakers, Rockets, and Sixers.

Asked today about his potential free agency, James dismissed the idea that he has put together any sort of list yet, according to Joe Vardon of While the star forward also called recruiting billboards posted in L.A. “flattering,” he said he’s not thinking about his free agency at this point — though he did acknowledge he understands the constant Lakers speculation.

“I understand that the conversation happens here because first of all [the Lakers] have cap space,” James said, per Vardon. “And this league is much better when the Lakers, the Knicks, and the Celtics are all good at the same time. That’s just how it is. So, that’s what also creates the frenzy.”

Let’s round up a few more items on James and his 2018 free agency…

  • Within an article about James’ potential fit with the Lakers, Ramona Shelburne of ESPN cites league sources who believe it’s “still a long shot” that LeBron chooses the Lakers.
  • One source close to the situation had this to say to Shelburne: “If someone is pretending they know what LeBron is thinking, they’re guessing. How could anyone know when he doesn’t even know?”
  • Sources close to LeBron can see him playing until he’s 40 years old, Shelburne notes. That would mean seven more seasons after this one for James, which suggests that even a long-term deal this offseason wouldn’t be his last NBA contract.
  • Elsewhere at, in an Insider-only piece, Kevin Pelton examines how James might fit with either the Lakers or the Clippers. A series of salary cap machinations would be required for the Clips to have a shot at LeBron; even then, it’s not clear if he’d seriously consider them, so the Lakers are a much more viable landing spot, in Pelton’s view.
  • As we noted on Thursday, Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today reached a similar conclusion when they ranked six hypothetical destinations for James — the Clippers ranked last in that group. However, the Rockets, Sixers, and Cavaliers all ranked ahead of the Lakers in terms of LeBron’s best options, per the USA Today duo.
  • James remains in the No. 1 spot in the latest edition of our 2018 Free Agent Power Rankings, published on Thursday.

LeBron James’ Free Agency List Down To Four Teams?

LeBron James‘ list of potential free agent destinations for this summer is believed to only include four teams for now, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. In addition to the Cavaliers, sources tell O’Connor that James is expected to listen to pitches from the Lakers, Sixers and Rockets.

O’Connor’s tidbit comes in a larger story about the Spurs and whether James might consider San Antonio because the mutual admiration between him and coach Gregg Popovich.

James is considered certain to opt out of a $35.6MM salary for next season and enter free agency for the third time since returning to Cleveland. He said earlier this season that he will be seeking a full max contract, which will start at $35MM+ per season, wherever he decides to go.

The Lakers have been trying to clear cap room in anticipation of chasing James and another maximum-salary free agent. Their efforts included last month’s trade of Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. to Cleveland, taking more than $12.7MM off next year’s books.

The Sixers would have approximately $31MM available if they decline their options on Richaun Holmes and T.J. McConnell and renounce free agents J.J. Redick, Amir Johnson, Marco Belinelli, and Ersan Ilyasova.

The Rockets would require more maneuvering, with nearly $24MM available, but with Chris Paul and Trevor Ariza both heading toward unrestricted free agency and Clint Capela being restricted. A trade like last year’s Paul deal may be Houston’s best chance at landing LeBron.

The cap isn’t a concern in Cleveland with the Cavs’ owning Bird rights on James, but the luxury tax might be. However, owner Dan Gilbert has expressed a willingness to keep making hefty tax payments as long as James remains in town.

Cleveland will have the advantage of being able to offer James a longer contract (by one year), plus 8% annual raises while other teams are limited to 5%. However, money may not be the deciding factor in where he plays next season.

Rockets Dealing With Injuries, Illnesses

  • Lost amid the Rockets‘ 16-game winning streak is the fact that the team has been dealing with a series of injuries and illnesses, notes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. The two most pressing concerns are a left hip injury to Ryan Anderson, who hopes to return this week, and knee soreness bothering newly signed center Brandan Wright.

Hornets Expand Search For New GM

The Hornets are expanding their search for a new GM even though former Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak remains a leading candidate, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports.

The Hornets are looking to replace Rich Cho after announcing last month they wouldn’t extend his contract.

The club has received permission to interview Sixers VP of Player Personnel Marc Eversley, Rockets Executive VP of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas and Heat assistant GM Adam Simon, league sources told Wojnarowski.

However, Kupchak’s longstanding relationship with owner Michael Jordan could still tip the scales in his favor, Wojnarowski adds. The Lakers replaced Kupchak with Magic Johnson last season.

Assistant GM Buzz Peterson is currently running the day-to-day operations for the Hornets and is expected to remain with the organization once a new GM is hired. Charlotte hopes to fill the position by the end of the regular season, Wojnarowski adds.

Southwest Notes: Leonard, Johnson, Gasol

Kawhi Leonard‘s health has cast doubt on him returning this season, and his future with the Jordan Brand is also unclear, sources tell ESPN’s Michael C. Wright and Ramona Shelburne. Leonard and Nike were reportedly “very close” to a four-year, $20MM extension but his representatives felt the offer was not reflective of his recent success and standing within the league.

Leonard, 26, has racked up droves of impressive accolades during his seven-year NBA career. He is a two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, two-time All-Star, NBA Finals Most Valuable Player, and part of the Spurs‘ 2014 championship team. Leonard pockets south of $500K annually on his current deal and his representatives want a deal that reflects the aforementioned accomplishments.

Leonard’s current agreement expires on October 1, but Nike has the option of matching any deal he receives from another brand. Injuries have limited Leonard to just nine games this season but there is optimism he may return later this month.

Check out other Southwest Division notes below:

  • Joe Johnson came to the Rockets as a veteran who can score and provide leadership as the team prepares for the postseason. Injuries have allowed Johnson to see more minutes and he is thrilled to show off his versatility, Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle writes. “As someone who came into the league as a one, two and three, playing the four, I can do things some guys are not as comfortable with,” Johnson said. “We just look to make plays. That’s what it’s about.”
  • Marc Gasol shares an idealist and pure take on the NBA and recent tanking debate — while the Grizzlies are in the midst of a 13-game losing streak, Chris Herrington of the Commercial Appeal relays. “Winning is what this is about. It’s not about somebody playing well, or getting your reps, or developing players. We’ve got a league for that. … This is the NBA, not the D League,” Gasol said.
  • Speaking of the Grizzlies’ losing streak, the team, sporting an 18-44 record, is playing its hardest, but each loss is taking its toll, Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal writes. “You’ve got a bunch of guys who are committed to doing the right thing. And there’s only so many moral victories that you can have,” Grizzlies interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “At the end of the day, this is results based but it hurts. And it hurts them because they’re giving so much. They’re competing so hard. You can’t tell me a guy that didn’t leave it all out there tonight. And circumstances are what they are. But like I said, you hurt for these guys. And you want them to be rewarded with a ‘W.’”