Rockets Rumors

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 2/21/18

Here are Wednesday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA.

9:32pm:

  • The Warriors have recalled guard Quinn Cook and center Damian Jones from their affiliate in Santa Cruz, tweets Monte Poole of NBC Bay Area.
  • The Cavaliers have assigned center Ante Zizic to their Canton affiliate, the team announced on its website.
  • The Jazz assigned center Tony Bradley to their affiliate in Salt Lake City, according to the team website.

4:05pm:

Ex-Rocket Bobby Brown Headed To Greece

Bobby Brown, who was waived by the Rockets last week, has reached an agreement to play for the Greek team Olympiacos, according to Eurohoops (hat tip to Sportando).

Brown, who appeared in 20 games this season, had hoped to re-sign with Houston for the rest of the year, but became expendable when the Rockets reached agreements with Joe Johnson and Brandan Wright following buyouts. Originally waived on January 5, Brown signed a rest-of-the-season deal with Houston on February 9, but was released three days later.

Brown, 33, is no stranger to the Euroleague, having played in Germany, Poland, Italy and Turkey. He also spent time in China before signing with the Rockets in 2016. He spent parts of two seasons in Houston, averaging 2.5 points in 45 games.

Knicks Sign Troy Williams To 10-Day Contract

FEBRUARY 21: Williams’ 10-day deal with the Knicks is now official, according to the team (Twitter link). The contract will run through March 2, giving Williams four games with the Knicks.

FEBRUARY 19: Forward Troy Williams will sign a 10-day contract with the Knicks, a source tells Michael Scotto of The Athletic (Twitter link). Williams chose New York among several suitors for his services, per Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).

ESPN’s Ian Begley reported earlier in the evening that the Knicks were interested in Williams, who was cut loose by the Rockets last week.

New York has an open roster spot, so it can add Williams without cutting another player loose. Houston placed Williams on waivers when it decided to add veteran swingman Joe Johnson. Williams officially became a free agent on Friday.

Williams, 23, began his NBA career with the Grizzlies last season before being waived a little over a year ago. The 6’7” forward finished the 2016/17 campaign with the Rockets, then signed a new three-year contract with Houston but only the first year was fully guaranteed.

In 34 total NBA games, Williams has averaged 5.6 PPG and 2.1 RPG.

Knicks Interested In Signing Troy Williams

The Knicks are interested in signing forward Troy Williams, Ian Begley of ESPN tweets. They are one of several teams looking at the former Rockets forward and he’s expected to make a decision soon, Begley adds.

New York has an open roster spot, so it wouldn’t have to shed a contract to add Williams. He was the odd man out when Houston decided to add veteran swingman Joe Johnson during its stretch run.

Williams, 23, began his NBA career with the Grizzlies last season before being waived a little over a year ago. The 6’7” forward finished the 2016/17 campaign with the Rockets, then signed a new three-year contract with Houston but only the first year was fully guaranteed.

In 34 total NBA games, Williams has averaged 5.6 PPG and 2.1 RPG. He was placed on waivers on February 14th and officially became a free agent on February 16th, according to RealGM.com’s transactions list.

Poll: Which Team Will Earn No. 1 Seed In West?

Before the All-Star break began last week, the Rockets won their 10th straight game while the Warriors lost for the fourth time in their last eight contests. Houston’s hot streak, combined with Golden State’s (relative) cold streak, moved the 44-13 Rockets into the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference by a half-game over the 44-14 Warriors.

It’s not the first time the Rockets have sat atop the West this season. Houston opened the season on a 25-4 run and had a leg up on Golden State until about Christmas Day. Now, Mike D’Antoni‘s squad has reclaimed the No. 1 seed.

The Rockets and Warriors have each been about as successful on the road as they’ve been at home, so the two teams may not go all-out down the stretch to claim the No. 1 seed. Still, with the Warriors looking to come out of the West for a fourth consecutive season, the Rockets appear to be the biggest threat to knock them off since Kevin Durant arrived in the Bay Area. If the Western Conference Finals come down to these two clubs, home-court advantage could be a factor.

No other Western Conference team is within nine games of either the Rockets or Warriors in the standings, so this looks like a two-team race, and we want to know what you think.

Will the Warriors, who haven’t lost more than 15 games in a regular season since 2013/14, finish the season on a hot streak and claim the No. 1 seed? Or will, the Rockets, who are 28-1 when James Harden, Chris Paul, and Clint Capela are all in their lineup, hang onto their lead in the West and grab the top spot heading into the postseason?

Vote below in our poll and jump into the comment section to share your thoughts — including whether or not home-court advantage will make a difference for these two clubs.

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.

James Harden Likes Roster Additions; D'Antoni In Perfect Spot

All-star guard James Harden believes the Rockets boosted their chances to win a title by adding free agents Joe Johnson and Brandan Wright, relays Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype. Both signed with Houston this week after reaching buyout agreements, adding depth to a roster that has the league’s best record at the break.

  • After a lifetime in basketball, Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni has found the perfect team to fit his style, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. D’Antoni, an All-Star coach for the second time in his career, was happy as associate head coach in Philadelphia until Rockets owner Leslie Alexander offered him a job in the summer of 2016. Houston has given D’Antoni a roster filled with shooters to complement his philosophy on offense. “Some people accused me of being stubborn all those years I didn’t change,” he said. “I didn’t think I was being stubborn. I thought that was the way to do it. Why should I change if I know it’s the right thing to do?”

Rockets Owner OK Paying Tax For Chance At Title

Even after signing Joe Johnson and Brandan Wright this week, the Rockets’ team salary remains slightly below the luxury tax threshold for 2017/18. Next season, however, if the team wants to re-sign players like Chris Paul, Clint Capela, and Trevor Ariza – not to mention possibly making a run at LeBron James – going well into tax territory is a virtual lock.

New Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta, who paid $2.2 billion to buy the franchise from Leslie Alexander before the ’17/18 season got underway, isn’t particularly looking forward to ponying up more money for a luxury tax bill, but he tells Sam Amick of USA Today that he’s ready to do so if it means having a legit chance to win championships.

“The NBA is a tough business,” Fertitta said. “And you can go from making money to losing money very quickly. Everybody has to remember, I did pay $2.2 billion for this team. I didn’t pay $80MM for it, okay? And I’m not worth $20 billion, but I have no problem paying luxury tax if I truly think that it truly gives me the chance to win the championship next year, okay?”

Fertitta’s comments suggest that he won’t simply hand over a blank check to team management — he pointed out that this year’s team is a legit championship contender without team salary going over the tax threshold, hinting that the league’s highest-paid teams aren’t always its best. Still, the Rockets owner has faith that GM Daryl Morey will help him invest his money wisely. According to Morey, the two men have already had conversations about next year’s payroll.

“We’ve talked through (the luxury tax),” Morey said. “We’re going to be in the tax next year, and…nothing’s going to hold him back from putting together a championship team. He obviously has the money; he just paid the highest amount ever for a team.”

D'Antoni Sees Wright As 'Insurance'

  • Free agent addition Brandan Wright does not have a defined role with his new team but Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni knows his purpose, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle relays. “Insurance, mostly,” D’Antoni said. “He’s to me the type of center we like. He’s long, vertical spacing and athletic, can run. He’s another kind of Clint (Capela). We have Nene and Tarik (Black) being one type and them being another type. That’s the depth. He’s a good guy. He’s going to be a good locker room game. All that’s positive.”

Chris Bosh Still Hoping For NBA Comeback

1:03pm: ESPN has now posted a lengthier video of today’s First Take discussion with Bosh, which includes the former Heat and Raptors star addressing concerns about his health.

“Medicine is like law, I’ve come to find out,” Bosh said. “It’s a very gray area. Some people say yes, some people say no. Usually it’s about what the majority agrees to, and sometimes it’ll take somebody to have some revolutionary plan or something like that. I’m not going to be in a position where I’m risking my life, so if I ever get back on the court like that and people are worried, it’s not going to be a life-risking situation.”

Asked later in the discussion whether he hopes to make a comeback in 2018/19, Bosh said he hasn’t closed the door on returning this season. He also identified the Warriors, Rockets, and Raptors as teams that would interest him, and didn’t rule out the Cavaliers either.

11:57am: It has now been more than two years since Chris Bosh last played an NBA game, but the 11-time All-Star still hasn’t given up on the idea of resuming his playing career. Appearing on First Take (video link), Bosh told ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith today that he’s still making an effort to return to the NBA.

“I’ve been in the gym. I can still play basketball,” Bosh said.No, I’m not done yet.”

Joking that he can’t call it a career when he sees how many current players are getting by shooting three-pointers and not playing defense, Bosh repeated a sentiment that he has expressed several times since his medical retirement. As recently as November, the former Heat star said he was keeping his options open as a player.

Although Bosh is still physically able to play basketball, concerns about his history of blood clots have made him medically ineligible to return to an NBA team. Doctors and teams have been unwilling to risk those blood clotting issues resurfacing.

Bosh last appeared in the NBA in 2015/16 for the Heat, averaging 19.1 PPG and 7.4 RPG in 53 games and earning an All-Star nod. He played his last game on February 9, 2016.

Rockets Sign Joe Johnson

The Rockets have officially signed veteran forward Joe Johnson, the team announced today in a press release. In a corresponding transaction, the club waived Troy Williams, a move that appeared to be the subject of some debate in Houston’s front office.

There were reports prior to the trade deadline that Johnson, who was in the final season of a two-year contract, wanted out of Utah, and the Jazz accommodated that desire, sending him to the Kings in a deadline-day deal. Shortly after he landed with Sacramento, Johnson negotiated a buyout, reportedly agreeing to surrender $1MM of his $10.5MM salary.

The veteran will earn a little less than that in Houston, signing a minimum salary deal that will pay him about $750K, with the Rockets taking on a $474K cap hit. However, Johnson’s new team should give him a legit chance to contend for a title.

Johnson struggled this year in Utah, averaging a career-worst 7.3 PPG to go along with 3.3 RPG and a shooting line of .420/.274/.833. Still, his career résumé and his extensive postseason experience made him an intriguing low-cost target for playoff teams.

Johnson is expected to be active on Wednesday night against the Kings, technically his previous team. Johnson seems unlikely to be a difference-maker in that game, so Houston could have waited until after the All-Star break to finalize his deal, but that would have cost him over $100K in salary. Considering the Warriors, Celtics, and Thunder were also believed to be in the running for Johnson, the Rockets were likely happy to guarantee the 36-year-old that extra money by getting their deal done right away.

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