Houston Rockets – Hoops Rumors Legitimate NBA free agent and trade rumors. 2019-12-06T23:34:31Z https://www.hoopsrumors.com/feed/atom WordPress Alex Kirschenbaum <![CDATA[Rockets To File Official League Protest Over Spurs Loss]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=146398 2019-12-06T23:02:20Z 2019-12-06T00:10:02Z Sources have informed Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle that the Rockets intend to file a league protest with the NBA over referees’ controversial ruling on a James Harden dunk in an eventual 135-133 double overtime loss to the Spurs Tuesday.

Harden slammed home the jam with 7:50 left in regulation and Houston still up by 13 points, but game officials ruled that the basket did not count when it popped out in front of the basket upon getting caught in the net. Had Harden’s dunk been tallied, it would have boosted the Rockets’ advantage to a 15 points. When the dust had settled, the team would go on to blow a 22-point lead in San Antonio.

Additionally, sources tell ESPN’s Tim MacMahon that the Rockets hope to have the final 7:50 of regulation be replayed in the future, with Houston up 104-89 and the dunk being counted for two points. Houston does not anticipate an automatically-rewarded win.

Replaying game action is not wholly unprecedented, though it is exceedingly rare. Due to this, the Rockets’ request faces an uphill battle for acceptance. The final 51.8 seconds of a HawksHeat game were replayed in 2008 during a subsequent meeting between both teams. Two other partial game replays over reversed rulings transpired in 1982 and 1979.

Both the Rockets and Spurs have five days to provide necessary evidence in support of their claims. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver then has five days after receiving all evidence to make a ruling.

Dana Gauruder <![CDATA[Free Agent Stock Watch 2019: Pacific Division]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=146296 2019-12-05T23:19:21Z 2019-12-04T23:33:56Z Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we take a look at players from the Pacific Division:

Montrezl Harrell, Clippers, 25, PF (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $12MM deal in 2018
The Rockets had no idea what they were giving up when they tossed Harrell into the Chris Paul blockbuster. Harrell doesn’t have a three-point shot but otherwise, he’s a terror. He was a prime candidate for Sixth Man of the Year last season and will be once again. He’s averaging 19.1 PPG, 8.0 RPG and 2.2 APG despite starting just two of 22 games. Harrell will be a hot commodity as an unrestricted free agent and the Clippers will be pushed into luxury tax territory if they want to retain him. It would be worth the cost.

Glenn Robinson III, Warriors, 25, SF (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $1.9MM deal in 2019
Robinson’s last season in Indiana was a washout due to an ankle injury. His one season in Detroit was a washout due to a lack of production. With an expanded role on a bad team, Robinson is upgrading his resume. He’s averaging 32.1 MPG as a starter and averaging 11.6 PPG, 4.6 RPG and 2.0 APG while making 38.9% of his 3-point tries. Stats compiled under these circumstances can be deceiving but Robinson has at least regained his confidence and shown he’s worthy of a rotation spot on most teams.

Avery Bradley, Lakers, 29, SG (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $9.8MM deal in 2019
Bradley started 10 games for the streaking Lakers this season, though he didn’t shoot well (28.6% from deep) playing alongside two of the league’s biggest stars. The big issue for Bradley in recent seasons has been staying on the court and once again, the injury bug has bitten him. He’s out at least another week with a lower leg issue. Bradley’s contract includes a $5MM player option and he needs to show he can stay healthy and productive for a long stretch in order to decline that option and test the free agent waters.

Aron Baynes, Suns, 32, C (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $10.6MM deal in 2018
The popular Australian big man has gotten off to a terrific start in Phoenix with Deandre Ayton serving his 25-game league-imposed suspension. Baynes is averaging 14.7 PPG, 5.7 RPG and 2.9 APG in 24.0 MPG through 13 games. He’s also turned into a solid three-point shooter (43.9%), adding a new element to his game. He’s been slowed recently by a calf injury but with a dearth of quality centers around the league, Baynes will get some multi-year offers as an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

Harry Giles III, Kings, 21, PF (Down) – Signed to a three-year, $6.6MM deal in 2017
The 20th pick of the 2017 draft, Giles has battling injuries since entering the league. He didn’t make his NBA debut until last season, then appeared in 58 games off the bench. The Kings declined their fourth-year option on him prior to this season, making him an unrestricted free agent this summer. He doesn’t have a rotation spot under new coach Luke Walton, averaging just 7.4 MPG in seven appearances this season. The same age as a college senior, Giles will get a second chance somewhere but his offers will be modest.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Arthur Hill <![CDATA[And-Ones: LaMelo, MVP Votes, Warriors, Fratello]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=146279 2019-12-05T23:10:27Z 2019-12-04T20:02:40Z LaMelo Ball doesn’t mind a little campaigning in his effort to be the No. 1 pick in next year’s draft, writes Krysten Peek of Yahoo Sports. The buzz around Ball continues to grow as he strings together impressive performances in Australia’s National Basketball League. Over the weekend, he became the first NBL player since 2005 to post back-to-back triple doubles.

“Most definitely,” Ball responded when asked whether he thinks he should be the first pick. “I believe in myself and I’ve worked hard to get here. The other guys at the top of the draft, James [Wiseman] and Anthony [Edwards], are very talented too. But just in the way I believe in myself, I think I’m the top pick.”

Several scouts were in New Zealand recently to watch Ball go up against another projected lottery pick in R.J. Hampton. Many came away impressed, with one scout saying, “The fact that he’s putting up numbers like this in a league full of former NBA players is forcing every team to look at him as a potential No. 1 pick.” 

Ball addressed rumors that he might end his season early to protect his health for the draft. He insists he’s “committed to the whole season,” even though his team is off to a 3-9 start.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Roughly a quarter of the way into the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo is in good position to repeat as MVP, according to Tim Bontemps of ESPN. In a poll of 101 media members, Antetokounmpo received 48 first-place votes and was the only player listed on all the ballots. LeBron James (29 first-place votes), Luka Doncic (14) and James Harden (nine) were next in line.
  • Declining ratings continue to be a concern, and the NBA has started taking action to address the problem. One solution is fewer national TV games for the Warriors, who have the NBA’s worst record after five years as its marquee team. Golden State’s next two scheduled ESPN games have been replaced, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic, who speculates that more are likely to be removed.
  • Former NBA coach and long-time broadcaster Mike Fratello will be back on the sidelines soon, according to Nicola Lupo of Sportando. Fratello will serve as head coach for USA Basketball in February’s qualifying games for the FIBA AmeriCup.
  • Commissioner Adam Silver addressed the China controversy today, saying a “culture clash” was almost inevitable, tweets Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic. NBA games haven’t returned to China Central Television, the main broadcaster in Mainland China, but they are back on Tencent, which Silver called a “thawing” in tensions (Twitter link).
  • Sources tell Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated that March 20 has been set for the debut of the NBA’s Basketball Africa League (Twitter link). The first game will take place in Dakar, Senegal.
  • The NBA will consider allowing corporate investors to hold passive minority stakes in more than one team, tweets Alex M. Silverman of MorningConsult. The measure will be part of the agenda at April’s Board of Governors meeting.
Arthur Hill <![CDATA[Chris Paul Was “Shocked” By Trade To Thunder]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=146264 2019-12-05T23:03:20Z 2019-12-04T17:03:08Z Chris Paul tells Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated that he was “shocked” at the trade that sent him to Oklahoma City this summer and insists Rockets general manager Daryl Morey promised him it wouldn’t happen.

After being knocked out of the playoffs by the Warriors for a second straight year, Houston jumped at the chance to shake up its roster by acquiring Russell Westbrook from the Thunder. That meant shipping out Paul and a parcel of draft picks.

“My initial reaction?” Paul said. “I was shocked. Truth be told, I just talked to Daryl a couple days before the trade and he said he wasn’t going to trade me (to Oklahoma City). That’s funny because that is going to be the alert that pops up on everybody’s phone because nobody knows that. But what the hell, I just said it.”

Morey refused to respond to Paul’s comment, but sources close to the team told Spears that the GM informed Paul there was a “slim chance” he might be included in a Westbrook deal. Morey was hoping to make it a three-team trade and send Paul to a playoff contender such as the Heat, but no one else was willing to get involved. He also thanked Paul for his contributions to the franchise.

“Chris got us as close to winning a title as we’ve been since Hakeem Olajuwon,” Morey said. “He was a great Rocket. I wish him the best going forward. I am a big fan of Chris. I have nothing but love for him.”

Paul said his time in Houston marked two of the best seasons of his career. However, they ended in an apparent falling out with James Harden during last season’s playoffs that had many believing a breakup was coming. Paul admits he and Harden “haven’t really talked” since the trade was completed.

“It’s life. It happens,” Paul said. “It is what it is. But I wish him nothing but the best.”

The next question for Paul is how long he will be with the Thunder, who are off to an 8-11 start and appear ready to rebuild after trading Westbrook and Paul George. Although the market will open up December 15 when most of the free agents who signed this summer become eligible to be traded, Paul’s contract remains a major impediment. He makes $38.5MM this season at age 34 and is owed roughly $85.5MM over the following two seasons. Spears notes that many teams are already trying to save cap space for the next loaded free agent class in 2021.

“I try to control what I can control,” Paul said. “And for me, that is preparing to play every night. Doing my workout. Doing my training. Hooping.”

Arthur Hill <![CDATA[Rockets Hope For Replay After Loss To Spurs]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=146073 2019-12-05T23:01:35Z 2019-12-04T15:03:53Z The NBA hasn’t replayed part of a game in more than a decade, but the Rockets believe they have a strong case for one after Tuesday’s double-overtime loss in San Antonio, writes Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

Houston was denied two important points when a dunk by James Harden was disallowed with 7:50 left in the game. The ball went through the hoop, but got caught in the net and popped out in front of the basket. After some initial confusion, officials ruled it no basket. The dunk would have increased the Rockets’ lead to 15 points.

Team sources told MacMahon after the game they are optimistic the league will review the situation and either award them the victory or demand a replay of the final 7:50 of regulation.

“When the play happened, Harden goes in for a dunk, and then the ball appears to us to pop back through the net,” crew chief James Capers explained to a pool reporter after the game. “When that happens, that is basket interference. To have a successful field goal, it must clear the net. We have since come in here and looked at the play. He dunked it so hard that the net carried it back over the rim a second time, so in fact it did clear the net and should have been a successful field goal.”

“As to could the play have been reviewed, it is a reviewable matter, but you have a window of 30 seconds to challenge the play during that timeout that he had and while they were protesting the call, trying to get clarification of it, that window passed. So therefore, it elapsed, and they were not able to do it.”

Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said confusion among the officials cost him a chance to challenge the play.

“I heard that they said the ball hit James and went back through, so it was a goaltend on James. I challenged that, and I didn’t get a response,” D’Antoni said. “Then another guy said it wasn’t a goaltend; it went out of bounds on us. And I said, ‘Well, I challenge that.’ Can’t do that.”

The Rockets may file a formal protest, tweets Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle, but are waiting to see if the league takes action first.

The last time the NBA ordered that part of a game be replayed came in 2008, according to MacMahon. The Hawks defeated the Heat in overtime, but the official scorer mistakenly determined that Miami center Shaquille O’Neal fouled out with 51.9 seconds to go, so that portion of the game was replayed when the teams met again.

Luke Adams <![CDATA[McLemore Thriving As Starter, Seeking Consistency]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=146111 2019-12-02T01:20:48Z 2019-12-02T01:20:48Z
  • Ben McLemore, one of three Rockets players without a fully guaranteed 2019/20 salary, has taken on a crucial rotation role as of late, starting five of the club’s last nine games. While McLemore has been significantly better as a starter, he’s confident that his numbers as a reserve will come around if he returns to a full-time bench role. “It’s about keeping my game simple, especially with this team,” McLemore said, per Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. “I’m trying to do the best I can each and every night and be consistent. Things will shake out for me soon.”
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    Dana Gauruder <![CDATA[Free Agent Stock Watch 2019: Southwest Division]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=145812 2019-11-28T21:18:36Z 2019-11-28T04:58:32Z Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we take a look at players from the Southwest Division:

    Brandon Ingram, Pelicans, 22, SF (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $23.8MM deal in 2016
    More appropriately, Ingram’s stock is way, way up. Ingram’s last season with the Lakers was cut short by a blood clot issue. He averaged 18.3 PPG but there was still skepticism just how good Ingram was. He’s answered that emphatically in his first 13 games with the Pelicans, posting All-Star level numbers (26.1 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 4.2 APG, 45.9 percent on 3s). The Pelicans will make him a restricted free agent by extending a $9.48MM qualifying offer. Will Ingram re-sign with New Orleans, sign a big offer sheet, or sign the QO and test unrestricted free agency the following summer? For sure, he’ll get paid.

    Courtney Lee, Mavericks, 34, SG (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $48MM deal in 2016
    Lee’s value to Dallas is mainly his expiring contract, which could prove useful as the Mavs look to acquire another piece to their vastly improved squad. Lee’s playing time has been mainly limited to garbage-time minutes. After two solid seasons with the Knicks, Lee’s career has declined the past two seasons. His 3-point prowess (38.7 percent for his career) might earn him a short-term deal next summer but he won’t be making anywhere near $12MM next season.

    Gerald Green, Rockets, 33, SG (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $2.56MM deal in 2019
    Have we seen the last of Green in the NBA? That’s a strong possibility, considering his age and long-term rehab from a foot injury. He underwent surgery in late October and is expected to miss the regular season and likely the postseason as well. Green, a 12-year NBA veteran, has made prior stops with Boston, Minnesota, Houston, Dallas, New Jersey, Indiana, Phoenix and Miami during his professional career. He was a major contributor off the Rockets’ bench last season, averaging 9.2 PPG and 2.5 PPG in 73 contests. Another veteran’s minimum deal is his best hope.

    Marco Belinelli, Spurs, 33, SG (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $12MM deal in 2018
    Belinelli’s perimeter shooting has made him one of the league’s most reliable second-unit players for years. The shooting touch has abandoned him, one of the many reasons the Spurs have struggled this season. Belinelli is shooting just 29 percent from the field while averaging 5.2 PPG. He has averaged in double figures off the bench for the past four seasons. Gregg Popovich has continued to give him steady minutes, so Bellinelli’s production should return to the norm. But if his playing time is reduced, he may have to settle for the veteran’s minimum next summer.

    Dillon Brooks, Grizzlies, 23, SF (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $3.8MM deal in 2017
    Brooks was limited to 18 games last season, mainly due to a toe injury that required surgery in January. He has come back at full strength and started every game this season for the Grizzlies. He’s the team’s third-leading scorer at 13.3 PPG while making 38.7 percent of his 3-pointers. It’s a foregone conclusion the Grizzlies will extend a $2MM qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent this summer. The 2017 second-round pick will get a substantial pay raise regardless of how his free agent journey unfolds.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Dana Gauruder <![CDATA[Harden Logging Heavy Minutes Again]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=145840 2019-11-28T21:10:41Z 2019-11-28T04:07:07Z James Harden has been logging heavy minutes and Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni isn’t sure how to reduce his workload, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle relays. Harden had played a league-high 38.9 MPG in the seven games since Eric Gordon suffered a knee injury that required surgery. “You always have concerns,” D’Antoni said. “He’s been shouldering a lot of responsibility, played a lot of minutes. We’ve had guys hurt and Eric can’t spell him. He’s got to shoulder the load of scoring all the time. So, yeah, you worry about it. I don’t have a solution (for) it.”

    Arthur Hill <![CDATA[Northwest Notes: Anthony, Teague, Nader, Thunder]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=145709 2019-11-27T00:44:02Z 2019-11-26T16:40:31Z Monday marked Carmelo Anthony‘s best game since returning to the NBA, writes Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. Anthony led all scorers with 25 points in 31 minutes as the Trail Blazers won in Chicago. He got a nice reception from Bulls fans and drew accolades from players who are happy to see him back in the league.

    “I always advocated for him to be in the NBA,” Zach LaVine said. “… He’s better than a lot of people in the NBA, and he’s still getting it done. I think it was just bigger than that, and I’m glad to see him back here. Just not tonight.”

    The performance raised questions about whether the Bulls should have given Anthony an opportunity when they had the chance. After the Rockets exiled him last season, they shipped him to Chicago in January in a cost-saving move. The Bulls waived him 10 days later. Anthony might have been able to revive his career sooner in the Windy City, but as he said after last night’s game, “They didn’t ask.”

    There’s more from the Northwest Division:

    • Jeff Teague‘s acceptance of a bench role in Minnesota is a rare move for a player in the final year of his contract, notes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Teague met with coach Ryan Saunders over the weekend before the change was finalized, sources tell Krawczynski. Rookie Jarrett Culver started alongside Andrew Wiggins last night and helped the Timberwolves win in Atlanta. Wiggins has taken on more of the playmaking duties this year, leaving Teague without a defined role in the offense. With a $19MM expiring contract, Teague may draw some interest on the trade market before the February 7 deadline.
    • Abdel Nader can expect more playing time for the Thunder with Hamidou Diallo sidelined with an elbow injury, states Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. The third-year guard lives 15 minutes away from the team’s practice facility and sometimes works on his game until 3 a.m. “I’m a little bit crazy when it comes to the work I’ve gotta put in,” Nader said. “I wanna make sure my game feels tight — my shot, my handle, everything. That’s how I feel like I get better.”
    • Paul George and Russell Westbrook, who were the Thunder’s stars last year, had their first meeting of the season Friday when the Clippers hosted the Rockets and both have landed in better situations, contends Ben Golliver of The Washington Post.
    Chris Crouse <![CDATA[NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 11/21/19]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=145338 2019-11-22T04:58:13Z 2019-11-22T02:36:49Z Here are Thursday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

    • The Wizards assigned Isaac Bonga, Admiral Schofield, and Justin Robinson to the Capital City Go-Go, the team announces on its Twitter feed. Bonga was recalled later today, as the team only sent him down for practice.
    • The Raptors are sending Dewan Hernandez back to the Raptors 905, Blake Murphy of The Athletic tweets. Hernandez saw action with the NBA club on Wednesday.
    • The Thunder have recalled Justin Patton from the Oklahoma City Blue, the team’s website relays. Patton has played six minutes for the Thunder this season.
    • The Clippers have assigned Mfiondu Kabengele and guard Derrick Walton Jr. to the Agua Caliente Clippers, the team announces. Kabengele was the No. 27 overall pick in the 2019 draft (selected by Brooklyn and traded to Los Angeles).
    • The Jazz have recalled Miye Oni and Nigel Williams-Goss from the Salt Lake City Stars, per the team’s Twitter feed. Oni has seen action in four G League games this season while Williams-Goss has played in two games.
    • The Rockets recalled Gary Clark from the Grande Valley Vipers, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle tweets. Clark should see playing time this weekend with the Rockets facing a back-to-back and Danuel House likely to be sidelined.
    Luke Adams <![CDATA[O'Connor: Could Rockets Be Kevin Love Suitor?]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=145285 2019-11-21T21:27:35Z 2019-11-21T14:50:30Z Over at The Ringer, Kevin O’Connor tries to identify a few teams that might match up with the Cavaliers in a Love trade, writing that rival team executives believe GM Koby Altman is “just posturing” when he insists Cleveland has zero interest in moving the five-time All-Star. However, O’Connor has a tough time finding ideal fits, listing the Kings, Spurs, Heat, Trail Blazers, and Rockets as some teams that might work in theory.

    Arthur Hill <![CDATA[NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 11/20/2019]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=145261 2019-11-21T13:40:59Z 2019-11-21T03:48:42Z Here are Wednesday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA G League:

    • The Wizards recalled Admiral Schofield and Justin Robinson from their Capital City affiliate, according to a tweet from the team.
    • The Nuggets assigned Jarred Vanderbilt to Rio Grande Valley, the team tweeted. Denver doesn’t have a direct G League affiliate.
    • The Raptors sent Malcolm Miller to Raptors 905, tweets Blake Murphy of The Athletic. The assignment was optional, but Miller accepted it for the chance to get more playing time.
    • In leftover moves from Tuesday, the Sixers assigned Shake Milton to Delaware and the Rockets sent Gary Clark to Rio Grande Valley, according to the G League website.
    Arthur Hill <![CDATA[Carmelo Anthony Talks About NBA Return]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=145242 2019-11-21T13:51:40Z 2019-11-21T00:13:47Z Carmelo Anthony‘s first NBA game in 12 months wasn’t remarkable, but being back on the court was satisfying enough for the future Hall of Famer. Anthony scored 10 points and made just four of 14 shots in a loss at New Orleans, but he showed he can still contribute to an NBA team after a year in exile.

    Anthony’s long wait to return to the league ended last week when he got an offer to sign a non-guaranteed deal with Portland. It gave Anthony a shot at redemption after brief, disappointing stays with the Thunder and Rockets.

    “The greatest feeling of all was to feel wanted by a group of guys who believe in me and my talent and what I can bring to the game,” Anthony said after Tuesday’s contest. “It wasn’t just the players. It was the coaching staff. They really showed a strong level of belief in me and what I can still do.” (Twitter link from Joe Freeman of The Oregonian).

    Anthony’s return wasn’t just an important moment for him, notes Jason Quick of The Athletic. Many of his peers also wanted to be part of the experience. Pelicans guard Josh Hart took a picture as Anthony warmed up. Ex-players Nick Van Exel and Antonio Daniels captured it on video. Social media was filled with comments from players and celebrities welcoming Anthony back to the league.

    “I think the expression is ‘game recognizes game,’” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said of the attention.

    Quick adds that many players are dismayed about the way Anthony’s career has fizzled in his later years. While other stars get farewell tours, Anthony was scapegoated for a bad situation in New York, seemed to be a poor fit in Oklahoma City, then was told to leave the team after 10 games in Houston. Some believe he was blackballed around the league, and they want him to enjoy a more gracious farewell from the game.

    “I feel like it’s been an unfair shake towards him,” new teammate Rodney Hood said. “Everybody knows how talented he is. But you know how it is in this league; once there is a narrative about a guy, it sticks with you and follows you. The fact that he got waived was crazy to me, and that nobody picked him up earlier than now is crazy as well. I’ve always advocated for his return.”

    Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni insists Anthony doesn’t deserve to be blamed for what happened in Houston. He said last year’s team, which stumbled out of the gate, wasn’t “structurally ready” to play and had problems that extended far beyond Anthony.

    “It wasn’t his fault,” D’Antoni said. “It was everybody. We just got off to a slow start and wanted to go a little different route. He did everything we asked, and he was good when he was here. I hope it works (in Portland). He’s a leader. There was nothing at all, not even a hint of him not doing what we asked or trying, or all of that. It just, for us, for whatever reason, it just wasn’t a good fit at that time.”

    Anthony got a few calls from interested teams after the Rockets cut ties with him last November, but no one ever came close to an offer, according to Quick. He eventually told agent Leon Rose not to contact him unless a deal was near completion.

    Anthony remained on the Rockets’ roster, although inactive, for two months. In a move to clear cap room, Houston sent him to the Bulls in January, along with enough cash to cover his salary. Ten days later, Chicago placed him on waivers.

    Blazers star Damian Lillard, who tried to recruit Anthony to Portland in the summer of 2017, was shocked that he spent a whole year out of the NBA.

    “It wasn’t like Melo did something crazy to get kicked out of the league,” Lillard said. “A player of his caliber, without a reputation for doing wild stuff, and there’s not a real reason for him not to get an opportunity? It was weird. And I think that’s why so many people are in support of him, because they respect him, they are a fan of him, and they know he can still play.”

    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Rockets Notes: Roster Spot, Clemons, Gordon]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=145105 2019-11-19T14:58:39Z 2019-11-19T14:58:39Z
  • The Rockets have no immediate plans to fill the roster spot that opened after they released Ryan Anderson on Monday, tweets Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com. However, Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle notes (via Twitter) that the club is planning to eventually have to convert two-way player Chris Clemons to a standard contract.
  • Rockets guard Eric Gordon, who underwent a procedure on his knee last week, said he has been dealing with that injury for “almost a year.” It got worse recently and Gordon is relieved to have addressed it via surgery (video link via Mark Berman of FOX 26 Houston). The veteran guard said his goal is to return by around Christmas, which matches the six-week recovery timeline initially announced by the team.
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    Alex Kirschenbaum <![CDATA[Poll: Will James Harden Average 40 PPG?]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=145032 2019-11-20T03:49:52Z 2019-11-19T00:59:47Z James Harden might make NBA history this season, the kind of history that only one all-time luminary has ever achieved before. James Harden might average at least 40 points a game.

    The 30 year-old Rockets guard may scale a height only heretofore reached by the Big Dipper himself, Wilt Chamberlain. Wilt the Stilt averaged 50.4 PPG in 1961/62 for the then-Philadelphia Warriors. He reached a similarly insane 44.8 PPG the next season, after the team had relocated and rebranded itself the San Francisco Warriors. Keep in mind, the three-point line did not exist in the NBA until the 1979/80 season.

    Harden is currently averaging an eyeball-popping 39.5 PPG in 2019/20, to go along with 7.8 APG and 5.6 RPG. Yes, it might just be a scorching hot start, just 13 games into this young season. But the reason Harden might really hit the big 4-0 is fairly simple: he actually is not shooting that well yet.

    His 39.5 PPG tally is being achieved while he shoots 41.7% from the field and 33.2% from behind the three-point line. He is shooting 14.6 long-range attempts a night. For his career, Harden is connecting on 44.2% of his field goals and 36.4% of his three-point tries. That efficiency was not abetted by the 49 points Harden scored when the Rockets beat the Timberwolves 125-105 on November 15th. He connected on just 16 of a career-high 41 field goal attempts.

    Harden was named his conference’s Player of the Week for his phenomenal offensive work last week (he received the same honor the week prior). His highest scoring average prior to this season was a league-leading 36.1 PPG, achieved last year.

    Outside of the obvious big personnel change this season, why is Harden scoring so much? As was mentioned in today’s edition of the Brian Windhorst and the Hoop Collective Podcast on ESPN, a pace change has been key. In replacing half-court specialist Chris Paul with speed demon Russell Westbrook, the Rockets ramped up their pace, which has translated into more possessions, and thus more opportunities for Harden to score. Houston has transitioned from the 26th-fastest team in the NBA last season to the third-fastest so far this year.

    Harden’s scoring has helped his Rockets keep pace in the chippy Western Conference as they battle through injuries to several core pieces. The team has won its last seven games in a row after starting out the season 3-3. They currently sit second in the West. Houston will try to strengthen its record when the Trail Blazers come to town tonight.

    So will The Beard average 40 points a game in a season? Will he at least come close to that lofty number? Weigh in with our poll, then head to the comment section below to share your thoughts!

    Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.