Luc Mbah a Moute

Rockets Notes: Rivers, Paul, Knight, Mbah A Moute

Austin Rivers is downplaying talk of a feud with Chris Paul during their five years as Clippers teammates, relays Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Rivers, who officially signed with the Rockets yesterday, points out that he never would have been welcome in Houston if Paul hadn’t agreed to the move.

“I have no problems with Chris, as you guys will see,” Rivers said. “Obviously, if I had a problem with Chris I wouldn’t be here. Chris has a huge input on this team as he should. He’s a Hall of Fame point guard. If that was that serious, I wouldn’t be here. That will show you that’s not real.”

Paul’s latest hamstring injury, suffered last Thursday, opened the door for Rivers to become a Rocket. Houston needs backcourt help with Paul out of action for at least two weeks, and Rivers was looking for playing time on a contending team after agreeing to a buyout with the Suns, who acquired him from the Wizards earlier this month.

“This is a team I always admired and wanted to play for with (coach Mike) D’Antoni and the way they play, getting up and down,” Rivers added. “It’s a very fitting place.”

There’s more today from Houston:

  • Even though he just joined the team and hasn’t played in more than a week, Rivers won’t be on a minutes restriction as he makes his debut with the Rockets today, tweets Houston play-by-play man Craig Ackerman.
  • The addition of Rivers will cut into Brandon Knight‘s playing time, but that was the plan all along, Feigen writes in a question-and-answer column. Knight missed a year and a half with an ACL tear and only had a couple of practices before taking the court. The Rockets intended to bring him along slowly and didn’t want to increase his minutes because of Paul’s injury.
  • Rockets management had concerns about the condition of Luc Mbah a Moute‘s shoulder, which limited what they were willing to offer him in free agency, Feigen adds in the same piece. Mbah a Moute, who got $4.3MM to rejoin the Clippers, has only played four games this season, but it has been a knee issue rather than the shoulder that has limited him.

Rockets Notes: House, Ariza, LeBron

As the Rockets got off to a rough start, a big issue plaguing the team was a lack of depth, especially on the wing. With Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute departing in the offseason and Carmelo Anthony deemed too much of a negative to be part of the rotation, the Rockets were left with James Ennis and not much else.

That is where the emergence of Danuel House comes into play. As Jonathan Feigen writes for The Houston Chronicle, House has stepped up in recent games and provided a much-needed lift for the Rockets. House insists he is focused on hitting shots, playing solid defense and providing energy off the bench, especially as Ennis recently went down with an injury and Eric Gordon has been inserted into the starting lineup.

The Rockets have started to turn things around in recent games, with House providing an unexpected jolt off the bench just when the team needed one.

There’s more from the Rockets:

  • The Rockets have surely missed Ariza’s presence and leadership, which Tania Ganguli details for The Los Angeles Times. Gerald Green and P.J. Tucker are quoted on the value that Ariza can bring to a locker room, especially on the Rockets team that had high aspirations last season.
  • A brief but flashy storyline in the offseason was the potential that LeBron James would join his friend Chris Paul and defending MVP James Harden in Houston to form a new super team. Of course, that never happened and Dave McMenamin of ESPN reveals (via Twitter) that James didn’t give much thought to actually joining the Rockets.
  • The Rockets recently emerged as a potential suitor for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the 25-year-old shooting guard from the Lakers. Caldwell-Pope can provide defense and 3-point shooting, which the Rockets could use more of moving forward.

Pacific Notes: Bridges, Suns, Mbah a Moute, Warriors

The Suns have been struggling through an extended rebuild for several years now, which has led to them piling up plenty of young players and prospects that have had to compete for playing time. First it was Dragan Bender and Marquese Chriss, now it appears to be Mikal Bridges and Josh Jackson. As Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer writes, Bridges appears to have the edge moving forward as a result of the added shooting he can provide.

Bridges has impressed so far this season for the Suns while Jackson has only continued to disappoint, which has led to inconsistent playing time and opportunities for the sophomore wing. With shooting being emphasized all over the league, it’s no surprise that Bridges is getting more opportunities, especially considering that he has been solid on the defensive end for a rookie.

Moving forward, it will be interesting to see how the playing time and opportunities play out on the wing for the Suns, especially as they will likely add another top prospect to the roster for next season.

There’s more from the Pacific division:

  • As the lopsided losses continue to pile up for the Suns, frustration is mounting within the locker room. As Duane Rankin writes for Arizona Central, there have been numerous instances of friction and disconnect throughout the team, especially because the Suns were looking to be more competitive this season.
  • After only appearing in four games early in the season, it appears that Luc Mbah a Moute finally has a timetable for his return, as Mirjam Swanson of The Orange County Register reveals that the Clippers expect him to return in a couple of weeks from his left knee injury.
  • As the Warriors continue to fight through a season full of turmoil and injuries, Nick Friedell of ESPN writes that the team is still looking to find its joy, which is much harder to regain as it isn’t a tangible goal or accomplishment such as a championship ring or trophy.

Texas Notes: Mbah a Moute, Anthony, Mavericks, DeRozan

Luc Mbah a Moute only played one season with the Rockets, but he admits it’s going to be an odd feeling when he faces his former teammates tonight, relays Mirjam Swanson of The Daily Bulletin. Mbah a Moute came to Houston as a free agent last summer at the urging of Chris Paul, then returned to the Clippers over the offseason after receiving a one-year, $4.3MM offer.

“It’s always, always [weird],” said Mbah a Moute, who has been with six organizations in his 10-year career. “Especially that team, we had a really good team and a chance to do something special, so it’s going to be weird, but I look forward to it.”

Mbah a Moute provided a strong defensive presence off the bench for the Rockets. He averaged 7.5 PPG and shot .364 from 3-point range, but a late-season shoulder injury limited his effectiveness in the playoffs.

There’s more NBA news from the Lone Star State:

  • Carmelo Anthony seems like an uncomfortable fit with a Rockets team that emphasizes 3-point shooting, and a look at the stats shows he will have to change his game to be effective in Houston, according to Ben Alamar of ESPN.
  • The future the Mavericks envision was on display in Saturday’s win over the Timberwolves, writes Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. First-round pick Luka Doncic had 26 points and six rebounds, while last year’s star rookie, Dennis Smith Jr., poured in 19 points, including the game-winning shot. “Hey, if that was a peek at the future, it’s looking good,” said J.J. Barea. “Great win. And you see Luka. He just plays the game. And Junior, he had foul trouble, stuck with it and made the big shot. He took a tough shot and made it. They’re tough.”
  • DeMar DeRozan has adapted quickly to his new situation with the Spurs, relays Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express News. DeRozan had a difficult time changing teams after nine seasons in Toronto, but he’s averaging 28.0 PPG through his first two games with San Antonio. “He’s absorbed everything we’ve given him so far, knowing full well it’s a new system,” coach Gregg Popovich said. “It will take some time for him to feel totally comfortable, but he’s highly intelligent. It’s the NBA, it’s not rocket science so he’s picking it up pretty quickly.”
  • Former Spurs forward DeJuan Blair is back in the organization after being drafted by Austin in Saturday’s G League draft, McDonald adds in the same story.

Contract Details: Redick, Bertans, Clippers, O’Quinn

J.J. Redick‘s new deal with the Sixers gives him plenty of protection in the unlikely event that Philadelphia wants to trade him. Because he re-signed on a one-year deal and will have Early Bird rights at the end of it, he receives the ability to block any trade involving him during the 2018/19 league year, since he’d lose those Early Bird rights in the event that he’s moved.

On top of that, Redick has a 7.5% trade kicker in his new deal, according to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link), which would give him a bonus if the Sixers do trade him and he approves the deal. That bonus would be worth about $919K, since Redick’s new contract has a value of $12.25MM, per Pincus.

Here are a few more details on newly-signed contracts, courtesy of Pincus:

  • The Spurs‘ new two-year agreement with Davis Bertans has a base value of $7MM annually, but Bertans can also earn $250K in unlikely incentives per year (Twitter link). The deal can be worth up to $14.5MM in total.
  • The Clippers split their full mid-level exception right down the middle, with Luc Mbah a Moute and Mike Scott each receiving $4,320,500 (Twitter link). L.A. will be hard-capped this season as a result of using the full MLE.
  • Jarred Vanderbilt, the 41st overall pick in this year’s draft, got a three-year, minimum-salary contract from the Nuggets with two fully guaranteed seasons (Twitter link). The third year will be non-guaranteed until July 15, 2020.
  • Kyle O’Quinn received the Pacers‘ full room exception ($4.449MM) on his one-year contract (Twitter link).

Clippers Sign Luc Mbah A Moute

JULY 11: The Clippers have officially signed Mbah a Moute, according to the NBA’s transactions log.

JULY 9: Rockets free agent forward Luc Mbah a Moute has agreed to a one-year contract with the Clippers, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. The contract will be worth $4.3MM, Wojnarowski adds in another tweet.

Mbah a Moute had expressed dissatisfaction in his negotiations with Houston this month with the Rockets apparently offering just the veteran’s minimum. The Spurs, Lakers, Wizards, and Sixers had also reportedly expressed some level of interest in Mbah a Moute.

The Clippers essentially split their mid-level exception to acquire both Mbah a Moute and another forward, Mike Scott, according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe.

The loss of Mbah a Moute appears to increase the possibility that Carmelo Anthony will wind up in a Houston uniform. The Rockets have now lost two key defensive wings in free agency with Trevor Ariza joining the Suns.

Familiarity played a role in Mbah a Moute’s decision, as he played two seasons for Doc Rivers and the Clippers before joining the Rockets prior to last season. He averaged 7.5 PPG in 25.6 MPG in his limited offensive role while making an above-average 36.4% of his long-range attempts.

In terms of the Clippers, the addition of Mbah a Moute gives them 14 guaranteed contracts and three others – Milos Teodosic, Patrick Beverley and CJ Williams – that are partially guaranteed or non-guaranteed, Bobby Marks of ESPN notes. Los Angeles now has $118MM in salary, $5.7MM below the luxury-tax threshold.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Free Agent Rumors: Mbah A Moute, Hood, N. Young

While Clint Capela may be the Rockets‘ most important free agent remaining, he’s not the only one the team has to worry about. A person close to the situation and with knowledge of negotiations tells Kelly Iko of RocketsWire that Houston also hasn’t progressed toward a deal in talks with UFA forward Luc Mbah a Moute.

According to Iko, Mbah a Moute is seeking more money and long-term security than he received from the Rockets in 2017/18, but the club is offering him another minimum-salary deal. Iko’s source suggests that the Spurs, Lakers, Clippers, Wizards, and Sixers have all expressed some level of interest in Mbah a Moute as well.

Here are a few more free agent notes and rumors:

  • Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link) describes the Rodney Hood sweepstakes as a three-team race involving the Cavaliers, Kings, and Bulls. Sacramento and Chicago are two of the only teams with the cap room necessary to make a viable offer to Hood — we wrote about the Kings’ interest in the RFA swingman earlier today.
  • Free agent swingman Nick Young has received some interest from the Kings, Grizzlies, Rockets, Cavaliers, Jazz, and Timberwolves, among others, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News. According to Wolfson, Young views Minnesota as as “good opportunity” but the club’s interest hasn’t been as aggressive as it was a year ago.
  • The Cavaliers had a group in Las Vegas this morning to see free agent wing Treveon Graham work out, league sources tell TNT’s David Aldridge (Twitter link). The Cavs have “strong interest” in Graham, who is drawing interest from the Timberwolves too, says Aldridge.

Free Agent Rumors: Mbah A Moute, Capela, Nwaba

While the Rockets secured their top target in free agency over the weekend when they reached a four-year, maximum-salary contract agreement with Chris Paul, the club has plenty of other free agents to address.

Houston agreed to re-sign Gerald Green, but lost Trevor Ariza to Phoenix, increasing the pressure to re-sign Luc Mbah a Moute. For his part, Mbah a Moute is very open to a return, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle.

“Of course, I want to be here, yeah,” Mbah a Moute said. “I think we had a great year last year. I had a good year. The team did great, a game away from the Finals. Hopefully, we’ll bring everybody back. I know Trevor left. But to bring everybody else back and have the same team and try to go at it again, (that) is what I’m hoping to do. We’ll see what happens.”

Here are a few other free agent notes and rumors, including more on the Rockets:

  • Clint Capela is perhaps the top free agent still on the board, and his restricted free agency will be fascinating to watch. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported earlier this week that – after meeting with the Rockets – Capela’s agent called at least 10 teams around the league, perhaps exploring whether any club might be willing to do an offer sheet (Twitter link via Ben DuBose). However, Orazio Cauchi of Sportando hears from a source that potential suitors are wary of Houston matching any offer.
  • Cauchi’s source suggests that Capela may be leaning toward signing his qualifying offer, which would allow the big man to become an unrestricted free agent and sign with any team in 2019. Of course, that could be a negotiating tactic — if the Rockets are worried about the possibility of Capela bolting a year from now, it may push them to increase their current offer to him. For what it’s worth, the initial offer from Houston was considered “disappointing” by Capela’s camp, according to Cauchi’s source.
  • Bulls restricted free agent David Nwaba has received a “barrage” of interest from around the NBA, tweets Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports. We heard earlier this week that Chicago was open to sign-and-trade offers for Nwaba.
  • Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN.com passes along some chatter on free agency from NBA executives at the Utah Summer League this week, while Sean Deveney of The Sporting News identifies some of free agency’s winners and losers so far.

Wizards Express Interest In Crawford, Mbah A Moute, Others

The Wizards lost one key member of their bench when Mike Scott reached an agreement with the Clippers on Monday, but the team has remained active in search of potential free agent additions.

According to Candace Buckner of The Washington Post (Twitter links), the Wizards have expressed interest in a number of veteran free agents, including Jamal Crawford, Luc Mbah a Moute, Dante Cunningham, and Willie Reed. Ty Lawson, who finished last season in D.C., also remains a possibility to return, Buckner adds.

The Wizards’ backcourt is getting pretty crowded, with Tomas Satoransky and newly-acquired Austin Rivers slotting in behind John Wall and Bradley Beal. Jodie Meeks and rookie Troy Brown could also see some time at the two, so it’s not clear whether Crawford, who will want a featured role off the bench, would be a good fit in Washington.

However, Mbah a Moute, Cunningham, and Reed make more sense as potential targets for the Wizards. Mbah a Moute and Cunningham are versatile forwards capable of knocking down three-pointers, while Reed is a big man who could add depth to a Wizards frontcourt that no longer features Marcin Gortat.

The Wizards have also been linked to Dwight Howard, Jeff Green, Treveon Graham, and Thomas Robinson, among other free agents.

Spears’ Latest: Crawford, Rockets, Rondo, Evans

We heard on Thursday that multiple Warriors players are lobbying for the front office to go after Jamal Crawford in free agency, but Golden State isn’t the only team that will kick the tires on the veteran scorer. According to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated, the Pelicans, Sixers, Cavaliers, and Nuggets are also expected to show interest in Crawford, who is focusing on finding the right fit.

“For any player in free agency, fit and situation is so important,” Crawford told Spears. “You see players in one situation and they go to another and they look totally different. I’ve been around long enough to know that the player didn’t change. May just be the situation that he’s in. There is nothing wrong with that either. It’s all a part of growing and taking something positive out of that.

“For me, fit and situation may be even more important, because coming off the bench, you have to be able to make something happen for your team in a smaller amount of time,” Crawford continued. “So I truly have to have the right fit, and that was part of the reason I opted out (of his contract with the Timberwolves).”

Spears passes along several more notes on free-agents-to-be, so let’s round up the highlights…

  • In addition to working on re-signing Chris Paul and Clint Capela, the Rockets will also make an effort to retain Luc Mbah a Moute and Gerald Green, according to Spears, who suggests that Trevor Ariza could end up as the odd man out in Houston.
  • Rajon Rondo and DeMarcus Cousins are good friends, but Rondo would like to re-sign with the Pelicans regardless of whether Cousins stays or goes, per Spears.
  • The Grizzlies have interest in re-signing Tyreke Evans, but there’s a belief that he’ll be too expensive for Memphis to retain him, according to Spears. The Grizzlies don’t have Evans’ Bird rights, so they can only offer him their mid-level exception.
  • Although Avery Bradley is considered likely to land elsewhere, the Clippers do have interest in re-signing him, a source tells Spears.