Jock Landale

Rockets Notes: Brooks, Sengun, Landale, Porter

Dillon Brooks‘ strong World Cup performance for Canada – which earned its first-ever medal at the event – came as no surprise to Rockets general manager Rafael Stone, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (subscription required). Brooks’ combination of scoring (15.1 PPG), shooting (.588 3PT%), and defense were what Stone was counting on when Houston signed him to a four-year, $86MM contract in July.

“I’m really happy for Dillon,” Stone said. “Largely, he’s the player that we thought we were signing. So, it’s not at all surprising. But it’s great. And more so than any player I can really remember in recent memory, there’s a narrative about him that’s odd and wrong. And I think kind of the whole world over the last week has kind of owned that he’s a really good basketball player.

“The thing he does at a truly elite level, in a funny way is the one thing that every fan and every coach says is the most important thing. Every single day, every single possession, he competes and he’s always ready. And so, it’s kind of funny that that guy, who embodies that ethos, has taken as (much criticism) in the past few months as he has. But I also think … people are going to realize he’s a really good player. And most importantly, he just competes his butt off. Obviously, we really like him. He played like we would expect him to, and we’re really excited to get him back and get him integrated.”

Here’s more on the Rockets:

  • Although Turkey wasn’t part of the 2023 World Cup, Turkish center Alperen Sengun suited up for his national team during an Olympic pre-qualifying tournament this summer. The Rockets liked what he saw from the young center at that event, as Feigen relays. “Alpi is on the path we want him to be on. I thought he was moving really, really well,” Stone said. “I thought his decision-making was good. I liked his defensive effort, overall.”
  • Stone said he expects the entire Rockets roster to be healthy for the start of training camp next month, per Feigen (Twitter link). Jock Landale missed the World Cup due to an ankle injury and hasn’t been cleared for 5-on-5 work, but should be soon, per Stone.
  • Prosecutors at Kevin Porter Jr.‘s arraignment in New York City on Tuesday stated that his alleged attack on his girlfriend left her with a fractured neck vertebra and a deep cut above her right eye, according to Michael R. Sisak of The Associated Press. Manhattan’s assistant district attorney Mirah Curzer referred to the incident as a “serious domestic violence case” and indicated that Porter has a history of abusing his girlfriend, former WNBA player Kysre Gondrezick. The Rockets guard, who wasn’t required to enter a plea during Tuesday’s court appearance, was ordered to post $75K in cash or obtain a $100K bond to secure his release.

World Cup Notes: Canada Vs. Spain, Australia, Finland, Egypt

Spain’s Juancho Hernangomez and Willy Hernangomez are the players that Canada’s Dillon Brooks is most concerned about as the teams prepare for their showdown on Sunday, writes Antonis Stroggylakis of Eurohoops. It’s a high-stakes meeting that will determine who will move on to the quarterfinals and who will be eliminated, and although both nations have rosters loaded with NBA players, Brooks believes the Hernangomez brothers have many ways to control the game.

“They create a lot of mismatches for their team and the other teams,” Brooks said. “We got to match up their physicality and play harder than them.”

Neither team expected to be on the brink of elimination so early, but things changed on Friday as Spain lost to Latvia while Canada fell to Brazil, setting up Sunday’s do-or-die contest. Brooks’ teammate, RJ Barrett, is worried about the advantage that Spain has through more exposure to international competition.

“Their biggest thing is their experience,” Barrett said. “Many of them are EuroLeague champions. They have guys who’ve been playing FIBA basketball basically their whole lives. That’s what we’re going up against.”

There’s more on the World Cup:

  • Australia needs to evaluate its national team after being knocked out early, contends Olgun Uluc of ESPN. The Australians’ efforts to mix older and younger talent haven’t been successful, Uluc adds, and his solution is to build the team around Josh Giddey, with Patty Mills, Josh Green and Jock Landale holding the only other guaranteed spots for the 2024 Olympics. “I think we’re in the process of change, and style of play — both offensively and defensively — and we’re all disappointed but I’m excited where this thing can go,” coach Brian Goorjian said after his team was eliminated by Slovenia. “Definitely a clearer picture after playing this tournament.” Goorjian’s contract expires after the World Cup, but he’s expected to coach the Boomers in the Olympics, according to Uluc.
  • Finland appears headed to a pre-Olympic qualifier after defeating Venezuela on Saturday, according to Eurohoops. Lauri Markkanen scored 32 points as Finland picked up its second victory of the tournament.
  • A two-point loss to New Zealand on Saturday prevented Egypt from earning an automatic Olympic bid, per NetsDaily. The team, which features Brooklyn training camp invite Patrick Gardner, will have to earn a spot through next summer’s qualifying tournament.

International Notes: Landale, Jackson, Kaminsky, James, Loyd

Rockets center Jock Landale confirmed on Twitter that he won’t be part of the Australian national team that will compete in the World Cup beginning next week. As we detailed on Thursday, Landale suffered an ankle injury during an exhibition game against South Sudan this week.

“Sitting here this morning knowing the Boomers are about to take off to Japan and I’m absolutely kicking myself I’m not right there beside them,” Landale wrote. “All the build up and preparation we go through as athletes just to have it yanked away 12 hours beforehand sucks.

“… Focus turns to supporting them how I can and preparing for this season with the Rockets,” Landale added.

Landale was said to be undergoing an MRI on his injured ankle on Friday. The results of that MRI and a diagnosis have yet to be reported, but hopefully the big man will be back to full health by the time the NBA season begins in October.

Here’s more from around the international basketball world:

  • Former NBA first-round pick Justin Jackson is believed to be receiving some interest from Israeli team Hapoel Tel Aviv, per a Walla Sport report (hat tip to Sportando). The veteran forward, who has played for six teams since entering the NBA as a 15th overall pick in 2017, appeared in 23 games for Boston in 2022/23. He was traded to Oklahoma City and waived in February.
  • Having signed with the Belgrade-based team KK Partizan, veteran NBA big man Frank Kaminsky noted that he has Serbian roots on his mother’s side and said that he spoke to former Hawks teammate Bogdan Bogdanovic before he agreed to join Partizan. “I called him first when the possibility arose to move to Partizan,” Kaminsky said, per Eurohoops. “He said a lot of nice things about the club and the city, which helped me make the decision to sign the contract.”
  • Appearing on the URBONUS podcast with Donatas Urbonas of, former NBA guard Mike James confirmed that the plan is for him to remain with AS Monaco alongside new addition Kemba Walker for the 2023/24 season. James – who was rumored to be a Suns target early in the offseason – has one more season left on his contract with Monaco and sounds like he’s looking forward to exploring his options in 2024. “I think for this season, I’m here,” James said. “Free agency is the next summer and we’ll see what happens.”
  • Another former NBA guard who is playing for AS Monaco, Jordan Loyd, is expected to miss at least the next two or three months after undergoing lumbar spine surgery, tweets Urbonas.

Rockets’ Landale Injures Ankle, Likely To Miss World Cup

New Rockets big man Jock Landale suffered a left ankle injury on Thursday while playing for the Australian national team in an exhibition game against South Sudan in Melbourne, reports Olgun Uluc of ESPN.

The severity of the injury isn’t yet known, but Australian head coach Brian Goorjian said after the game that he doesn’t expect Landale to be available for the World Cup, which tips off next week. According to Goorjian, the center will undergo an MRI on his ankle on Friday and won’t travel with the team to Japan (Twitter link via Uluc).

It’s an unfortunate turn of events for Landale, who enjoyed a mini-breakout season in 2022/23 in Phoenix. He appeared in 69 regular season games for the Suns, averaging 6.6 points and 4.1 rebounds in 14.2 minutes per night, then posted 6.5 PPG and 4.3 RPG on 66.7% shooting in six contests (17.6 MPG) vs. Denver in the Western Conference Semifinals.

Landale’s strong showing as a reserve center behind Deandre Ayton earned him a four-year, $32MM offer from the Rockets in free agency. Only the first year of that contract is guaranteed, but it will still assure the 27-year-old of an $8MM salary in 2023/24 after he made the minimum in his first two NBA seasons.

Landale’s injury should open the door for Jack White of the Thunder to be part of Australia’s 12-man World Cup roster, as Uluc tweets. White had previously looked likely to be the odd man out of the 13-man group that the Boomers had been using in their pre-World Cup exhibitions.

With about a month-and-a-half until the Rockets’ training camp opens, there’s still plenty of time for Landale to recover in time to be available for the start of the regular season as long as the injury isn’t too significant. We should know more after he undergoes his MRI.

Rockets Rumors: Lucas, Powell, Landale, VanVleet

Longtime Rockets assistant John Lucas won’t be part of Ime Udoka’s staff but he’ll remain in the organization, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reports. He’ll move to a front office role, working as an assistant to GM Rafael Stone.

Lucas, a former Cavaliers, Spurs and Sixers head coach, joined Mike D’Antoni’s staff in Houston during the 2016/17 season and has been with the franchise since then.

We have more on the Rockets:

  • Houston’s first-year offer to Mavericks free agent Dwight Powell was higher than the $8MM Jock Landale will receive next season as part of his four-year, $32MM contract agreement with Houston, Marc Stein reports in a Substack post. Powell decided to take the Mavs’ three-year offer, even though it totaled only $12MM. Only the first year of Landale’s contract is guaranteed — it’s probably safe to assume the same was true of the offer for Powell.
  • Speaking of Landale, he knows he has to show the Rockets he’s worthy of getting the full value to his contract, he told ESPN’s Olgun Uluc. “I felt as though I’d worked my way to when I played and when I played heavy minutes, I always produced,” Landale said. “If I can get the trust of a coach who has the front office behind me, and they’re all supportive of the decision, absolutely I believe I can play to that contract. I also feel that, given it’s non-guaranteed, there’s no ability for me to take my foot off the gas, and I feel that’s really important and plays into my character a bit. I’ve still got to earn everything.”
  • While they paid an extremely high price financially, the Rockets finally have a much-needed stabilizing presence, leader and offensive connector in Fred VanVleet, Kelly Iko of The Athletic writes. Houston’s offense lacked cohesion and control in recent seasons and VanVleet’s presence should change that.

Rockets Notes: Free Agency, Green, Lopez, Whitmore, Tate

The Rockets were the most active team on the free agent market this weekend — signing four players and jettisoning a significant amount of their young talent — but their future will still be built around the core they put together in the last three drafts, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle.

The big-money additions of Fred VanVleet and Dillon Brooks, along with smaller deals for Jock Landale and Jeff Green, are designed to complement Jalen Green, Alperen Sengun, Jabari Smith and Amen Thompson, according to Feigen. Kevin Porter Jr. should also be considered part of that group, Feigen adds, as he remains in the team’s long-term plans along with Tari Eason and Cam Whitmore.

All the new additions will have clear roles alongside those players, Feigen notes. VanVleet will run the offense for a team that often seemed disorganized during its three years of rebuilding. He also improves the defense with his ability to get steals and deflections and has shown that he can be effective while playing off the ball. Brooks will be the team’s best perimeter defender, while Landale and Green will back up Sengun and Smith.

There’s more from Houston:

  • Green’s new $6MM contract is small enough to be absorbed with the team’s $7.7MM room exception before the Brooks trade is completed, Feigen adds. However, he says the more likely scenario is that the team will keep the exception open and use it, along with roughly $4.5MM in remaining cap space, to see if it can sign anyone else.
  • The Rockets are surveying the market to find guard depth with the money they have left, according to Kelly Iko of The Athletic. Iko states that a veteran who can handle either backcourt position would be ideal for the current roster.
  • Iko cites “genuine internal disappointment” among Rockets officials when center Brook Lopez opted to remain in Milwaukee instead of taking their offer, which was reported to be around $40MM for two years. Having Landale and Green on the roster instead of Lopez makes Sengun the clear starting center and should help with his development, Iko notes.
  • The roster additions mean the Rockets can afford to be patient with rookie Cam Whitmore, with Iko suggesting that the 20th overall pick could see some time in the G League.
  • Teams have asked about swingman Jae’Sean Tate during the offseason, but the Rockets still appear to view him as an important part of their future, Iko tweets.

Rockets Sign Jock Landale

JULY 6: Landale is officially a Rocket, according to a press release from the team.

JULY 1: The Rockets have agreed to sign free agent center Jock Landale, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Landale was originally tendered a qualifying offer by the Suns, but they withdrew it, making him an unrestricted free agent.

Landale’s new deal will be worth $32MM over four years, according to Charania. However, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN clarifies (via Twitter) that only the first season will be fully guaranteed. It will be non-guaranteed in years two and three, with a fourth-year team option, tweets Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

Landale, 27, had a solid season in Phoenix in 2022/23 as a reserve behind starting center Deandre Ayton, averaging 6.6 points and 4.1 rebounds in 14.2 minutes per game across 69 appearances. He also played well in the Suns’ second-round series loss to Denver, including scoring 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting in the Game 6 loss that ended the team’s season.

Barring a sign-and-trade, it looks like Landale will be signed into the Rockets’ cap room. Although the room exception is worth $7.7MM+ this season, it can only be used to sign contracts up to three years.

Jock Landale To Become Unrestricted Free Agent

The Suns have decided to withdraw their qualifying offer to Jock Landale, making the center an unrestricted free agent, league sources tell Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports (Twitter links).

As Fischer explains, the Suns plan to target minimum-salaried players for backup center minutes behind Deandre Ayton. Landale’s QO was $2,219,706, which is slightly above the projected minimum.

Withdrawing the qualifying offer means Phoenix will lose the right of first refusal, so the Suns will be unable to match a contract offer for Landale and he is free to sign with any team. Still, it’s worth noting that the Suns will keep his Early Bird rights if other plans fall through, notes Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports (via Twitter).

Landale previously expressed interest in signing a long-term contract with Phoenix, effusively praising the city, fans and the organization. Fischer reported earlier today that the Suns planned to re-sign the 27-year-old, but obviously there was a change of plans.

The Australian becomes one of the more interesting backup options in a market that isn’t exactly flush with quality big men. He averaged 6.6 PPG and 4.1 RPG in 69 regular season games with the Suns (14.2 MPG), and played quite well in the team’s second-round playoff loss to the Nuggets, who went on to win their first championship.

Western FA Rumors: D-Lo, Lakers, H. Jones, Suns, Warriors

There are “strong” indications that the Lakers are trending toward a new two-year deal with free agent point guard D’Angelo Russell, reports Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. According to Fischer, that two-year contract could be worth in the neighborhood of $40MM in total, though the second season may be a team option or non-guaranteed.

While the Lakers have interest in re-signing both Dennis Schröder and Lonnie Walker, it’s unclear which one the club is prioritizing, Fischer writes. Schröder will likely require a raise that exceeds the Non-Bird exception, so if Los Angeles uses its mid-level exception on an outside free agent, the team may have to allot its bi-annual exception to him, Fischer explains. In that scenario, it’s unclear whether the team would have enough room to re-sign Walker to a market-value deal as well while remaining below a hard cap.

Another potential path would see L.A. splits its mid-level between Schröder and a frontcourt player such as Mason Plumlee, sources tell Yahoo Sports. If Schröder doesn’t end up back with the Lakers, a reunion with Bulls coach Billy Donovan in Chicago is possible, Fischer writes. Donovan previously coached the point guard in Oklahoma City.

Finally, Fischer is one of a handful of reporters who have linked free agent forward Cam Reddish to Los Angeles. The Lakers were said to have some trade interest in Reddish – a Klutch Sports client – during each of the past two seasons. He’d be a minimum-salary target, Fischer notes.

Here are a few more free agency rumors from around the Western Conference:

  • Two forwards who had their team options declined by the Pelicans on Thursday figure to take very different paths this summer. According to Fischer, Herbert Jones will likely end up back in New Orleans on a four-year deal worth a little more than $50MM, which would presumably be his Early Bird maximum. Willy Hernangomez, on the other hand, is considered a good bet to accept a lucrative offer from a EuroLeague team rather than seeking another minimum-salary NBA deal, Fischer reports.
  • The Suns intend to bring back several of their own free agents, including Torrey Craig, Damion Lee, Jock Landale, and Josh Okogie, according to Fischer, who says agent big man Drew Eubanks is another strong candidate to end up in Phoenix. Fischer is also the latest reporter to link Yuta Watanabe and Mike James to the Suns.
  • The Lakers and Warriors are among the teams eyeing free agent guard Shake Milton, per Fischer. Free agent forward Dario Saric has also received “strong” interest from Golden State, sources tell Yahoo Sports.

Cameron Johnson, Coby White Among Players Receiving QOs

A series of players have been issued qualifying offers by their respective teams, making them restricted free agents, according to RealGM’s official NBA transaction log.

Nets forward Cameron Johnson and Bulls guard Coby White are among the most notable QO recipients within the last couple days. Johnson’s qualifying offer is worth $8,486,620, while White’s is worth $7,744,600.

For many restricted free agents, qualifying offers essentially function as placeholders, giving the team the right of first refusal on the player as long as that QO remains on the table.

It’s also a one-year contract offer that the player is free to accept at any time, which is a more viable route for some RFAs than others — Johnson, for instance, looks like a safe bet to secure a lucrative multiyear deal, so it would be a major surprise if he simply accepted his $8.5MM qualifying offer.

Besides Johnson and White, here are some of the players who have received qualifying offers this week and are now restricted free agents, per RealGM:

The deadline for teams to issue qualifying offers is Thursday, so we’ll likely get many more updates on QOs being extended to players today and tomorrow.