Tyson Chandler

Rockets Notes: Chandler, Green, Harden, Coach

Rockets center Tyson Chandler is undecided about whether he’ll continue his playing career or retire, according to Marc J. Spears of the Undefeated, who tweets that “opportunity and the state of the world” will be major factors in the 37-year-old’s decision.

Chandler originally thought he’d retire a year ago, but decided that he still had the desire to keep playing. He had an extremely limited role for the Rockets in 2019/20, appeared in just 26 contests and logging a career-low 8.4 minutes per game. His role became increasingly non-existent as the team pivoted to micro-ball — January 18 was the last time he logged more than one second of game action.

Here’s more from out of Houston:

  • Unlike Chandler, Jeff Green isn’t considering the possibility of retiring after this season. While the 34-year-old will be a free agent this offseason, he’s intent on continuing his career, tweets Spears.
  • Everything should be on the table for the Rockets and general manager Daryl Morey this offseason as they consider potential roster changes, according to Chris Herring of FiveThirtyEight. That includes considering the possibility of a James Harden trade, Herring notes.
  • Although the Rockets’ list of potential head coaching candidates starts with Tyronn Lue, there are plenty of candidates worth considering, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Feigen provides a long list of potential targets to replace Mike D’Antoni on Houston’s bench, including Jacque Vaughn, Jeff Van Gundy, David Fizdale, and many others.

Rockets Notes: House, Harden, Game 4 Loss, Chandler

Danuel House faces an uncertain future with the Rockets after leaving the Disney World complex following an alleged violation of campus rules, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. According to the NBA, House “had a guest in his hotel room over multiple hours on September 8 who was not authorized to be on campus.” His absence removes a productive player from Houston’s bench and raises questions about what the front office plans to do with him.

Feigen notes that House is one of the few Rockets who is both relatively young, at age 27, and has a team-friendly contract. House still has two seasons left on the three-year, $11.15MM deal he signed last summer. He shot 38.1% from 3-point range on a team that emphasizes long-distance shooting more than anyone else in the league, and he provides athleticism in the front court along with another ball-handler.

The Rockets have the option of trading House, but Feigen states it’s likely to be at a significant discount given his current situation. Coach Mike D’Antoni refused to comment on House’s status before tonight’s Game 5, telling reporters, “The team can address that later. Right now, just thinking about playing and winning tonight.” (Twitter link from Feigen)

There’s more on the Rockets:

  • With the season hanging in the balance, John Hollinger of The Athletic wonders if the organization will eventually consider trading James Harden. The Rockets have repeatedly gambled to try to build a championship team around Harden, but they are now in a position with no cap room, no draft picks this year, no commitment to pay the luxury tax and no young players they can trade for veterans. Harden can opt out of his current deal after the 2021/22 season, and he may be tempted to leave while he still has a shot at winning a ring.
  • There was “audible shouting” coming from Houston’s locker room following the Game 4 loss to the Lakers, Shams Charania of The Athletic says on Stadium (video link). He adds that players are “really holding each other accountable” to bring better effort and better body language for the rest of the series.
  • Veteran center Tyson Chandler has been added to the injury list for Game 5, Feigen tweets. Chandler has been declared out of tonight’s game due to neck spasms, but he hasn’t played at all in the postseason except for shooting two free throws after another player was injured.

Latest On NBA’s Investigation Into House, Rockets

4:19pm: Asked prior to Thursday night’s game about House’s status, Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni confirmed that he expects to be without the forward (Twitter link via Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle). D’Antoni is unsure whether House will be available later in the series.

The investigation is ongoing,” he said. “They’ll come out with their ruling and we’ll go from there.”


12:46pm: After word broke on Wednesday night that the NBA is investigating a potential violation of campus protocols by Rockets forward Danuel House, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported on Thursday morning that the probe is related to House allegedly allowing a female COVID-19 testing official into his hotel room. Now, Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic have provided more details on the investigation.

According to Charania and Amick, a female staffer – who is not believed to be a league employee – entered the Rockets’ team hotel on Monday night and left in the early hours of Tuesday morning. When the woman was questioned by league security, she claimed to have contact with Tyson Chandler and another player (not House), sources tell The Athletic.

The entire Rockets’ team entered a quarantine period on Tuesday due to possible coronavirus exposure, but the league’s investigation soon focused on Chandler and House, according to Charania and Amick. Those two players weren’t permitted to play in Game 3 vs. the Lakers on Tuesday night.

Although the woman didn’t implicate House and he has “vehemently denied” engaging in any improper conduct, the NBA says it has circumstantial evidence implicating House, per The Athletic’s report. The league’s investigation cleared Chandler on Wednesday and shifted its focus toward House, who has been in quarantine while the probe continues.

The Rockets and the NBPA have been supporting House, but Charania and Amick suggest that the team and the union are “virtually powerless” in the process, since the NBA is running the show on medical and protocol issues. Sources tell The Athletic that there has been some frustration about the lack of communication between the league’s investigative team and the Rockets.

Today’s latest injury report from the NBA continued to list House as out for Game 4 on Thursday night, so unless the league’s investigation clears him within the next few hours, it sounds as if he’ll likely miss a second consecutive game.

Pacific Notes: Clippers Arena, Randle, McGee, Kawhi

The Clippers‘ forthcoming Inglewood arena has received the final approval necessary from the Inglewood City Council, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN (Twitter link). The team, which announced a joint deal to buy the publicly-owned property on the arena site, now has the go-ahead to begin building its new arena in 2021.

In a press release on the club’s official site, the team notes that construction is scheduled to commence next summer. The Clippers are expected to move from the Staples Center, an arena they share with the Lakers, to their new home ahead of the 2024/25 season.

There’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • Suns coach Monty Williams has added Brian Randle to his staff as an assistant coach, per Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic (Twitter link). Randle is a former player development coach for the Timberwolves.
  • Lakers starting center JaVale McGee has been cleared to play in tonight’s pivotal Game 3 against the Rockets, per Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). McGee turned his left ankle in Game 2 of the Lakers’ series with the Rockets and was limited to just eight minutes of action. An MRI on the ankle came back negative. Mark Medina of USA Today tweets McGee will not have a minutes restriction tonight. Medina adds that bench guard Dion Waiters will not be available for Game 3.
  • Meanwhile, Rockets forward Danuel House Jr. will be unavailable tonight for personal reasons, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. Feigen adds (Twitter link) that Houston center Tyson Chandler will also miss tonight’s game for personal reasons, but that both players remain on the NBA’s Orlando campus.
  • Clippers All-Star Kawhi Leonard‘s stellar Game 3 performance showcased just how valuable he is as a two-way player, and why he was the top priority for Los Angeles in free agency ahead of the season, notes Brian Windhorst of ESPN. Leonard was named to the 2020 All-Defensive Second Team earlier this afternoon.

Rockets Notes: Game 7, Harden, Westbrook, Chandler

More than the fate of this season will be on the line for the Rockets tonight as they face the Thunder in Game 7 of their first-round series, writes Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. Houston is in danger of wasting another year of James Harden‘s prime, and both he and Russell Westbrook will have the chance to opt out of their current contracts and become free agents in the summer of 2022.

Although the Rockets have gone through two recent shakeups by trading for Westbrook last July and fully embracing small-ball by dealing starting center Clint Capela in February, O’Connor believes more changes could be on the way, especially if the team gets bounced in the first round. Mike D’Antoni seems unlikely to return as head coach, and general manager Daryl Morey might have to consider changes to his philosophy of surrounding Harden and Westbrook with standstill shooters.

There are also concerns that Westbrook, an inconsistent 3-point shooter, doesn’t fit as well with Harden as Chris Paul once did. Playing just his second game since returning from a quad injury, Westbrook was particularly bad in the Game 6 loss, turning the ball over seven times.

“We’ve gotta take care of it. Starting with myself,” said Westbrook, who is expected to remain on a minutes limit tonight. “I’m just trying to figure out rhythm and timing, but I’ll figure it out next game.”

There’s more Rockets news to pass along:

  • The team will make a greater effort to get the ball to Harden in the closing minutes if tonight’s game is close, D’Antoni tells Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Although stats show Harden’s usage hasn’t changed much in the final minutes of the three close games in the series, he didn’t touch the ball in the final seconds Monday with the Rockets trailing by two points. “Obviously, we’re trying to get him involved,” D’Antoni said. “We just kept turning it over before he had a chance to get involved. There was a number of turnovers that probably shouldn’t happen. We’ll talk about it. He knows. He’ll be ready to go.”
  • While Westbrook was disappointing in Game 6, the Rockets made the right move by acquiring him in exchange for Paul and a parcel of draft picks, argues Mark Medina of USA Today. Medina points out that Paul’s injury history made him risky for Houston, even though he has stayed healthy this season. There was also noticeable tension between Paul and Harden that built up over two seasons, while Westbrook and Harden are long-time friends.
  • Brian Mahoney of The Associated Press talks to several little-used players, including Rockets veteran center Tyson Chandler, about the experience of being stuck in a closed environment without seeing much playing time.

Tyson Chandler Not Sure Whether He’ll Retire After Season

Rockets center Tyson Chandler is on an expiring contract and will turn 38 years old this fall, but he’s not sure whether he’ll call it a career after this season, tweets Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

As MacMahon notes, Chandler originally thought he would retire last summer, but decided he still had the desire to continue playing and signed with Houston after the club recruited him for weeks. After another year in the NBA, he hasn’t yet made a decision on what his future holds.

I’ll do myself some justice, not get ahead of myself and wait for that moment to come,” Chandler said.

The second overall pick in the 2001 NBA draft, Chandler has appeared in a total of 1,160 career regular season games, including 26 for Houston this season. The veteran big man has also played in 75 postseason contests, winning a championship with the Mavericks in 2011 and earning an All-Star nod with the Knicks in 2013.

While Chandler doesn’t play a major role on the small-ball Rockets, he’s essentially the only option the team can turn to if it wants to match up with an opponent by using a traditional center, especially with Isaiah Hartenstein no longer on the roster. Forwards like P.J. Tucker, Jeff Green, and DeMarre Carroll typically serve as Houston’s de facto centers.

Rockets Not Motivated By Luxury Tax Concerns?

FEBRUARY 4: Contradicting his original report, Young tweets that he’s been told that Fertitta has given Morey the go-ahead to make deadline deals without financial restrictions. The Rockets’ owner isn’t satisfied with the team’s place in the standings so far and wants to upgrade the roster, Young adds.

While that may be true, Houston is close enough to the tax line that it still wouldn’t be a surprise if the club ducks below it in the coming days.

FEBRUARY 3: The Rockets are looking to shave enough salary off their payroll to avoid the luxury tax, Jabari Young of CNBC.com reports.

The Rockets have been actively engaged in trade talks, most notably dangling center Clint Capela, who is in the early stages of a five-year, $90MM contract. Moving Nene, who has a non-guaranteed $10MM salary for next season, would also contribute greatly toward that goal. The Rockets have approximately $139.9MM in contractual obligations and owner Tilman Fertitta wants to get below the $132MM tax line.

Some league executives believes Rockets GM Daryl Morey is being pressured by Fertitta to decrease salary while simultaneously trying to keep the franchise in championship contention, according to Young.

Fertitta has denied in the past that he’s motivated by luxury tax concerns but the team’s moves the past two years have the look of a franchise trying to dodge the tax, Dan Feldman of NBC Sports notes. The way Houston’s 2018 offseason played out, and the curious moves it make prior to last year’s trade deadline, had the appearance of a team with tax concerns, Feldman continues.

Players like Gerald GreenThabo Sefolosha and Tyson Chandler making the veteran’s minimum could be traded and replaced by players making partial-season minimums, Feldman notes. By tossing in assets to move contracts, the Rockets will hinder their chances of upgrading the team, Feldman adds.

Rockets Notes: Harden, Westbrook, Wings, Chandler

The Rockets have faced some questions this offseason about how two high-usage players like James Harden and Russell Westbrook will complement one another. Executives, scouts, and coaches around the league are curious to see how the Rockets’ half-court offense functions when the two guards are playing together and Harden has the ball, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

“That’s the billion-dollar question,” one Western executive said.

Despite some skepticism from outside observers, it doesn’t sound like head coach Mike D’Antoni has spent many sleepless nights poring over X’s and O’s to make sure the Harden/Westbrook combo will succeed, as MacMahon writes.

“We’re not going to make it too complicated,” D’Antoni said of his backcourt. “They’re MVPs. They’ll put up MVP numbers. I don’t have to interject how smart I am. That’ll just screw it up. They’re really f—ing good.”

D’Antoni does have a tentative plan for how to stagger his two star guards though, as MacMahon details. According to the Rockets’ head coach, Harden and Westbrook will likely only share the court for about 19 minutes per game if he sticks to his plan. That approach will give the club the best chance to avoid scenarios in which neither player is on the court.

As we look forward to the Rockets’ opener tonight, let’s round up a few more notes out of Houston…

  • Despite concern that Gerald Green will be out for the season, the Rockets aren’t currently pursuing another wing player, per Kelly Iko and Shams Charania of The Athletic. “We don’t feel as though we’re short of wing shooters,” a team executive said. “We have multiple guys who are interesting.” According to Iko, that exec pointed to Ben McLemore and Thabo Sefolosha as two veteran offseason additions who could contribute.
  • McLemore will have his partial guarantee increase from $50K to $500K later today, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets.
  • Iko reports in the same story that the Rockets discussed a trade this month that ultimately fell through. According to Iko, another team was interested in giving Houston an asset to take on a player’s contract (likely a small contract, given the Rockets’ cap and tax situation), but eventually pulled back.
  • Although the Rockets made some changes to their roster this summer, they brought back all of their core veteran players. That has helped Tyson Chandler make a smooth adjustment to his new team, as Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle writes. “It helps big-time because you understand your role,” Chandler said. “As a young player, you’re trying to figure yourself out. You don’t know what your role is. You’re trying to create your niche. As an older player, you already know.”

Western Notes: Walton, Chandler, Nuggets, Hardaway

Kings players already feel a closer bond with new coach Luke Walton than they did with previous coach Dave Joerger, Jason Jones of The Athletic reports. Having a coach that would help bring in free agents and make current roster members want to stay in Sacramento is part of the reason why Walton was hired.

“He just comes in, and it’s an instant connection,” Kings guard Buddy Hield told Jones. “He’s played before so he knows that player relationship and now he’s a coach so he knows how to relate to us, so that’s big coming from him.”

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • Mentoring Clint Capela is a major reason why the Rockets brought in veteran center Tyson Chandler, Kelly Iko of The Athletic writes. Chandler signed a one-year contract in July. The Rockets want Capela to become an elite defensive presence and anchor and Chandler will help facilitate that process.
  • Rockets guard Eric Gordon enters the preseason as a starter but Danuel House could make a push for that status, Iko adds in the same piece.
  • The Nuggets have promoted John Beckett from director of player development to full-time assistant coach, Chris Dempsey of Altitude Sports tweets. Ognjen Stojakovic has taken over Beckett’s previous spot, while Boniface N’Dong has been added to the player development staff.
  • Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle believes Tim Hardaway Jr. has been cleared to participate in training camp, Dwain Price of the team’s website tweets. Hardaway met this week with the surgeon that performed the surgery in April on his left tibia and got a positive review. Hardaway’s availability for camp would coincide with the anticipated timetable following the surgery.

Tyson Chandler Signs One-Year Deal With Rockets

JULY 18: The deal between Chandler and Houston is now official, per a release from the team.

JULY 12: The Rockets and veteran center Tyson Chandler have agreed to terms on a one-year contract, agent Jeff Schwartz tells Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link).

Specific financial terms on the deal aren’t yet known. Houston is using part of its mid-level exception to bring back Danuel House, but could offer some of it to Chandler as well. A minimum-salary arrangement is also a possibility — because he has 10 years of NBA experience, Chandler would earn $2,564,753 on a minimum deal.

Chandler, who agreed to a buyout with the Suns early in the 2018/19 season, signed a one-year, minimum-salary contract with the Lakers and helped shore up the team’s front line, averaging 3.1 PPG and 5.6 RPG in 48 games (16.4 MPG) for Los Angeles. He indicated at season’s end that he planned on playing just one more year in the NBA, though he took some extra time this offseason to consider whether to return, per Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (Twitter link).

Houston’s interest in Chandler, which was previously reported, stems in part from head coach Mike D’Antoni‘s familiarity with the big man. According to Tim MacMahon of ESPN (Twitter link), D’Antoni strongly advocated bringing Chandler to Houston. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski adds (via Twitter) that the Rockets had recruited the 18-year veteran for weeks, noting that the acquisition of Russell Westbrook may have played a part in Chandler’s commitment.

Although Clint Capela‘s name was mentioned frequently in trade rumors this summer, the Rockets view Chandler as a replacement for Nene rather than Capela. The 36-year-old will slot in as Capela’s backup at the five.

According to MacMahon, the Rockets believe Chandler still has enough left in the tank to be a lob threat on offense and to provide the team’s second unit with reliable defense and rebounding.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.