Rockets sign Bruno Fernando to multi-year contract

The Houston Rockets have signed center Bruno Fernando to a multi-year contract.

Per the Houston Chronicle yesterday, “Fernando’s play in Lake Charles and in Saturday’s workout in Houston did not lead to the new deal after he came to camp on an exhibit 10 contract with the Rockets always hoping to make that sort of move, the person familiar with the team’s thinking said. But Fernando’s play in summer workouts and the first week of the preseason left no questions about making the move. Fernando will sign a four-year, $11.9 million contract with the 2022-23 season guaranteed, a significant boost from not having a standard NBA deal heading into camp or the two-way contract the Rockets moved him to on Friday.”

The Rockets originally acquired Fernando as part of a trade with Boston on Feb. 10, 2022. He appeared in 10 games over the remainder of the season for Houston while averaging 6.9 points and 4.0 rebounds in 9.4 minutes per game. In a combined 30 games for the Rockets and Celtics in 2021-22, Fernando averaged 20.8 points, 13.0 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per 36 minutes played.

Fernando scored in double-figures in four of his 10 games as a Rocket, while recording two double-doubles. He shot 70.7% from the floor for Houston, including 8-of-8 in 23 minutes of play vs. Dallas on March 11.

Fernando was the 34th overall pick by Philadelphia in the 2019 NBA Draft following his sophomore season at the University of Maryland. This summer, he averaged 11.3 ppg and 6.3 while playing for Angola in the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup African Qualifiers.

Thunder and Rockets complete eight-player trade

The Oklahoma City Thunder have acquired guard Sterling Brown, guard Trey Burke, forward Marquese Chriss and forward David Nwaba, and generated two trade exceptions, in a trade with the Houston Rockets for center Derrick Favors, forward Maurice Harkless, guard Ty Jerome, guard Théo Maledon, a 2026 second-round pick and cash considerations.

Brown (6-5, 219) has played in 264 career games (29 starts) with Milwaukee, Houston and Dallas, and owns averages of 5.4 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.0 assist in 16.8 minutes per game. The SMU product averaged 3.3 points and 3.0 rebounds in 12.8 minutes per game last season with the Mavericks.

Burke (6-0, 185) has appeared in 498 career games (130 starts) spanning nine seasons with Utah, Washington, New York, Dallas, and Philadelphia, and averaged 9.6 points, 1.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists while shooting 41.0 percent from the field in 20.9 minutes per game. Selected with the ninth overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft, the Columbus, Ohio native was named to the 2014 All-Rookie First Team.

Chriss (6-9, 240) has appeared in 292 career games (147 starts) since being selected with the eighth overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft and has seen action with Phoenix, Houston, Cleveland, Golden State and Dallas. The Sacramento, Calif. native owns career averages of 7.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.0 assist while shooting 45.6 percent from the field in 18.3 minutes per game.

Nwaba (6-5, 219) has appeared in 237 career games (50 starts) with the L.A. Lakers, Chicago, Cleveland, Brooklyn and Houston, and registered averages of 6.8 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.0 assist in 19.3 minutes per game. Last season, the six-year veteran saw action in 46 games (four starts) and averaged 5.1 points and 3.3 rebounds while shooting 48.3 percent from the field in 13.2 minutes per game with the Houston Rockets.

In one season with the Thunder, Favors appeared in 39 games (18 starts) and averaged 5.3 points on 51.6 percent shooting from the field and 4.7 rebounds in 16.7 minutes per game last year.

Harkless was previously acquired by the Thunder on Sept. 27, 2022, from the Atlanta Hawks.

Jerome appeared in 81 games (five starts) with the Thunder over the last two seasons, and averaged 8.6 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 2.8 assists in 19.6 minutes per game.

Maledon appeared in 116 career games (56 starts) and averaged 8.8 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 23.2 minutes per game with the Thunder from 2020-22.

Oklahoma City will have one year from today to exercise the trade exceptions. The 2026 second-round pick owed to Houston will be the second-least favorable of Oklahoma City, Dallas and Philadelphia.

2022-23 Rockets training camp roster

The 2022-23 Houston Rockets training camp roster

No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. D.O.B. Prior to NBA/Home Country NBA Exp.

00 Sterling Brown G 6-5 219 2/10/95 SMU/USA 5

0 TyTy Washington Jr. G 6-3 197 11/15/01 Kentucky/USA R

1 Jabari Smith Jr. F 6-10 220 5/13/03 Auburn/USA R

2 David Nwaba F 6-5 219 1/14/93 Cal Poly/USA 6

3 Kevin Porter Jr. G 6-4 203 5/4/00 USC/USA 3

4 Jalen Green G 6-6 178 2/9/02 G League Ignite; Fresno, CA/USA 1

6 KJ Martin F 6-7 215 1/6/01 IMG Academy/USA 2

7 Trey Burke G 6-0 185 11/12/92 Michigan/USA 9

8 Jae’Sean Tate F 6-4 230 10/28/95 Sydney Kings (Australia); Ohio State/USA 2

9 Josh Christopher G 6-5 215 12/8/01 Arizona State/USA 1

10 Eric Gordon G 6-3 215 12/25/88 Indiana/USA 14

12 Trevor Hudgins* G 6-0 180 3/23/99 NW Missouri State/USA R

15 Daishen Nix G 6-5 224 2/13/02 G League Ignite/USA 1

16 Usman Garuba F 6-8 220 3/9/02 Real Madrid (Spain)/Spain 1

17 Tari Eason F 6-8 216 5/10/01 Louisiana State/USA R

20 Bruno Fernando C 6-9 240 8/15/98 Maryland/Angola 3

25 Garrison Mathews G 6-5 215 10/24/96 Lipscomb/USA 3

28 Alperen Sengun C 6-9 235 7/25/02 Besiktas (Türkiye)/Türkiye 1

32 Marquese Chriss F 6-9 240 7/2/97 Washington/USA 6

51 Boban Marjanović C 7-4 290 8/15/88 KK Crvena Zvezda/Serbia 7

Rockets to retire jersey No. 44 in honor of Elvin Hayes

Houston Rockets Owner Tilman J. Fertitta today announced the team will retire No. 44 in honor of Hall of Famer Elvin Hayes during halftime of the Rockets game vs. Indiana on Friday, Nov. 18. As part of the celebration, and in recognition of the franchise’s 55th anniversary season, the Rockets will debut their green San Diego Hardwood Classics jersey made popular by Hayes and Calvin Murphy.

“We are thrilled to celebrate Elvin Hayes’ stellar career by retiring his jersey,” said Fertitta. “Elvin was the original basketball superstar in the City of Houston and has a lasting legacy with not only the NBA and the Rockets, but the University of Houston as well. We’re excited to honor Elvin and his family this November and see his jersey hang where it belongs, alongside the other legends from our franchise’s storied history.”

“Representing the Rockets and the City of Houston has meant so much to me throughout my life,” said Hayes. Knowing that my number will stand with the other great players in franchise history is truly an honor. I want to thank Tilman and the Fertitta family, along with the Rockets organization, and most importantly the fans for the love they have shown me throughout my playing career and beyond. I look forward to celebrating this special moment with all of you in November.”

Hayes will become the seventh Rockets player to have his number retired, joining Clyde Drexler, Moses Malone, Calvin Murphy, Hakeem Olajuwon, Rudy Tomjanovich, and Yao Ming. Former general manager Carroll Dawson also had his initials retired.

The 12-time All-Star joins a short list of NBA players to have their number retired by multiple teams, with Washington having retired his No. 11 on Nov. 20, 1981. Hayes also had his No. 44 retired by the University of Houston.

During his career with the Cougars, Hayes was a two-time consensus All-American and the Associated Press College Basketball Player of the Year as a senior. In a game played in front of over 52,000 fans at the Houston Astrodome on Jan. 20, 1968, Hayes led the Cougars to a 71-69 win over UCLA, snapping the Bruins 47-game winning streak. The broadcast of what became known as the “Game of the Century” is recognized as legitimizing college basketball’s potential on television and laying the groundwork for the future success of the NCAA Tournament and the evolution of March Madness.

After helping the Cougars reach their second straight Final Four, Hayes was selected with the first overall pick by the San Diego Rockets in the 1968 NBA Draft. He averaged a league-high 28.4 points in his first season and is still the last rookie to have led the NBA in scoring. Hayes was the Rockets leading scorer and rebounder during the team’s inaugural season in Houston in 1971-72. Across his first four seasons, Hayes averaged 27.4 ppg and 16.3 rpg for the Rockets.

In June of 1972, Hayes was traded to the Baltimore Bullets to team with fellow future Hall of Famer Wes Unseld. They formed one of the more formidable frontcourt combinations in league history and led Washington to three Finals appearances, including the franchise’s first and only championship in 1977-78.

Houston re-acquired Hayes from Washington in June of 1981 and he spent his final three seasons wearing No. 44 as a Rocket, retiring at the conclusion of the 1983-84 campaign.

In 16 seasons, Hayes averaged 21.0 ppg and 12.5 rpg, joining Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain, and Bob Pettit as the only players in NBA history with career averages of at least 21.0 ppg and 12.0 rpg. Hayes was named All-NBA First Team three times, All-NBA Second Team three times, and All-Defensive Second Team twice.

Hayes never played fewer than 80 games in a single season and was the NBA’s all-time leader in games played (1,303) and minutes played (50,000) at the time of his retirement. He also ranked third in both scoring (27,313 points) and rebounding (16,279) when his career finished and still ranks 11th and fourth, respectively.

“The Big E” was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA history in 1996 and to the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team in 2021. He was enshrined into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1990.

2022-23 Houston Rockets preseason game schedule

The Houston Rockets have announced their four-game schedule for the 2022 Preseason.

The Rockets will open the preseason by hosting San Antonio at Toyota Center on Sunday, Oct. 2 followed by another home game vs. Toronto on Friday, Oct. 7. Houston closes out its preseason with games at Miami on Monday, Oct. 10 and at Indiana on Friday, Oct. 14.

AT&T SportsNet will broadcast the games against the Raptors and Heat. All four games will be available on the radio broadcast home of the Houston Rockets, SportsTalk 790 KBME and NewsRadio 740 KTRH as well as in Spanish on TUDN 93.3 FM.

The Rockets full schedule for the 2022-23 regular season will be announced at a later date.

Houston Rockets re-sign Bruno Fernando

The Houston Rockets have re-signed center Bruno Fernando.

The Rockets acquired Fernando as part of a trade with Boston on Feb. 10, 2022. He appeared in 10 games over the remainder of the season for Houston while averaging 6.9 points and 4.0 rebounds in 9.4 minutes per game. In a combined 30 games for the Rockets and Celtics last season, Fernando averaged 20.8 points, 13.0 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per 36 minutes played.

Fernando scored in double-figures in four of his 10 games as a Rocket, while recording two double-doubles. He shot 70.7% from the floor for Houston, including 8-of-8 in 23 minutes of play vs. Dallas on March 11. Fernando was originally the 34th overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft following his sophomore season at the University of Maryland and spent his first two seasons with Atlanta

Rockets re-sign Jae’Sean Tate

The Houston Rockets yesterday re-signed forward Jae’Sean Tate to a multi-year contract.

Tate was eligible for the 2018 NBA Draft following his senior season at Ohio State. He began his professional career overseas before signing as a free agent with the Rockets on Nov. 25, 2020. Tate started 58 of his 70 games played as a rookie in 2020-21 and became the second undrafted player to earn NBA All-Rookie First Team honors going back to 2011-12.

In two seasons as a Rocket, Tate has averaged 11.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.06 steals while shooting 50.1% from the floor. He became the fifth player in NBA history to have reached his total of points (1,713), rebounds (794), assists (400), steals (157), blocks (77), and 3-pointers made (123) through the first 148 games played of a career, joining Vince Carter, Paul Pierce, Lamar Odom, and LeBron James.

Tate has appeared in 148 of a possible 154 games as a Rocket. He tied Detroit’s Saddiq Bey for the most starts (135) by a sophomore over the past two seasons and tied for the sixth-most games played by any player over that span.

Rockets sign rookie Trevor Hudgins to two-way contract

The Houston Rockets yesterday signed free agent rookie guard Trevor Hudgins to a two-way contract.

Hudgins (6-0, 180) was eligible for the 2022 NBA Draft following his redshirt senior season at Division II’s Northwest Missouri State. He led the Bearcats to three Division II championships and an overall record of 131-8, including a perfect 38-0 mark during his freshman season in 2018-19.

For his career, Hudgins averaged 20.4 points, 5.0 assists, 2.3 rebounds and 1.4 steals while shooting 51.7% from the floor, 46.5% from 3-point range and 87.8% from the line. He was named NABC Division II Player of the Year as both a junior and a senior, becoming the fourth Division II player to have won the award in consecutive years.

During a six-point loss to No. 4 ranked Duke in a 2019 exhibition game, Hudgins scored a game-high 27 points while hitting seven 3-pointers. He averaged 3.6 3FGM over his final three seasons. Some former Rockets who attended Division II schools include Mario Elie, Caldwell Jones, Major Jones, Moochie Norris, and Purvis Short.

Rockets sign rookies Jabari Smith Jr., Tari Eason and TyTy Washington Jr.

The Houston Rockets yesterday signed rookies Jabari Smith Jr., Tari Eason, and TyTy Washington Jr.

Smith (6-10, 220) was the third overall pick by Houston in the 2022 NBA Draft following his freshman season at Auburn. He averaged 16.9 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 2.0 apg, 1.1 spg and 1.0 bpg along with 2.3 3-pointers made on 42.9% shooting. Dating back to 1992-93, Smith joined Kevin Durant as the only freshmen to have averaged at least 16.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg and 2.0 3FGM while shooting 40.0% or better from behind-the-arc.

Eason (6-8, 216) was the 17th overall pick by Houston in the 2022 NBA Draft following his sophomore season at Louisiana State. He averaged 16.9 points on 52.1% shooting last season, up from 7.3 ppg on 46.2% shooting as a freshman for Cincinnati. Eason became the first player in SEC history to be named Sixth Man of the Year while also earning All-SEC First Team honors.

Washington (6-3, 197) was the 29th overall pick by Memphis in the 2022 NBA Draft before his rights were acquired by the Rockets. As a freshman at Kentucky last season, he averaged 12.5 ppg, 3.9 apg, 3.5 rpg and 1.3 spg while shooting nearly 50% from inside-the-arc. Washington set the Wildcats single-game school record with 17 assists vs. Georgia on Jan. 8.

Rockets and Timberwolves complete trade of late 2022 draft first round selections

The Minnesota Timberwolves have acquired the draft rights to the 26th pick forward Wendell Moore Jr. from the Houston Rockets in exchange for the draft rights to the 29th pick guard TyTy Washington Jr. and future second round picks in 2025 and 2027.

Moore Jr., 6-5, averaged 13.4 points (ranking second on Duke), 5.3 rebounds, 4.4 assists (fourth in the ACC) and 1.3 assists per game in his junior season at Duke. In his career, Moore Jr. averaged 45.9% from the field and 35.8% from beyond the arc. He recorded the fifth triple-double in Duke history with 19 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists against Army on Nov. 12, 2021. Moore Jr. nearly tallied a second triple-double on Nov. 22, 2021 where he registered 22 points, eight rebounds and nine assists in 34 minutes of action against The Citadel and was named ACC Player of the Week following the performance.
In 2020-21, Moore Jr. was named to the All-ACC Academic Team for the second straight season, playing all 24 games for the Blue Devils. Over the final 19 games, Moore Jr. started in 15 and averaged 11.2 points per game to close out the season. He notched his first double-double of the season on Feb. 9, 2021 against Notre Dame, where he finished with 24 points on 9-of-16 shooting and added 10 boards.
Prior to the 2020-21 season, Moore Jr. was named one of 11 players nationally to the National Association of Basketball Coaches Player Development Coalition, a diverse collection of Division I men’s basketball student-athletes that provide valuable prospective and feedback on college basketball issues.
As a freshman, Moore Jr. played in 25 games (11 starts) and averaged 7.4 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.9 assists. Moore Jr. erupted for a career-high 25 points on Feb. 25, 2020 at Wake Forest, connecting on 15-of-16 from the line, a Duke freshman single-game record and becoming the first freshman to reach the feat since Grayson Allen on March 17, 2016. In the same game, he set a Duke record for fewest field goal attempts (eight) in a 20+ point scoring game.
Washington Jr. averaged 12.5 points, 3.9 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game in his one season at the University of Kentucky. The 21-year-old freshman led the SEC in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.35-to-1) and ranked ninth in the SEC in assists. On Jan. 8, 2022, Washington Jr. dished out a league-high 17 assists against the University of Georgia, breaking John Wall’s single-game assist record at Kentucky. The five-time SEC Player of the Week was named to the 2021-2022 All-SEC Second Team and All-Freshman Team.