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James Harden discusses the Rockets

Here’s CSN Houston reporting on the Rockets:

James Harden discusses the Rockets

While in the Philippines for a basketball charity event, James Harden shared his opinion on how the Houston Rockets will move forward without some of the players who’ve been lost or jettisoned this offseason. His thoughts sound a lot like the ones Dwight Howard shared earlier this month.

“Dwight (Howard) and I are the cornerstones of the Rockets,” said Harden told The Philippine Star. “The rest of the guys are role players or pieces that complete our team. We’ve lost some pieces and added some pieces. I think we’ll be fine next season.”

Howard, who was speaking at his basketball camp in Atlanta, said, when asked about losing Chandler Parsons to Dallas, “It won’t affect us at all. We have myself and James. We have the best center and the best two guard in the game on the same team. It’s on us.”

michael redd

The Dallas Mavericks announced today that they have signed forward Chandler Parsons.

According to multiple reports, the deal is for three years, $46 million.

Parsons (6-9, 227) was a restricted free agent who played the first three years of his career with the Houston Rockets. As a Rocket, he averaged 14.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.1 steals and 34.5 minutes in 213 games (207 starts).

Last season, Parsons started all 74 games in which he played averaging 16.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.2 steals and 37.6 minutes while shooting .472 from the field, .370 from three-point range and .742 the foul line.

Recently, Parsons was added to the 2014 USA Basketball Men’s National Team roster and will participate in the team’s training camp beginning July 28 in Las Vegas.

The Casselberry, Fla., native was a standout at the University of Florida. As a senior, Parsons was named the 2011 Southeastern Conference Player of the Year and Associated Press honorable mention All-America. He was drafted by Houston with the 38th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.

Here’s the Dallas Morning News with a report on the Chandler Parsons situation:

Mavs, Rockets discussing a possible Chandler Parsons sign-and-trade

The Dallas Mavericks have not yet submitted their signed offer sheet to the Houston Rockets as both teams have been talking about the possibility of a sign-and-trade that would land Chandler Parsons in Dallas.

The Mavericks have until midnight to submit the deal to the Rockets, who then would have 72 hours to decide whether to match the three-year, $46-million offer for the restricted free agent.

It makes sense for the Mavericks to see if a sign-and-trade that might be equitable for both sides and eliminate the possibility of Houston matching the deal for Parsons. Once an offer sheet is submitted, sign and trades are not allowed.

“There’s communication because there’s sign-and-trade possibilities,” president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said Thursday morning.

Here’s the Associated Press via the Star Tribune reporting on versatile small forward Chandler Parsons and the Mavs:

Mavericks will reportedly sign Chandler Parsons to offer sheet

The Dallas Mavericks have made a move at small forward, agreeing with restricted free agent Chandler Parsons on a three-year offer sheet worth more than $45 million.

Houston will now have to decide whether to match the offer.

Two people with knowledge of the situation said Wednesday night that Parsons agreed to the offer sheet with the Mavericks, while a third person confirmed the terms. The people commented to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the offer sheet can’t be officially signed until Thursday, when the NBA’s moratorium on signing free agents ends.

Here’s the Houston Chronicle Blog reporting on the Rockets and the 2014 NBA Draft, which took place last night:

Rockets feel Clint Capela has huge upside

Rockets general manager Daryl Morey raved about his picks and joked that every general manager does. He said his second round acquisitions, Nick Johnson and Alessandro Gentile, could quickly compete for places in the rotation. He said his first-rounder, Clint Capela, has more upside than any but the top players drafted.

When he was asked about Capela’s determination to make the jump to the NBA next season, rather than to remain in France, Morey said little.

He did not rule it out, but he did not go into the factors to be considered, including whether he would need to keep Capela overseas to save as much cap room as possible.

“I haven’t had a chance to talk to Gentile’s or Capela’s agents so it would be unfair for me to talk about that right now,” Morey said.

Here’s the Houston Chronicle Blog reporting on Rockets forward Terrence Jones:

michael redd

By the end of the season, Rockets forward Terrence Jones had his routine down.

Before every game, he would take a few shots on the court, then headed to the dining room to get a plate of his favorite pasta. He sat at his locker, watching video of that night’s opponent on a large screen in the locker room while eating dinner and listening to music in his headphones. Under his practice shirt, though, his heart was pounding.

Jones was calm like a seasoned veteran before every game, but he was also eager like the 22-year old second-year NBA player that he is.

At the start of the season, Jones was one of the players on the list of forwards who would have to step up and fill a role for the Rockets this season. At the end, he was the Rockets’ regular starter and a reliable piece of the puzzle they have been trying to build.

Friday in Portland, the Trail Blazers beat the Rockets 99-98, eliminating Houston in six games from the first round of the 2014 NBA playoffs. LaMarcus Aldridge had 30 points and 13 rebounds in the win. But the play of the day was Damian Lillard hitting a three-pointer at the buzzer to win it for the Blazers. Here are multi-angle video highlights of Lillard’s game-winning shot:

Dwight Howard had 22 points and 14 rebounds, and Jeremy Lin came off the bench to score 21 points and help the Houston Rockets beat the Portland Trail Blazers 108-98 on Wednesday night to avoid elimination.

The Trail Blazers lead the first-round series 3-2 entering Game 6 on Friday in Portland.

A basket by Damian Lillard got the Trail Blazers within two points before James Harden stepped back and swished a 3-pointer to make it 103-98 with about three minutes left. The shot brought the crowd, which was clad almost completely in red shirts emblazoned with the words “Clutch City” on them, to its feet.

That started a 12-0 Houston run to close it out. Harden finished with 17 points and seven assists.

Houston finally slowed down LaMarcus Aldridge, limiting him to eight points, after he averaged 35.3 points in the first four games. Wesley Matthews led the Blazers with 27 points and Lillard added 26.

– Associated Press

Here’s the Oregonian reporting on Rockets point guard Patrick Beverley. Houston is facing the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the NBA playoffs:

Patrick Beverley healthy enough to keep playing for Rockets

Patrick Beverley limped badly, sat on the bench by himself while his teammates were huddled and generally looked like a player whose postseason had come to a screeching halt Sunday after he was injured during the Houston Rockets’ overtime loss to the Trail Blazers in Game 1 of their Western Conference series.

But instead of losing their defensive-minded point guard, the Rockets will apparently have him back in the lineup Wednesday for Game 2 at the Toyota Center.

The Rockets announced Sunday that Beverley suffered a sprain to his right knee, the same knee in which he suffered a meniscus tear last month, sidelining him for eight games. But the team announced Monday that Beverley “had a knee examination which revealed no acute issues. He will likely be available for Game 2 Wednesday.”

Here’s the Oregonian reporting on the Trail Blazers:

Rockets guard Patrick Beverley hurts right knee

After suffering an overtime home loss in Game 1 of their first-round series against Portland, the Houston Rockets got more bad news.

Their starting point guard, Patrick Beverley, suffered a sprained right knee when he was hit by LaMarcus Aldridge on an attempted screen, the team announced after the game.

Beverley will have a magnetic resonance imaging taken on the knee Monday. It was the same knee on which Beverley suffered a meniscus tear in March. The injury had been serious enough that there was talk that it might require season-ending surgery, but he instead missed eight games before returning for the final four games of the regular season.

Houston Rockets rookie Robert Covington, who has played on assignment with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, was today named the 2014 NBA Development League Rookie of the Year, as voted on by the league’s 17 head coaches. The award recognizes the first-year professional who most significantly contributed to his team’s success during the course of the season.

Covington (6-9, 215, Tennessee State) played in 42 of the Vipers 50 regular season games on assignment from the Rockets, 41 as a starter. He averaged a team-high 23.2 points, good for second-best in the NBA D-League, while shooting 44 percent from the field. He rounded out his stat line averaging a Vipers-best 9.2 rebounds and 2.4 steals, second-highest in the league. During the regular season, Covington led the team in scoring 21 times and was the Vipers leading rebounder in 13 contests. He scored in double figures in 41 of his 42 games in Rio Grande Valley, recording two 40-plus point games and four additional 30-plus point outings.

A 2014 NBA D-League All-Star, Covington scored an NBA D-League All-Star record 33 points, 22 of which came in the game’s final six minutes, en route to earning MVP honors in the game. He connected on 12 of his 23 shots, including four-of-eight three-pointers at NBA All-Star festivities in New Orleans.

“Robert has had an excellent rookie season on assignment with the Vipers,” said Chris Alpert, Vice President of Basketball Operations and Player Personnel for the NBA D-League. “He embraced the opportunity to develop all aspects of his game in the NBA D-League and proved that he is able to perform at a professional level. I congratulate him on such a successful start to his career and look forward to watching his progress with the Houston Rockets.”

Covington helped the Vipers secure the fifth seed in the 2014 NBA D-League Playoffs, averaging 18.3 points in Rio Grande Valley’s first-round match-up against the Iowa Energy, a series the Vipers won in three games. He will re-join the Vipers tonight in Texas for the team’s game second-round playoff game against the Santa Cruz Warriors. Rio Grande Valley currently trails the Warriors 1-0 in the best-of-three series.

Rockets sign Dexter Pittman, waive Greg Smith

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has signed center Dexter Pittman to a multi-year contract. The 47th “Call-Up” this season, Pittman joins the Rockets from the D-League’s Austin Toros. To open a roster spot, the Rockets have waived center/forward Greg Smith.

Pittman (6-11, 285, Texas), who is currently in his fourth season in the NBA, was originally selected by Miami in the second round (32nd overall) of the 2010 NBA Draft. He has appeared in 50 regular season games (six starts) with Miami, Memphis and Atlanta, averaging 2.3 points and 1.8 rebounds in 6.9 minutes per outing. Pittman has also seen action in three career postseason contests (one start) with the Heat. This season, Pittman was signed to a 10-day contract by the Hawks on Feb. 22 and appeared in two games before being released on Feb. 27. Pittman previously played three seasons with the Heat before being traded to the Grizzlies. In addition, he participated in 2013 NBA Summer League with the San Antonio Spurs followed by a training camp invite from the Chicago Bulls.

In 28 games with the Toros (20 starts) this season, Pittman averaged 11.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and finished third overall in the D-League with 2.25 blocks per game. Pittman was acquired by Austin from the Springfield Armor on Jan. 6, 2014. While with Miami, Pittman was also assigned to the D-League Sioux Falls Skyforce (2010-11 and 2012-13), where he averaged 13.6 points and 8.4 rebounds in 37 games played (34 starts).

A former standout at Terry High School in Rosenberg, TX, Pittman played four seasons at the University of Texas. He appeared in 134 games (59 starts), averaging 6.6 points and 3.9 rebounds over four seasons with the Longhorns.

Smith (6-10, 250, Fresno State), who was in his third season with Houston, saw action in just 11 games this season with the Rockets.

The Houston Rockets are heading to the playoffs for the second straight year and believe wins like the one they picked up Friday night will help them when they get there.

James Harden scored 39 points and the Rockets ended a three-game skid and clinched a playoff berth with a 111-107 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder

“It was a great win for us … just to give ourselves confidence, especially going into the playoffs,” Harden said. “We might see them. It was a big win for us. It shows the resilience we have.”

Kevin Durant scored 28 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for his 40th straight game with at least 25 points, the longest streak since Michael Jordan also did it 40 consecutive times in 1986-87. But he was in no mood to talk about matching the feat after the game.

“We lost the game that’s all I’m worried about,” he said. “I don’t care. We lost.”

– Associated Press

Houston Rockets power forward/center Dwight Howard received the March Community Assist Award in recognition of his charitable contributions and efforts in the Greater Houston area, the NBA announced today. The award recognizes an NBA player each month who best reflects the passion that the league and its players have for giving back to their communities.

Last month, Howard’s D12 Foundation launched its grassroots program, “Block Out Violence,” within participating junior and senior high schools in Houston to promote anti-bullying, nonviolence, respect and acceptance. Howard began the campaign by hosting an assembly and a flash mob at Carnegie Vanguard High School, encouraging kids to help create safer campuses and communities. Thirty-two Houston schools have participated in the program, spurring thousands of students and their families to host events in their neighborhoods and post 800,000 positive messages of nonviolence on social media using the #BOV hashtag.

In addition to the “Block Out Violence” program, Howard has dedicated his time and resources to helping disadvantaged children and their families throughout Houston. Howard purchased 50 season tickets for kids as part of the Rockets for Youth ticket program. He also hosted a breakfast and provided gifts for homeless mothers and their children at the Salvation Army Residence Center in Houston. Extending his charity beyond his community, Howard worked with the D12 Foundation to provide $10,000 to the BETA Center in Orlando, an organization that provides support to teen moms and at-risk families.

“I’ve made it a point to give back to the community since my career began, and now that Houston is my home I want to make a difference here. I’ve been concerned about the violence and bullying that seems to be taking control of our schools and communities – not only in Houston, but throughout the country,” said Howard. “My hope is that the “Block Out Violence” campaign will motivate students to start grassroots movements in their schools that get them thinking and talking about the way they treat one another – ultimately, making safer schools and communities.”

During tonight’s home game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, NBA Cares Ambassador Bob Lanier and Houston Rockets and Toyota Center CEO Tad Brown will present Howard with the David Robinson Plaque during an oncourt ceremony. In addition, and the NBA will donate $10,000 on Howard’s behalf to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston.

The Houston Rockets on Thursday beat the Philadelphia 76ers, 120-98. It was the 26th straight loss for the Sixers. Rockets star James Harden put up 26 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in the win. Here are some Harden video highlights:

Here’s a quick video feature from the league with Rockets center Dwight Howard. The team has a terrific 46-22 record, and Howard is averaging 18.6 points, 12.4 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game, with 58.9 percent shooting.

On Sunday the Miami heat beat the Houston Rockets 113-104. Here are some cool, slow-motion video highlights:

Here’s the New York Post with an early report on some possible free agency fun coming this summer:

According to a league source, the Rockets will make a bid for Carmelo Anthony this summer, even though they probably won’t have cap space and would have to orchestrate a creative sign-and-trade. The source said Houston asked the Knicks about Anthony before February’s trade deadline.

The Knicks have held discussions with the Rockets about power forward Omer Asik. Even though Rockets president Daryl Morey is the pioneer of advanced statistics and Anthony has never fared well in some efficiency categories, Morey’s old-school instincts believe he could form a terrific Big 3 with Dwight Howard and James Harden. Rockets management also believes Anthony has made advancements in the grit department the past two seasons.

The only way the Rockets can get under the cap is by dealing the expiring contracts of Jeremy Lin, who is entering the poison pill year of $15 million, and Asik, also scheduled to make $15 million.

Watch former teammates Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder) and James Harden (Houston Rockets) do big things for their respective squad in a recent matchup against each other:

Texas Legends’ forward Damion James was today named NBA Development League Performer of the Week for games played Monday, March 4 – Sunday, March 9. The award is the first for James, who becomes the second Legends player to be honored as Performer of the Week this season.

James (6-7, 225, Texas) led the Legends to a 3-0 week last week, averaging 24.7 points to go with 14.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.7 blocks. He recorded a season-high 19 rebounds on March 6, in a 126-119 win over the Iowa Energy, scoring 34 points to tie his season best.

James, who was traded to Texas from the Bakersfield Jam last month, is averaging 24.9 points and 12.0 rebounds in eight games with the Legends. For the season, he is averaging 16.4 points and 7.9 rebounds in 35 total games.

Other top performers considered included Canton’s Arinze Onuaku, playing on assignment from the Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles’ Manny Harris, Maine’s Tyshawn Taylor, Springfield’s Willie Reed and Sioux Falls’ Larry Drew II.

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