Archive for the ‘ Houston Rockets Blog ’ Category

The Rockets’ game against the Clippers on Thursday began a stretch of games against teams that could be potential first-round matchups with the Rockets facing the Pelicans and Timberwolves Saturday and Sunday. They play the third-place Trail Blazers in Portland to complete the road trip.

Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni, however, said he not only does not experiment in any way with postseason matchups in mind – which was not surprising because he often said teams match up with the Rockets rather than the other way around – but also does not consider regular-season games particularly useful for gathering information.

Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has signed free agent guard/forward Joe Johnson for the remainder of the season. Johnson will wear #7 for the Rockets.

In a related move, the Rockets have waived Troy Williams.

Johnson (6-7, 240) was originally the 10th overall pick by Boston in the 2001 NBA Draft and is in his 17th NBA season. In 1,253 games with 1,090 starts, Johnson is averaging 16.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 4.0 assists. He is one of 12 players in NBA history with at least 1,000 games played to have averaged at least 16.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg and 4.0 apg and one of three (Kobe Bryant and John Havlicek) with over 1,200.

Among active players, Johnson ranks fourth in games played, second in minutes played (43,729; 20th all-time), eighth in scoring (20,266), and sixth in 3-pointers made (1,960; 10th all-time). He has also appeared in 112 playoff games with 97 starts, averaging 16.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.3 assists. Johnson has been to the playoffs in each of the past 10 seasons and advanced to the Conference Semifinals six times over that span.

Johnson appeared in 32 games with three starts for Utah this season. He saw action in 78 games for the Jazz in 2016-17, and averaged 1.4 3-pointers made on 41.1% shooting, marking the second-highest percentage of his career.

The seven-time All-Star is reunited with Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni. In his final season playing for D’Antoni in Phoenix in 2004-05, Johnson averaged a career-high 2.2 3-pointers made on a career-best 47.8% shooting.

Rockets sign Brandan Wright

Rockets sign Brandan Wright

The Houston Rockets today signed free agent forward/center Brandan Wright for the remainder of the season.

Wright joins the Rockets after appearing in 27 games for Memphis in 2017-18. He will wear #32 for Houston.

Wright (6-10, 235) was originally the eighth overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft and is in his 10th season. In 427 career games with 62 starts, Wright is averaging 7.0 points, 3.6 rebounds and nearly a block per game, while shooting 60.7% from the floor. He would have the second-highest field goal percentage among active players if he had enough attempts to qualify.

Dating back to 2012-13, Wright is the only player in the league to have averaged at least 7.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 1.00 blocks while playing fewer than 18.0 minutes per game. Wright is also averaging 1.5 offensive rebounds per game over that span and 3.0 orpg per 36 minutes played.

Wright is a former McDonald’s All-American and was named Second Team All-ACC and ACC Rookie of the Year in his only season at North Carolina.

James Harden returns from injury


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The Rockets have their superstar back. James Harden returned to action Thursday in a 116-98 home win against the Timberwolves. Of course, the team also has another superstar in Chris Paul, and a scoring star in Eric Gordon. But the 31-12 squad’s success revolves primarily around the bearded one. Here’s the Houston Chronicle reporting on his return:

James Harden shot badly, but moved well. He played just 26 minutes, and was not happy to be limited to 10 fewer than he averages, but he played with energy. He was active and effective, getting his shot and shots for others easily, but also getting his hands on the ball on the other end. The Rockets would have no complaints with that. They assume Harden will be able to score. He would figure to be able to work the rust off his shot if his body and the rest of his game were up to it. The test was in how well he moved and how long he could play hard after missing more than two weeks and seven games with a strained hamstring. Harden likely returned more quickly that the Rockets’ expected when he was first diagnosed with a Grade 2 hamstring strain. He began that period unable to walk. He spent most of it unable to do anything related to playing basketball. If not for the current technology that allows a medical staff to measure a player’s fitness to return from an injury precisely without checking a calendar, the Rockets likely would have held Harden out for longer. With Harden ramping up workouts on the road trip, they knew he was physically ready to play. But nothing fully simulates a game. Harden made just 3 of 15 shots, but he had seven assists, two steals, two rebounds and no setbacks. The Rockets were happy with that.

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The Houston Rockets made a late-night move on Monday, signing guard Markel Brown to a two-way contract.

And in a related transaction, the team waived guard Brianté Weber.

Brown (6-3, 185) joins the Rockets from the Oklahoma City Blue of the NBA G League, where he averaged 17.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.4 steals. He also averaged 2.9 3-pointers made and had nearly as many steals (31) as turnovers (33).

Following a four-year career at Oklahoma State University, Brown was the 44th overall pick by Minnesota in the 2014 NBA Draft before his rights were acquired by Brooklyn. In two seasons with the Nets from 2014-15 through 2015-16, he appeared in 109 games with 35 starts. Brown spent last season playing in Russia.

The Rockets yesterday (Sunday, January 14) signed free agent guard R.J. Hunter to a two-way contract.

Hunter (6-5, 185) was originally the 28th overall pick by Boston in the 2015 NBA Draft. Over the past two seasons, he appeared in 39 games for the Boston and Chicago, while also spending time in the NBA Development League.

This season, Hunter has been playing for the Rockets single-affiliation NBA G League partner Rio Grande Valley, averaging a team-high 19.2 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.7 steals. He is averaging the third-most 3-pointers made (3.7) of any G League player with at least 20 games played.

Hunter finished his collegiate career as Georgia State’s all-time leading scorer with 1,819 points in just three seasons. He was Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year in both 2013-14 and 2014-15.

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The Rockets are about to face a serious test in the coming weeks. News today came out that superstar guard James Harden suffered a Grade 2 hamstring strain during yesterdays game against the Lakers. He’ll miss two weeks of action, and then will be re-evaluated by the team to see if he’s ready to return.

There’s no guarantee that two weeks will be enough time for Harden to fully heal.

According to the Houston Chronicle, “The Rockets have gone 13-0 with the starting lineup available, but when Harden sits out - starting Wednesday in Orlando - P.J. Tucker will be the only player to have played in every game.”

It’s always fun to see how a star player performs against his former team. But that gift will not be presented to us on Friday. Here’s the LA Times reporting:

Friday night was supposed to a matchup between the new-look Clippers and former teammate Chris Paul, who requested a trade to the Houston Rockets last summer because he no longer wanted to be a part of the team’s future.

But that matchup will not happen because Paul is out after straining his left adductor during Wednesday night in the loss to the Lakers…

It just won’t be the same without Blake Griffin (left knee), Danilo Gallinari (partially torn left glute), Wesley Johnson (sore left foot) and Patrick Beverley (season-ending right knee surgery).

Besides Paul being out for the Rockets, they won’t have forward Luc Mbah a Moute (dislocated right shoulder). He joined the Rockets as a free agent after spending the last two seasons with the Clippers. The Rockets also have listed center Clint Capela as doubtful with a bruised left heel.

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The Houston Rockets forward Luc Mbah a Moute suffered a dislocated left shoulder in the second quarter of yesterday’s game against the Hornets.

He will be re-evaluated in around one week.

The Rockets are having a fantastic season. They have the best record in the NBA, and have played fantastic basketball, especially with Chris Paul healthy and in the lineup.

Ryan Anderson should return soon

The Rockets are one of the best teams in the NBA this season, and they should have a key piece back in action soon. Here’s the Houston Chronicle reporting:

Ryan Anderson should return soon from back issue

The Rockets listed forward Ryan Anderson as questionable to play against the Utah Jazz on Thursday, with his availability to be determined how the tightness in his lower back responds to two practices since he left Sunday’s game. But Anderson has improved so much since his back “locked up” that he was cleared to practice on Tuesday at UCLA.

“It’s feeling a lot better,” Anderson, who had a neck injury in the 2013-14 season, but has not had issues with his back, said.

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Chris Paul recently returned to action for the Rockets. That’s big news. And it obviously affects the rotation. Here’s the Houston Chronicle reporting:

With the Rockets at full strength for the first time since the season-opener, they began spreading the playing time across the rotation extended by one player with the return of Chris Paul.

Paul on Saturday was still limited to just 24 minutes. Luc Mbah a Moute, in his first game back after sitting out in Phoenix with an illness, played just 21 minutes, including the final minutes after the benches were cleared. But even Saturday, the Rockets got a taste of how things will change.

Only James Harden, who played 36 minutes, logged more than 30 minutes. His time will likely decrease once Paul is up to his usual playing time with Harden returning about two minutes earlier in the second and fourth quarters than he would have had Paul been cleared to play more.

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Chris Paul Rockets return should be soon

The Rockets (9-3) have been one of the best teams in the NBA this season, and they’ll soon have Chris Paul, who has played just one game for them so far, back in the mix. Here’s the Houston Chronicle reporting:

Chris Paul may return for Rockets in near future

Rockets guard Chris Paul remains out for the Rockets, but looked significantly closer to a return as he joined the team for Friday’s light practice.

The practice was not much of a test of his readiness to return, still not projected until next week. Friday’s practice between games and before a back-to-back was more of a walk-through than a full practice and not as much of a test as his workouts have been.

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Rockets sign Isaiah Canaan

Rockets sign Isaiah Canaan

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has signed free agent guard Isaiah Canaan.

Canaan (6-0, 201) began his career with the Rockets in 2013-14 and has since played for Philadelphia and most recently Chicago last season. He has appeared in 185 career games with 60 starts.

While playing for the Sixers in 2015-16, Canaan averaged a career-high 11.0 points and ranked 15th in the NBA with 176 3-pointers made. Over a two season span from 2014-15 through 2015-16, he joined Mirza Teletovic as the only players to have averaged at least 2.0 3-pointers made while playing fewer than 24.0 minutes per game.

Canaan has hit at least three 3-pointers in a game 56 times during his career, including four or more 29 times, and a career-high 8 for Philadelphia at Oklahoma City on March 4, 2015.

Trevor Ariza out with foot sprain

The Houston Rockets announced today that forward Trevor Ariza suffered a left midfoot sprain in the game against Memphis on Monday, Oct. 23. He will not play during the team’s three-game road trip and will be re-evaluated by team doctors after the team returns to Houston.

Rockets center Nenê will miss the game at Philadelphia on Wednesday, Oct. 25 with left Achilles soreness. He will be day-to-day moving forward.

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has signed free agent guard Briantê Weber to a two-way contract. Weber will immediately be transferred to Houston’s single-affiliation NBA G League partner Rio Grande Valley.

Weber (6-2, 175) was eligible for the 2015 NBA Draft following his senior season at Virginia Commonwealth University. Over the past two seasons, he has played for Memphis, Miami, Golden State, and Charlotte.

Last season, Weber was named All-NBA D-League Second Team after averaging 16.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 3.3 steals in 31 games for the Sioux Falls Skyforce.

NBA rosters have expanded from 15 to 17 players with the additional spots available for players under two-way contracts. Teams may have up to two players under two-way contracts who will spend the bulk of the regular season in the NBA G League and not more than 45 days with their NBA team. Only players with four or fewer years of NBA service are eligible to sign two-way contracts, which can be for either one or two seasons.

Rockets waive Daniel House Jr and Cam Oliver

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has waived forwards Daniel House, Jr. and Cam Oliver.

House was eligible for the 2016 NBA Draft following his senior season at Texas A&M and spent most of last season with Washington.

Oliver was an early entry candidate for the 2017 NBA Draft following his sophomore season at Nevada. He played for the Rockets at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.

The Houston Rockets have waived George de Paula, Chris Johnson, Tim Quarterman, and Isaiah Taylor.

De Paula was an early entry candidate for the 2017 NBA Draft. He spent the past four seasons playing professionally in his home country of Brazil.

Johnson is a four-year veteran who last played for Utah in 2015-16. He spent last season with the Rockets G League affiliate, Rio Grande Valley.

Quarterman was an early entry candidate for the 2016 NBA Draft following his junior season at Louisiana State. He appeared in 16 games as a rookie for Portland last season.

Taylor was an early entry candidate for the 2016 NBA Draft following his junior season at Texas. He spent most of 2016-17 playing for Rio Grande Valley and appeared in four games for the Rockets late in the season.

Rockets sign guard George de Paula

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has signed free agent guard George de Paula (POW-la).

Although not confirmed, the deal is probably non-guaranteed and just for training camp.

De Paula (6-6, 194) was an early entry candidate for the 2017 NBA Draft. The 21-year-old spent the past four seasons playing professionally in his home country of Brazil. De Paula, who also goes by “Georginho,” played for the Rockets in MGM Resorts NBA Summer League 2017.

The Houston Rockets have re-signed guard Bobby Brown and signed free agent guard/forward Chris Johnson in advance of training camp, which will take place from Tuesday, Sept. 26 through Monday, Oct. 2.

Brown joined the Rockets prior to the start of last season after spending the previous six years playing overseas. Over his final 14 games played in 2016-17, Brown shot 50.0% from the floor. He shot 40.0% from 3-point range during the regular season and 45.5% in the playoffs.

Johnson is a four-year veteran, most recently appearing in 70 games for Utah in 2015-16. He spent last season playing for the Rockets G League affiliate, Rio Grande Valley, averaging 13.5 points and 6.2 rebounds. Johnson was also the Rockets second-leading scorer at MGM Resorts NBA Summer League 2017 with 14.0 ppg on 50.0% shooting.

The Rockets five-game preseason opens on Tuesday, Oct. 3 against the Oklahoma City Thunder at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla. and concludes at home against the San Antonio Spurs on Friday, Oct. 13. For the second straight year, the Rockets will host the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association at Toyota Center on Thursday, Oct. 5.

Sachin Gupta has re-joined the Houston Rockets, in the role as Special Advisor. In this role, Gupta will work closely with Morey and his executive staff of Gersson Rosas, Monte McNair, Eli Witus, and Jimmy Paulis.

“Sachin’s fingerprints are all over this team, from his first six seasons with the Rockets to contributions he’s made this past year,” said Morey. “Given what he brings to the table and how seamlessly he fits in with our group, we’re excited to have him back into the fold.”

“I am so proud to once again be part of the Rockets family,” said Gupta. “This is truly one of the elite organizations in sports, both on and off the court, from top to bottom. What they’ve built over the past several years is incredible and I’m excited to be back helping them in their pursuit of a championship.”

Gupta originally joined the Rockets in 2006 as Morey’s first hire and remained with the team for six seasons before leaving in 2012 to pursue his MBA from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. During that time, Gupta served as a consultant for Philadelphia 76ers General Manager Sam Hinkie, and after completing his degree joined the Sixers full-time as Vice President of Basketball Operations in 2014.

This past season Gupta aided the Rockets during the trade deadline, draft, and free agency periods, playing an important role in the acquisition of nine-time All-Star Chris Paul.

Prior to working in the NBA, Gupta spent two years at ESPN, where he developed the widely popular NBA Trade Machine. Originally from the Boston area, Gupta holds a degree in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from MIT.

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