Archive for the ‘ Houston Rockets Blog ’ Category

Pelicans sign Donatas Motiejunas

Pelicans sign Donatas Motiejunas

The New Orleans Pelicans signed free agent forward/center Donatas Motiejunas (pronounciation: doh-NAH-tahs moe-tee-YOU-nus) today.

Motiejunas, 7-0, 222, played for the Houston Rockets from 2012-16. In 214 career regular season games, the Lithuanian native holds averages of 7.8 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 19.0 minutes per game. He was set to return to the Rockets this season but the two sides were unable to work things out.

Motiejunas will wear number #12 for the Pelicans.

The team’s roster currently stands at 15 players.

James Harden gets 53-point triple-double

As often as James Harden had given the Rockets whatever they needed, part of the magic was knowing just what was required at any given time.

On Saturday against the Knicks, that was obvious.

They needed everything.

They needed more points than any Rockets player had ever scored in a triple-double, more points than he had ever scored in a game, and then they still needed more.

When he was through, Harden became the first player in NBA history with 50 points, 15 rebounds and 15 assists in a game, driving the Rockets to a 129-122 win at Toyota Center.

With that, the Rockets went 15-2 in December, matching their most wins ever in a month. They sent it out in style.

Harden had a career-high 53 points, and matched his career high with 17 assists. His 16 rebounds were one shy of matching the most in his career.

Houston Chronicle

Memphis (17-8) and Houston (17-7) begin the week as the NBA’s hottest teams. Both own six-game winning streaks.

Memphis Grizzlies

grizzlies

The Grizzlies have taken over the league lead in defensive rating. Their stinginess was on display in Saturday’s 110-89 victory over Golden State – a rare lopsided win for the Grizzlies, who have thrived in close games. New coach David Fizdale’s team is 12-0 this season in games with a three-point margin in the final minute of regulation or overtime.

Marc Gasol has been fantastic (25.5 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 5.3 apg during the winning streak) and Zach Randolph is flourishing in his new role as sixth man, helping Memphis overcome the absences of Mike Conley and Chandler Parsons.

The Grizzlies are also benefiting from the play of several NBA Development League alums such as current starters JaMychal Green and Andrew Harrison as well as reserves Troy Daniels (16.5 ppg in December) and Jarell Martin.

Memphis’ next two games are against the defending champion Cavaliers – at Cleveland on Tuesday and home on Wednesday.

Houston Rockets

rockets

The Rockets also count a victory over the league-leading Warriors as part of their six-game winning streak. Also like Memphis, Houston has adjusted quickly to a new coach.

Mike D’Antoni’s Rockets rank second in the NBA in points per game behind James Harden, who leads the league in assists and is tied for fourth in scoring. With Harden orchestrating a spread attack, Houston paces the league in three-pointers made and has hit at least 10 threes in an NBA-record 23 straight games. Four Houston players are among the NBA’s top 12 in threes made: Eric Gordon, Harden, Trevor Ariza and Ryan Anderson.

In addition, the emerging Clint Capela is excelling in the paint and Houston has clicked since the return of Patrick Beverley, who has been a part of 11 wins and just two losses.

– VIA NBA News

Rockets waive Pablo Prigioni

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has waived guard Pablo Prigioni.

Prigioni finished his fourth NBA season with the Los Angeles Clippers in 2015-16. He appeared in five games for the Rockets this preseason.

The Houston Rockets have waived guard/forward P.J. Hairston, forward Le’Bryan Nash, and guard Gary Payton II, General Manager Daryl Morey announced today.

Hairston signed with the Rockets on Sept. 30 while Nash signed on Oct. 22. Payton II was eligible for the 2016 NBA Draft and competed for the Rockets in the Samsung NBA Summer League and in this preseason.

Rockets may soon cut P.J. Hairston

Here’s the Houston Chronicle with some insight on the Rockets’ roster plans:

Rockets may soon cut P.J. Hairston

The Rockets have 18 players on the roster after waiving Taylor. P.J. Hairston, who like Taylor did not travel with the Rockets on the trip to China, is also unlikely to make the final roster. Signed on Sept. 30, the Rockets could be keeping Hairston on the roster longer to have him on the roster long enough to make sure they would have his NBA Development rights.

That could leave Tyler Ennis, Gary Payton II and Bobby Brown vying for a roster spot as a third point guard.

Rockets waive Isaiah Taylor

The Rockets waived guard Isaiah Taylor today, General Manager Daryl Morey announced.

Taylor (6-3, 170) was an early entry candidate for the 2016 NBA Draft following his junior season at Texas. He appeared in three games for the Rockets this preseason.

As preseason continues, teams around the league will cut players until they’re down to the regular season roster maximum of 15. The season begins Tuesday, October 25.

Rockets vs Knicks pregame notes

Rockets team pregame notes for preseason game vs Knicks tonight:

· The Rockets and Knicks split the 2015-16 season series but Houston has won 20 of the past 22 meetings.

· New York hasn’t swept a season series vs. Houston since going 2-0 in 2002-03.

· James Harden averaged a series-high 25.0 points against the Knicks last season and had 19 assists with just 5 turnovers in the two games.

· Clint Capela averaged 17.0 points and 12.5 rebounds while shooting 70.0% from the floor vs. New York in 2015-16.

Connections:

· Rockets center Nene and Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony were teammates in Denver for Anthony’s first seven and half NBA seasons.

· Rockets forward Trevor Ariza and Knicks guard Sasha Vujacic were teammates with the L.A. Lakers for part of 2007-08 and won the title the following season in 2008-09.

· Rockets forward Corey Brewer and Knicks center Joakim Noah were teammates at Florida for all three of their collegiate seasons and won the national title in each of their final two seasons.

· Rockets forward Trevor Ariza was the 43rd overall pick by New York in the 2004 NBA Draft and spent his first one and a half seasons with the Knicks, appearing in 116 games with 22 starts.

Injury/Status Report:

· For the Rockets, Patrick Beverley (Left Knee Soreness) is out.

· For the Knicks, Joakim Noah (Sore Left Hamstring) is questionable and Lou Amundson (Sore Lower Back) is out.

Rockets News & Notes:

· The Rockets scored 131 points in their preseason opener against Shanghai on 10/2… Houston’s high in scoring last season was 132 points at the L.A. Clippers on 1/18/16… the Rockets were 23-9 when scoring 110+ points in 2015-16.

· Houston outrebounded Shanghai 52-41 in its preseason opener on 10/2… the Rockets were 26-9 when outrebounding opponents last season, including 10-2 when doing so by double-digits… Houston outrebounded opponents by 2.3 rebounds per game in wins last season (-5.5 rpg in losses).

· James Harden had team-high of 16 points and 10 assists with just one turnover in the preseason opener vs. Shanghai on 10/2… he recorded 23 double-doubles in 2015-16 and had 10+ assists with just one turnover twice.

· Clint Capela started the preseason opener vs. Shanghai on 10/2 and had 10 points with a team-high 11 rebounds… he averaged 8.3 points and 7.7 rebounds in 35 starts last season… Capela scored in double-figures 20 times last season after doing so once as a rookie in 2014-15.

Pregame notes for Rockets vs Sharks

Rockets team notes for game vs Shanghai Sharks tonight:

· This game marks the first time a professional team from China is facing an NBA team in the United States… the Sharks play in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA).

Connections:

· The Sharks are owned by former Rocket Yao Ming… on Feb. 2, 2016, Yao will become just the sixth player in Rockets history to have his number retired.

· Rockets guard Bobby Brown spent the past two years playing in the CBA… last season, he was with the Shenzhen Leopards and averaged 29.2 points, 6.3 assists and 4.7 rebounds.

· Sharks center Wu Guanxi was a member of the Rockets entry in the 2016 Samsung NBA Summer League… Rockets Sam Dekker, Montrezl Harrell, K.J. McDaniels, Chinanu Onuaku, Gary Payton II, Isaiah Taylor and Kyle Wiltjer all played on that team.

· Sharks guard Jimmer Fredette played five seasons in the NBA and was teammates with Rockets forward Ryan Anderson and guard Eric Gordon in New Orleans for the 2014-15 season.

Injury/Status Report:

· The Rockets have no injuries to report.

Rockets News & Notes:

· This marks the 50th season in Rockets franchise history… the San Diego Rockets were established as an expansion team for the 1967-68 season and moved to Houston prior to the 1971-72 season.

· Houston is one of three teams (Dallas and San Antonio) to have gone .500 or better in each of the past 10 seasons… the Rockets have also made the playoffs in four straight seasons, which is tied for the third-longest streak in franchise history.

· Since joining the Rockets in 2012-13, James Harden has scored 533 more points than any other player in the league… he also has made 461 more free throws than any other player has attempted over that span.

· In 27 games played post All-Star break last season, Patrick Beverley averaged 11.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.4 assists after averaging 8.9 ppg, 3.0 rpg and 2.8 apg his first 44 games played.

Rockets sign P.J. Hairston

Rockets sign P.J. Hairston

The Rockets have signed free agent guard/forward P.J. Hairston.

Hairston (6-6, 220) was originally the 26th overall pick by Miami in the 2014 NBA Draft. He spent his first season and a half with Charlotte before being acquired in a three-team trade by Memphis on Feb. 16, 2016.

In 66 games with 52 starts for the Hornets and Grizzlies last season, Hairston averaged 6.2 points and 2.6 rebounds in 19.9 minutes per game. He also hit two or more 3-pointers 19 times in 2015-16, including a career-high 5 at the Los Angeles Lakers on Feb. 26, 2016.

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has signed four players — Bobby Brown, Gary Payton II, Isaiah Taylor and Kyle Wiltjer — in advance of training camp, which takes place at Toyota Center Saturday, Sept. 24 through Saturday, Oct. 1.

Houston’s preseason opener is home against the Shanghai Sharks on Sunday, Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. The Sharks play in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) and are owned by Rockets legend Yao Ming, who was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame earlier this month. It is the first time a professional team from China is facing an NBA team in the United States.

Bobby Brown finished his career as Cal-State Fullerton’s all-time leading scorer. He appeared in a total of 113 NBA games across two seasons in 2008-09 and 200-10 and spent the past two years playing in the CBA. In 2015-16, Brown averaged 29.2 points, 6.3 assists and 4.7 rebounds for the Shenzhen Leopards.

Gary Payton II was eligible for the 2016 NBA Draft and played for the Rockets in the Samsung NBA Summer League. As a senior at Oregon State, Payton II averaged team highs of 16.0 points, 7.8 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 2.5 steals. According to Stats, Inc., he was the first Division I player to average at least 16.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 2.5 steals in a single season dating back to 1996-97, which is as far back as their data tracks.

Isaiah Taylor was an early entry candidate for the 2016 NBA Draft following his junior season at Texas. He started all 92 of his games played during his career with the Longhorns and was named First Team All-Big 12 as a junior after earning Third Team honors as a freshman and sophomore. Taylor also played for the Rockets in the Samsung NBA Summer League.

Kyle Wiltjer was eligible for the 2016 NBA Draft following his senior season at Gonzaga and was a member of the Rockets entry in the Samsung NBA Summer League. He began his collegiate career at Kentucky and was a member of the Wildcats championship team in 2012. Wiltjer was named All-West Coast Conference First Team in both of his seasons with the Bulldogs, averaging 18.6 points and 6.3 rebounds.

Rockets trade Michael Beasley to Bucks for Tyler Ennis

Milwaukee Bucks General Manager John Hammond announced today that the team has acquired forward Michael Beasley from the Houston Rockets in exchange for guard Tyler Ennis.

“We’re excited to add a player with Michael’s skill set to our team,” said Hammond. “He’s someone that we’ve kept our eye on the last few seasons and we’re looking forward to watching him compete throughout training camp and the season.”

Beasley, 27, appeared in 20 games for the Rockets last season and averaged 12.8 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. Prior to signing with Houston, Beasley played in China with the Shandong Golden Stars and averaged 31.9 points, 13.4 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.3 blocks per game, earning the CBA’s Foreign MVP Award for the 2015-16 season. While playing for Shandong, Beasley tallied games of 48 and 49 points and was named MVP of the CBA All-Star Game for the second straight year after recording 63 points, 19 rebounds and 13 assists for the South team.

The No. 2 overall pick by Miami in the 2008 NBA Draft, Beasley has career NBA averages of 13.0 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 453 games (200 starts) for Miami, Minnesota, Phoenix and Houston.

Ennis (6-3, 194) was an early entry candidate for the 2014 NBA Draft following his freshman season at Syracuse and was selected 18th overall by Phoenix. He was acquired by the Bucks midway through his rookie season. Ennis was born in Brampton, Ontario outside of Toronto and is a member of the Canadian National Team.

Last season, Ennis appeared in 46 games with seven starts for the Bucks. Over the final 18 games, he averaged 7.6 points, 3.7 assists and 2.8 rebounds in just 23.6 minutes per game while shooting 48.3% from the floor. For the season, Ennis ranked fourth in assists per 48 minutes played among players 21 or younger.

Following his freshman season with the Orange, Ennis was named USA Today All-America Second Team. He ranked sixth in the nation, and first among freshman, with a 3.60 assist-to-turnover ratio, and led the ACC in both assists and steals.

“We wish Tyler the best and thank him for his contributions to the Bucks, both on and off the court,” Hammond added.

Donatas Motiejunas is a 7-foot, 222-pound power forward averaged 12.0 points and 5.9 rebounds in 28.7 minutes per game for the Rockets two seasons ago, but just 6.2 points and 2.9 rebounds in 14.8 minutes per game, in just 37 games played, for the Rockets last season. Here’s ESPN.com with the latest:

Rockets, Donatas Motiejunas apart in negotiations

The agent for Houston Rockets restricted free-agent power forward Donatas Motiejunas expressed some concern with the team about a lack of progress on a new contract.

“They haven’t made us a serious offer,” Motiejunas’ agent, BJ Armstong, told ESPN on Wednesday. “Our moment of truth will be Oct. 1. We’ll make a decision on that day.”

The Rockets, who don’t comment publicly regarding pending player contracts, made a $3.4 million qualifying offer this summer.

Rockets sign Pablo Prigioni

Rockets sign Pablo Prigioni

The Rockets are limited at the point guard position, with Patrick Beverley and little else. Today they added depth to the spot with the signing of free agent guard Pablo Prigioni (pronunciation: pri-gee-OH-nee).

The team is still weak at the PG spot, especially with many of the NBA’s elite point guards residing in the Western conference. Though, shooting guard James Harden creates a lot of the team’s offense.

The 6-3, 185-pound Prigioni has appeared in 270 games with 51 starts across four NBA seasons while posting an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.98. Dating back to 2012-13, he is one of 10 players with at least 270 games played to have more steals than turnovers, joining teammates Trevor Ariza and Corey Brewer. Prigioni spent the second half of the 2014-15 season with the Rockets and helped the team advance to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 1996-97.

A native of Argentina, Prigioni has been playing professionally since he was 18 years old.

He will wear #9 for the Rockets.

Rockets sign Chinanu Onuaku

Rockets sign Chinanu Onuaku

The Rockets signed rookie forward/center Chinanu Onuaku (Chih-NAH-noo On-ooh-AH-koo) today.

According to the Houston Chronicle, it is a three-year, fully guaranteed deal.

Onuaku was selected by Houston with the 37th overall pick in the 2016 Draft.

Onuaku (6-10, 245) was an early entry candidate for the draft following his sophomore season at Louisville. He averaged 9.9 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks as a sophomore and shot 61.9% from the floor for his career. Onuaku was selected to the ACC All-Defensive team by both media and conference coaches in 2015-16 as well as earning Honorable Mention All-ACC honors.

This past season, the 19-year-old ranked third in the ACC in blocks and had the second-most double-doubles (10) during conference play. Onuaku also helped the U.S. earn a gold medal at the 2015 FIBA U19 World Championship.

He will wear #21 for the Rockets.

Rockets sign Nene

Rockets sign Nene

The Rockets, who have a weak frontcourt and need any help they can get, have signed free agent center Nene (ne-Nay).

If the season began today, the team’s starting power forward may be Ryan Anderson. At center, it could be Nene, or young power forward Clint Capela.

Nene (6-11, 250) was originally the seventh overall pick by New York in the 2002 NBA Draft. In 14 NBA seasons with Denver and Washington, he has appeared in 804 games with 612 starts, while averaging 12.2 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.17 steals.

A member of the Brazilian national team set to compete in the Summer Olympics, Nene has the sixth-highest field goal percentage (.544) among active players and led the NBA in that category in 2010-11, shooting a career-high 61.5%. Over the past 10 seasons, Nene is the only player in the league to average at least 13.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists while shooting 55.0% or better.

He will wear #42 for the Rockets.

ryan anderson

The Houston Rockets yesterday signed free agents Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon.

Anderson’s deal is reportedly an $80 million dollar contract over four years.

Gordon’s deal is reportedly a $53 million dollar contract over four years.

Anderson (6-10, 240) was originally the 21st overall pick by New Jersey in the 2008 NBA Draft and has played eight seasons for the Nets, Orlando and most recently New Orleans. In 484 games with 159 starts, he is averaging 13.1 points and 5.6 rebounds, including 16.1 ppg over the past five seasons. Anderson has also shot 80.0% or better from the foul line in all eight of his seasons and 86.1% overall.

Since entering the league in 2008-09, Anderson has the 11th most 3-pointers made (980) of any player and has the sixth-most in NBA history of players listed 6-10 or taller. In 2011-12, he led the league in 3FGM and was named the NBA’s Most Improved Player. Over the past five seasons, Anderson joins Stephen Curry, Kyle Korver, Wesley Matthews and Klay Thompson as the only players to average at least 2.4 3FGM while shooting 37.5% or better from behind-the-arc.

eric gordon

Gordon (6-4, 215) was originally the seventh overall pick by the Los Angeles Clippers in the 2008 NBA Draft and has played eight seasons for the Clippers and Hornets. For his career, Gordon has appeared in 417 games with 398 starts, while averaging 16.6 points, 3.3 assists, 2.5 rebounds and 1.06 steals. He is also a career 81.4% shooter from the foul line, including 88.8% in 2015-16.

Over the past three seasons, Gordon joins Stephen Curry, Kyle Korver, J.J. Redick and Klay Thompson as the only players to average at least 2.0 3FGM while shooting 40.0% or better from behind-the-arc. Gordon has averaged at least 15.0 points in seven of his eight seasons, including a career-high 22.3 ppg with the Clippers in 2010-11.

Rockets sign James Harden to contract extension

Houston Rockets Owner Leslie Alexander announced yesterday that the team has signed guard James Harden to a four-year contract extension that will take him through the 2019-20 season.

According to Sports Illustrated, “Harden was already under contract through the 2017–18 season on a five-year, $78 million rookie extension.”

Harden’s new extension is reportedly a $118 million dollar contract over four years.

A very efficient offensive player who is one of the league’s best players at getting to the foul line, Harden’s defensive ability and focus continues to need improvement.

Since being acquired by the Rockets in October of 2012, Harden has been selected to four straight All-Star Games and has been named to an All-NBA Team three times, including First Team in 2013-14 and 2014-15.

Harden’s teams have made the playoffs in each of his seven NBA seasons and have advanced to the Conference Finals three times, including a Finals appearance in 2011-12. His teams have also never posted a losing record and have won 50-plus games four times. In 2014-15, Harden finished second in voting for the NBA’s Most Valuable Player Award and was named MVP at the National Basketball Players Association’s inaugural Players Awards. That season, Harden led the Rockets to their first division title since 1993-94 and their first Western Conference Finals appearance since 1996-97.

This past season, Harden averaged career highs in scoring (29.0 ppg), rebounding (6.1 rpg), and assists (7.5 apg). He became the fourth different player in NBA history to average at least 29.0 points, 7.0 assists and 6.0 rebounds in a single season, joining LeBron James, Michael Jordan, and Oscar Robertson. Harden also became the fourth different player to average at least 27.0 points, 7.0 assists and 5.0 rebounds in multiple seasons, joining John Havlicek, James, and Robertson.

Rockets hire Mike D`Antoni as head coach

The Houston Rockets have named Mike D’Antoni [dan-TONE-ee] as the 13th head coach in the history of the franchise. He is the fifth head coach since Leslie Alexander took over ownership in 1993.

“We are thrilled to add a coach of Mike’s caliber and experience,” said Alexander. “Mike’s ingenuity laid the groundwork for what drives success in today’s NBA and we are confident in his ability to help reignite our pursuit of a championship.”

The Rockets finished last season with a 41-41 record and lost four games to one in the first round of the 2016 playoffs to the Warriors. They were a good offensive team last regular season but struggled on defense.

D’Antoni has over a quarter of a century of coaching experience. Over a four season span as head coach of Phoenix from 2004-05 through 2007-08, he guided the Suns to a record of 232-96 (.707), including back-to-back trips to the Western Conference Finals in 2005 and 2006. In eight seasons as a head coach in Italy, D’Antoni compiled a 288-101 (.740) mark. D’Antoni also served as an assistant coach for USA Basketball, with the National Team posting a 49-1 mark during his time on staff, while earning gold medals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

In 2004-05, D’Antoni was named NBA Coach of the Year after leading Phoenix to a franchise-high tying 62 wins in his first full season as head coach. The Suns increased their scoring average by 16.2 points per game over the previous season, marking the largest scoring increase from one season to the next by any team since the introduction of the shot clock in 1954-55.

A dual citizen of the U.S. and Italy, D’Antoni was named one of the 50 Most Influential Personalities in European Club Basketball history by Euroleague Basketball in 2008. He spent parts of four seasons playing in the NBA and ABA during the mid-70’s before embarking on a standout career in the Italian League.

Rockets coaching search update

The Rockets finished 41-41 this past regular season and then were quickly tossed out of the playoffs. Some roster changes are needed. But first, they need a head coach. Here’s ESPN.com with the latest:

The Houston Rockets, after focusing their coaching search on Mike D’Antoni for much of the past week, have opted to broaden the search.

The Rockets, according to league sources, have scheduled a Monday interview with San Antonio Spurs assistant coach James Borrego, who is a finalist for the Memphis Grizzlies’ coaching vacancy.

ESPN reported earlier this week that Borrego and Miami Heat assistant David Fizdale had emerged as strong contenders for the Grizzlies’ post following the decision by Frank Vogel, Memphis’ top target, to take the Orlando Magic job.

Basketball blog