Archive for the ‘ Houston Rockets Blog ’ Category

Rockets GM Daryl Morey issues statement on Carmelo Anthony

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey today issued a statement on forward Carmelo Anthony’s future with the team.

“After much internal discussion, the Rockets will be parting ways with Carmelo Anthony and we are working toward a resolution,” said Morey. “Carmelo had a tremendous approach during his time with the Rockets and accepted every role head coach Mike D’Antoni gave him. The fit we envisioned when Carmelo chose to sign with the Rockets has not materialized, therefore we thought it was best to move on as any other outcome would have been unfair to him.”

Anthony was originally the third overall pick by Denver in the 2003 NBA Draft and is a 10-time All-Star. He is one of 11 players in NBA history with career averages of at least 24.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 3.0 assists. Anthony is also a three-time Olympic gold medalist and is USA Basketball’s all-time leading Olympic scorer and rebounder.

Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram has been suspended four games without pay, Lakers guard Rajon Rondo has been suspended three games without pay, and Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul has been suspended two games without pay, for their roles in an on-court altercation with 4:13 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Rockets’ 124-115 win over the Lakers on Oct. 20 at Staples Center. The suspensions were announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

Ingram has been suspended for aggressively returning to and escalating the altercation and throwing a punch in the direction of Paul, confronting a game official in a hostile manner, and instigating the overall incident by shoving Rockets guard James Harden. Rondo has been suspended for instigating a physical altercation with, and spitting and throwing multiple punches at, Paul. Paul has been suspended for poking at and making contact with the face of Rondo, and throwing multiple punches at him.

Paul will begin serving his suspension tonight when the Rockets face the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center. Ingram and Rondo will begin serving their suspensions on Mon., Oct 22, when the Lakers host the San Antonio Spurs.

To view the incident, click on this link.

Rockets promote Monte McNair to assistant general manager

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that Monte McNair has been promoted to assistant general manager. McNair originally joined the Rockets as an analyst in 2007 and became Director of Basketball Operations in 2013 before transitioning to Vice President of Basketball Operations in 2015.

“Monte has been absolutely critical to the success of the Rockets over his long tenure,” said Morey. “His unique combination of analytical skills and ability to work with our coaching staff was a key driver in our record breaking season last year.”

In addition to managing the analytic efforts of the Rockets basketball operations department, McNair is involved with all avenues of player evaluation, including trade, free agency, and the draft. Over the past four seasons, McNair has worked closely with the coaching staff to provide on-court strategy and analysis along with opponent preparation.

A native of Oak Park, Calif. outside of Los Angeles, McNair played football at Princeton University, where he majored in computer science. Prior to joining the Rockets, McNair worked as a researcher at STATS LLC.

The Houston Rockets have waived forward Bruno Caboclo, and guards Angel Rodriguez, Tim Bond and Brandon Sampson.

Bond was eligible for the 2018 NBA Draft following a four-year career at Eastern Michigan. As a senior, he was named Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Year and broke Earl Boykins school record for career steals.

Caboclo was originally the 20th overall pick by Toronto in the 2014 NBA Draft. He spent his first three and a half seasons with the Raptors before finishing 2017-18 with Sacramento.

Rodríguez was eligible for the 2016 NBA Draft following his senior season at the University of Miami. Last season he played for Maccabi Haifa B.C. in the Israeli league, averaging 13.1 points, 4.7 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 2.4 steals.

Sampson was eligible for the 2018 NBA Draft following his junior season at Louisiana State. Following his senior year of high school in 2015, Sampson was named Mr. Basketball in the state of Louisiana.

Rockets sign guard Angel Rodriguez

Rockets sign guard Angel Rodriguez

The Houston Rockets have signed free agent guard Ángel Rodríguez.

Rodríguez (5-11, 181) was eligible for the 2016 NBA Draft following his senior season at the University of Miami. Over his final three seasons with the Hurricanes, Rodríguez averaged 12.0 points, 4.6 assists, and 1.7 steals. He has since played professionally in France, Israel, and his home country, Puerto Rico.

Rockets sign Brandon Sampson

Rockets sign Brandon Sampson

The Houston Rockets have signed free agent guard Brandon Sampson.

The deal is likely non-guaranteed and will probably only last through preseason, which ends in a few days.

Sampson (6-5, 184) was eligible for the 2018 NBA Draft following his junior season at Louisiana State. He played for Atlanta in both the Utah Jazz Summer League and the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. Following his senior year of high school in 2015, Sampson was named Mr. Basketball in the state of Louisiana.

Many of you have forgotten about Michael Carter-Williams. Or you’ve written him off. But he’s in an interesting situation now, as a backup in Houston to some of the league’s best guards. It’s tough to predict how many minutes he’ll get this regular season but he certainly has an opportunity to earn a pretty big supporting cast role, off the bench.

Of course, watching him as a rookie it was presumed he’d be a starter in the league. Maybe he will be again. But for now, the Rockets are a nice opportunity. Here’s the Houston Chronicle with more on him:

Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said Carter-Williams has looked ready to be a fill-in at the point if Harden or Paul are out, but that the play is still to have Paul work as the backup point.

“We keep either James or Chris on the floor all the time,” D’Antoni said. “We’ll still stagger James and Chris so MCW will be off the ball more than he does in scrimmages. That’s just the way our team is made up. But if we needed him if someone got injured or was out of the game, he would be the backup point. He can play off the ball, too. He’s in a good spot. James and Chris like to play together (in practices) because they’re still learning what they can do.”

The Rockets have another serious guard to bring off their bench: Brandon Knight. Though he still needs to get healthy, and that has been a lengthy concern. So for now, MCW has a very clear window of opportunity.

Will Rockets defense hold up in 2018-19?

The Rockets were an excellent defensive team last season. It was a total team effort, but a couple of key individual reasons why the squad defended well are no longer wearing Rockets jerseys. Presumably, they’ll drop off a bit in that department then, yes? Maybe. Here’s the Houston Chronicle reporting the words of head coach Mike D’Antoni, who of course isn’t about to agree that the team will drop off in any way.

For the second time this week, Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni on Friday expressed great confidence about his team’s defense despite the departures in free agency of Luc Mbah a Moute and Trevor Ariza. He specifically cited the defensive abilities of Eric Gordon and James Ennis III who have both worked extensively with the starters in training camp.

The above will certainly be worth watching. Especially the role Carmelo Anthony winds up playing.

No matter what, the Rockets should be one of the West’s best squads again, but whether they can match last season’s success of course remains to be seen.

Melo says all is good with Mike D`Antoni

Mike D’Antoni coached Carmelo Anthony in New York. It didn’t work out too well. Now D’Antoni will coach him in Houston. Here’s the Houston Chronicle reporting Melo’s positive-minded words at media day today:

Any issues the two had with each other in the past are staying there though, Anthony said Monday at Rockets media day.

“I think when Mike was trying to run his system in New York , the timing wasn’t right,” Anthony said. “That’s something that we both acknowledge.”

Anthony said he and D’Antoni had a conversation about their time in New York. Both admitted the problems they’d had and made the decision to move forward. Neither anticipate any issues as they pair up this season with the Rockets.

“The good thing… I liked about having that conversation with Mike was the simple fact that he made it very loud and clear – I am much more mature, he is more mature. He’s older, I’m older. We both are out of New York, which could be a very intense situation and now there’s opportunity to start a new chapter.”

Full article

A new Rocket who will likely have a big role off the bench will be out at least for preseason, reports the Houston Chronicle:

Rockets guard Brandon Knight, who missed last season with the Suns because of a knee injury, will be out for the preseason and likely beyond.

Acquired along with Marquese Chriss for Ryan Anderson and De’Anthony Melton, Knight was expected to compete for a role as a third point guard behind James Harden and Chris Paul, and could be in the mix to earn a role playing with Harden, Paul or Eric Gordon in small lineups.

Full article

Rockets made moves with Warriors in mind

Here’s the Houston Chronicle with an interview that provides some insight on Rockets decision-making:

Question: You mentioned an obsession with beating the Warriors last season? They remain the team to beat. How much do your roster decisions or Mike D’Antoni’s rotation decisions consider a potential matchup with the Warriors as opposed to decisions that might be made in general?

Rockets general manager Daryl Morey: I’d say a lot, a very high percentage. A lot of those decisions work against every team. Same as last year, it’s very likely to win the title we’re going to have to beat the Warriors at some point. We’re doing what we can to prepare for them. To me, that’s what any rational person would do. I’m intrigued by some thinking it’s odd that we say that. Maybe because it’s not a norm. Ask any fan, ‘Who do you have to beat to win the title?’ They’re going to say ‘the Warriors.’ It seems like GM speak or coachspeak to not say that.

Full article

NBA coach Jeff Bzdelik to retire

Jeff Bzdelik, a longtime coach who is currently with the Houston Rockets, is reporting hanging up his clipboard and calling it a career. Here’s the Houston Chronicle reporting:

Bzdelik, 65, had been weighing whether to return for a third season on Mike D’Antoni’s staff throughout the summer, reaching his decision this weekend, an individual with knowledge of the decision said. He had been uncertain about taking on the demands and time away from family of another season.

The Rockets will shift his responsibilities throughout the coaching staff, with assistant Roy Rogers likely to lead the defense. Former Vipers coach Matt Brase had already been added to D’Antoni’s staff.

Full article

The Houston Rockets have traded forward Ryan Anderson and guard De’Anthony Melton to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for forward Marquese Chriss and guard Brandon Knight.

“We are excited to welcome Ryan Anderson and De’Anthony Melton to Phoenix,” said Suns General Manager Ryan McDonough. “Ryan has established himself as one of the league’s best shooters and we think he’ll be a great fit in our offensive system. De’Anthony is a talented young guard who stood out for us throughout the pre-Draft process and at the NBA Summer League.”

“We’d like to thank Brandon and Marquese for their contributions to the Suns franchise over the past few seasons. We wish them the best of luck as they begin the next chapter of their careers with the Rockets.”

Knight (6-3, 195) was originally the eighth overall pick by Detroit in the 2011 NBA Draft. In six seasons played, he has averaged 15.2 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists. Knight also hit at least 100 3-pointers in five of those six seasons.

Over a three-season span from 2013-14 through 2015-16, Knight was one of 11 players to have averaged at least 18.0 points, 5.0 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.00 steals. James Harden and Chris Paul were two of the other players on that list.

Chriss (6-10, 240) was the eighth overall pick by Sacramento in the 2016 NBA Draft before his rights were acquired by Phoenix. He appeared in all 82 games with 75 starts in 2016-17 and earned NBA All-Rookie Second Team honors.

In two seasons with the Suns, Chriss averaged 8.5 points and 4.8 rebounds in 21.2 minutes per game. He joined Kevin Durant and LeBron James as the only players under the age of 21 by February 1st of their second season to have totaled at least 1,300 points, 700 rebounds, 100 blocks, 100 steals, and 100 3-pointers made within their first two seasons.

Anderson, a 6-10, 240-pound forward, is a 10-year NBA veteran who holds career averages of 12.8 points and 5.4 rebounds while making 2.1 three-pointers per game on 38.2 percent shooting from long range. He has played in 622 career games with New Jersey (2008-09), Orlando (2009-2012), New Orleans (2012-2016) and Houston (2016-2018), in addition to 46 career playoff appearances. One of the most productive “stretch fours” in NBA history, Anderson’s 1,315 career three-pointers are the third-most ever by a player 6-10 or taller, trailing only Dirk Nowitzki and Rashard Lewis.

The 2011-12 NBA Most Improved Player Award winner, Anderson is one of just two players to average at least two three-point makes per game in each of the last eight seasons, joined only by Golden State’s Stephen Curry. Last season, the 30-year-old averaged 9.3 points and 5.0 rebounds while making 2.0 three-pointers on 38.6 percent three-point shooting in 66 games (50 starts) to help the Rockets to a franchise record 65 wins and a berth in the Western Conference Finals.

Anderson entered the NBA after being selected by New Jersey with the 21st overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. The Sacramento native played two seasons collegiately at the University of California, earning First Team All-Pac-10 honors in 2007-08 after leading the conference with 21.1 points per game.

​Melton, a 6-4, 200-pound guard, was selected by the Rockets with the 46th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. The 20-year-old tied for the lead at NBA Summer League 2018 with 3.0 steals per game, in addition to averaging 16.4 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.0 assists. He was the only rookie, and one of just three players overall, to average at least 15 points, seven boards and four assists at NBA Summer League 2018. Melton’s best performance came on July 9 against the LA Clippers when he posted 26 points, 10 rebounds and five assists while making 5-of-10 three-point attempts.

Melton played one season at the University of Southern California before entering the NBA. As a freshman in 2016-17, he averaged 8.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.9 steals and 1.0 blocks while leading the Pac-12 and tying a USC freshman record with 69 steals. Melton became the first freshman in all of Division I basketball to record at least 300 points, 150 rebounds, 100 assists, 60 steals and 35 blocks since Dwyane Wade did so for Marquette in 2001-02.

A native of North Hollywood, California, Melton led Crespi High School in Encino, California to back-to-back state titles in 2015 and 2016.

Rockets sign forward Bruno Caboclo

Rockets sign forward Bruno Caboclo

The Houston Rockets on Monday signed forward Bruno Caboclo, whose last name is pronounced “cuh-BO-clo.”

Caboclo (6-9, 218) was originally the 20th overall pick by Toronto in the 2014 NBA Draft. He spent his first three and a half seasons with the Raptors prior to being traded to Sacramento this past February.

Last season, the 22-year-old appeared in a total of 36 G League games while on assignment with Raptors 905 and the Reno Bighorns, averaging 14.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.5 blocks. Caboclo also averaged 2.4 3-pointers made.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a trade. The Dallas Mavericks have acquired center Chinanu Onuaku (Chih-NAH-noo On-ooh-AH-koo) from the Houston Rockets in exchange for the rights to Maarty Leunen. The Mavericks will also receive cash considerations and the right to swap Golden State’s 2020 second round pick (acquired by Dallas on 7/7/16) with Houston.

Onuaku (6-10, 245) was drafted by Houston in the second round (37th overall) of the 2016 NBA Draft. In two seasons with the Rockets, he averaged 3.0 points, 2.3 rebounds and 12.3 minutes in six career games (one start). In four games for Houston in the 2018 MGM Resorts Summer League in Las Vegas, he averaged 5.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 11.8 minutes per game while shooting .500 from the floor and .833 from the line.

The Lanham, Md., native played two years at the University of Louisville before declaring as an early-entry candidate in the 2016 NBA Draft. As a sophomore, Onuaku averaged 9.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 2.0 blocks in 24.6 minutes per game for the Cardinals and earned All-ACC Defensive Team and All-ACC Honorable Mention.

Leunen (6-9, 220) was acquired by the Mavericks from the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for two-way forward Johnathan Motley and the rights to guard Renaldas Seibutis on July 23, 2018.

Rockets re-sign center Clint Capela

The best-remaining free agent is off the market, and back where he likely belongs.

The Houston Rockets re-signed restricted free agent center Clint Capela today.

Capela has been an excellent fit on the Rockets, and the team re-sign the defensive-minded, undersized yet highly effective center if they wanted to continue as one of the very best teams in the league.

According to ESPN.com, it’s a a five-year, $90 million. And per ESPN, “had he instead signed a $4.3 million qualifying offer, he would have entered 2019 as an unrestricted free agent.”

Capela was selected by Houston with the 25th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. He was runner-up for the NBA’s Most Improved Player award this past season after averaging career-highs of 13.9 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 1.85 blocks. Capela led the league in field goal percentage (.652) while ranking eighth in rebounding and second in blocks.

According to the Houston Chronicle, “Capela had been seeking a deal similar to the contracts received by Rudy Gobert (four years, $102 million) and Steven Adams (four years, $100 million). But those deals were in 2016 when the NBA cap spike sent contracts for free agents that summer skyrocketing. His deal exceeds those for other centers this summer.”

The 24-year-old recorded 42 double-doubles in 74 games played in 2017-18 after having a total of 25 in 154 games played across his first three seasons. The Rockets were 25-2 when he scored at least 15 points, including 11-0 when he scored 20 or more. Houston was also 36-5 when Capela had at least two blocks, including 21-0 when he had three or more.

During the regular season, Capela was the first player in NBA history to have averaged at least 13.0 ppg, 10.0 rpg, and 1.80 bpg in fewer than 28.0 mpg. He was also the first player to have averaged at least 12.0 ppg, 11.0 rpg, and 2.00 bpg in fewer than 31.0 mpg in a single postseason.

Rockets sign Isaiah Hartenstein

Rockets sign Isaiah Hartenstein

The Houston Rockets have signed rookie forward/center Isaiah Hartenstein.

Hartenstein (7-0, 249) was the 43rd overall pick by Houston in the 2017 NBA Draft. He spent last season playing for the Rockets single-affiliation NBA G League partner, Rio Grande Valley. In 38 games with 11 starts for the Vipers, Hartenstein averaged 9.5 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.11 blocks in 18.7 minutes per game while shooting 57.1% from the floor.

The 20-year-old started four games for the Rockets at NBA Summer League 2018, averaging 10.3 points, a team-high 8.0 rebounds, and 2.25 blocks in 21.9 minutes per game while shooting 52.2% from the floor.

When he was 11 years old, Hartenstein moved with his family from Oregon to Germany, where his father, Florian, was playing professional basketball. Isaiah holds dual citizenship and has represented Germany in four FIBA events as well as playing for the World Select Team at the 2017 Nike Hoops Summit. He has played professionally in both Lithuania and Germany.

According to the Houston Chronicle, “the Rockets hope to sign starting center Clint Capela, who remains a restricted free agent and also have Nene, Zhou Qi and Chinanu Onuaku under contract at center. Tarik Black, the Rockets’ third center last season, is a free agent.”

Rockets sign James Ennis III

The Rockets signed free agent James Ennis III today.

The 6-foot-7, 210 pound forward was selected 50th overall by the Hawks in the 2013 NBA Draft. During the past four seasons, Ennis has played in a total of 220 games with 58 starts for Miami, New Orleans, Memphis, and most recently Detroit.

The California native began last season with Memphis before being traded to the Pistons in February. Overall during the season, Ennis averaged 7.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.0 assists in 22.3 minutes per game while shooting 47.4% from the floor and 83.6% from the foul line.

Ennis scored in double-figures 23 times in 2017-18, including a season-high 21 points on 8-of-9 shooting, including 4-of-4 from 3-point range, for Detroit at Orlando on March 2. He recorded a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds against the Rockets on Oct. 23.

During the Grizzlies First Round series vs. San Antonio in the 2017 playoffs, Ennis averaged 8.3 points and 4.2 rebounds while starting four of the six games. He spent the final nine games of 2015-16 with the Pelicans, averaging 15.9 points on 50.0% shooting from the floor, while also averaging 2.7 3-pointers made on 48.0% shooting.

Rockets sign Michael Carter-Williams

Michael Carter-Williams’ NBA career got off to a great start, but now he’s at a turning point and really needs to prove himself for the future. He’ll get a shot at this next season, but as a backup to aging star point guard Chris Paul, in Houston.

The Rockets yesterday signed Carter-Williams. According to ESPN.com, the deal is merely “a one-year, $1.75 million minimum contract.”

Carter-Williams (6-6, 190) was originally the 11th overall pick by Philadelphia in the 2013 NBA Draft. He was named Rookie of the Year in 2013-14, becoming the first double-digit draft pick to do so since Mark Jackson in 1987-88.

In 287 career games with 191 starts, Carter-Williams has averaged 11.5 points, 4.9 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 1.40 steals. Since entering the league in 2013-14, he is one of 10 players with at least 90 games played, including James Harden and Chris Paul, to have averaged at least 11.0 ppg, 4.0 apg, 4.0 rpg, and 1.40 spg.

The 26-year-old spent last season with Charlotte, appearing in 52 games with two starts. He played at least 18 minutes 13 times, averaging 8.4 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 3.0 apg, and 1.46 spg in those games.

The Houston Rockets have signed rookie forwards Gary Clark and Vincent Edwards. And in a related move, the team has waived guard Aaron Jackson.

Clark (6-8, 225) was eligible for the 2018 NBA Draft following his senior season at Cincinnati. He started a school record 137 games while averaging 10.5 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1.3 blocks. Clark led the Bearcats in rebounding in each of his four seasons.

As a senior, Clark was named the American Athletic Conference Player of the Year while picking up AP Honorable Mention All-American distinction. He also earned his second straight AAC Defensive Player of the Year award.

According to Basketball-Reference, which tracks NCAA statistics back to 1992-93, Clark joined David West as the only Division I players with career totals of at least 1,400 points, 1,100 rebounds, 200 assists, 150 steals, and 180 blocks.

Edwards (6-8, 225) spent all four seasons at Purdue, where he started 127 of his 138 games played. As a senior, he averaged 14.6 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 2.9 assists while earning All-Big Ten Second team honors.

Over his final three seasons, Edwards averaged 1.4 3-pointers made on 40.9% shooting. Dating back to 1992-93, he is one of three Division I players with career totals of at least 1,600 points, 750 rebounds, 400 assists, and 170 3-pointers made.

Edwards finished his career at Middleton High School in Ohio as the school’s all-time leading rebounder and ranked second in scoring behind Basketball Hall of Famer Jerry Lucas.

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