Archive for the ‘ Houston Rockets Blog ’ Category

The Houston Rockets are expected to trade Omer Asik soon. Here’s ESPN.com reporting some possibilities:

Boston Celtics reportedly have interest in Omer Asik

The day has arrived for the Houston Rockets to live up to their vow to trade disgruntled center Omer Asik.

The Rockets have been telling teams for two weeks that they will trade Asik by Thursday, and according to sources close to the process, they gradually continued to move in that direction Wednesday.

ESPN.com reported Tuesday that the Boston Celtics had emerged as the strongest rivals to the Philadelphia 76ers in terms of Asik’s likely destination. Entering the final hours before the Rockets’ self-imposed deadline, sources said Houston officials spent much of Wednesday weighing the merits of Boston’s offer of forward Brandon Bass, guard Courtney Lee and a future first-round draft pick for the 7-footer from Turkey while also remaining engaged in talks with Philadelphia and leaving open the possibility that other teams could still join the bidding.

The Rockets, sources said, have been interested in prying veteran center Spencer Hawes away from the Sixers along with a future first-round pick, but they won’t know until Thursday whether Philadelphia is prepared to part with that much for Asik or whether Boston’s offer is the best available.

Here’s the Houston Chronicle with an update on coach McHale and the Rockets:

Rockets coach Kevin McHale didn’t waste any time getting things back to normal in the practice gym at Toyota Center on Tuesday.

It was business as usual for McHale, who has been away from the team for a week due to the Dec. 10 death of his mother Josephine in Minnesota.

McHale came in with a list of things to practice, went over his thoughts about the last two games, and worked on getting the Rockets prepared to host Chicago on Wednesday night.

“It’s nice to be back,” McHale said.

His players agreed.

Guard Pat Beverley said the team missed having McHale on the sideline.

“It was good to see his face. Definitely missed him,” Beverley said. “I’m glad he is back, and he came right in talking about the game from his point of view, which is good for this team.”

The Houston Rockets and Omer Asik will probably part ways soon. Here’s ESPN.com with a look at some trade scenarios:

omer asik

The Houston Rockets, as they’ve been telling teams all month, remain on course to trade disgruntled big man Omer Asik by Thursday, according to sources close to the process.

Numerous teams consulted by ESPN.com in recent days have said they are convinced the Rockets will indeed go ahead with a trade headlined by Asik before their self-imposed deadline of Dec. 19, with sources saying Tuesday that the Boston Celtics are increasingly active in the Asik talks.

As a result, the Celtics now are widely regarded as the strongest rivals to the Philadelphia 76ers in terms of the likely destination for Asik, with many rival executives expecting the final form of a trade built around the 7-footer from Turkey to feature at least three teams.

Sources have described the Atlanta Hawks as Houston’s preferred trade partner because the Rockets came to the conclusion last month that, despite their attempts to placate Asik, they eventually would have to give in to the unhappy center’s long-running desire to be moved in the wake of Dwight Howard’s arrival in July. Yet it remains unclear, sources say, how interested Atlanta really is in parting with coveted forward Paul Millsap — who’s considered an ideal frontcourt complement to Howard — in exchange for Asik.

Here’s the Houston Chronicle on Israeli forward Omri Casspi, who has been a great fit as a supporting cast member of the Rockets this season:

Omri Casspi loving NBA life with Houston Rockets

A career that had gotten off to a promising start in Sacramento had seemed to hit bottom in Cleveland. He did not know where basketball would take him next but had begun to accept that he could be headed back to Europe, rather than back to Sacramento this weekend as such a vital part of the Rockets rotation.

Then with one voice message that he still won’t delete from his phone, everything changed. With that call, he not only knew where his career was headed, the confidence that had become so fractured, taking much of his game with it, was revived. All that had gone wrong seemed to have been made right again.

“Coach (Kevin) McHale left me a message over the summer when they started recruiting me and we started talking,” Casspi said. “I still have it. He said he wanted me to play the three and the four. He explained I could spread the floor and help the team win and that he liked the way I compete. That was one of the main reasons I came here. I still have that message and I still listen to it once in a while.

“It was the first time I really talked to a coach that really talked to me. This team was obviously was supposed to be good whether I was going to be here or not. But to be a part of the team that can compete and compete for a championship, after what I’d been through, and then he left me this message that said he loves me and wants me to come and play hard and help and do the things I do. That was just an emotional day, you know.”

Omer Asik and the Houston Rockets are in a tough situation. Asik wants a bigger role, but Dwight Howard is the bigger talent. And while the two have spent time playing next to each other, that does not appear to be a long-term solution. Here’s the Houston Chronicle reporting:

omer asik

Dwight Howard and Chandler Parsons said they understand Omer Asik’s frustrations with his role with the Rockets this season. Asik has started eight of the 10 games this season. He didn’t play on Thursday in New York amidst reports that he was requesting to be traded.

Howard said that understands that Asik is in a tough situation.

“Totally, I understand where he is coming from – his frustration, sharing the floor,” Howard said. “I understand it’s tough for him. The only thing I can do is be his friend off the floor and help him anyway I can. I understand its a tough situation for him, but we are all family and we have to learn to fight through frustrations.”

NBA players tend to say that returning as a visitor to play in an arena that used to be their home is no big deal. And while sometimes that may be true, but in general I always assume they’d love to step up and drop an especially big game on their former fans. Here’s New York Newsday:

Jeremy Lin says return to MSG is no big deal

It’s been nearly two years since Jeremy Lin reached uncharted territory and his popularity took off internationally with the Knicks.

Now, in his second season with the Rockets, Lin makes another return to Madison Square Garden Thursday night to play the Knicks. Lin still gets excited about playing in New York, but the 25-year-old puts the situation in perspective.

“For me it’s just another game. It’s two years removed so I’m just going to play basketball and not going to worry too much about Madison Square Garden,” Lin said. “Obviously I have so many great memories there and will cherish it forever, but it’s just basketball.

“A lot of the attention will be on James [Harden] and Dwight [Howard], them coming to the Garden.”

Houston Rockets to try a smaller lineup

Here’s the Houston Chronicle on the Rockets shaking up their lineup:

omer asik

The Rockets’ great two-centers experiment could be over.

If not over, it will likely be put on hiatus. With matchups against the smaller lineups of the 76ers tonight and Knicks on Thursday ahead, Rockets coach Kevin McHale apparently decided it is too big to succeed, at least for now.

McHale would not specify the lineup change he had in mind, but said there would be a change to go smaller than the combination of Dwight Howard and Omer Asik that has started every game this season. Second-year forward Terrence Jones started the second half on Monday and played 32 minutes, 15 more than he had played in the season’s first seven games combined. Omri Casspi has received the bulk of the minutes at power forward off the bench.

“We’re going to try something different here these next couple games with the big lineup,” McHale said. “I looked at that. Mixed results on the whole thing. With matchups, guys are a little smaller, so we’re going to go a little smaller.”

When you’re a big man and low-post legend Kevin McHale gives you tips, you’d be smart to listen. Here’s the Houston Chronicle reporting:

Kevin McHale urges Dwight Howard to get low

Kevin McHale’s low-post lessons for Dwight Howard have only just begun, but the coach started close to home — his home. The dedicated Minnesota Vikings fan cited the play of All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson.

“Just staying low,” Howard said of McHale’s direction. “He always refers to Adrian Peterson and how he runs through different holes in the game. He runs real low. He was saying I have the ability to do the same thing: use my quickness and my speed to get around guys. I have to get low to be able to do it.”

McHale does have more in store.

“We’re just getting started together,” McHale said. “It’s a whole new offense for him. We’ve worked, but not as much as we will work.”

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced that the team has waived center Marcus Camby (as of Oct. 27) and guard Reggie Williams, which brings the Rockets roster down to 15 players.

Camby has had lingering injury problems, and it doesn’t appear he’ll be able to help any NBA team in the near future. It’ll be interesting to see if he tries to keep playing, or calls it a career.

Dwight Howard discusses leaving the Lakers

“Everybody’s saying I was a ‘coward’ for leaving [the Lakers], and I knew I was going to get that,” [Dwight] Howard said Tuesday. “But I think with the situation I had to do what was best for Dwight.

“I know when I wanted to leave Orlando, and I decided to stay, I wasn’t happy on the inside. I wanted to please everybody else and ended up hurting a lot of people by doing it the way I did. So, this time it’s like I had a second chance.

“I said, ‘You know what? People are going to hate me for whatever reason, so I can’t allow that to stop me from making my decision.’ I thought that my decision took a lot of guts because everybody’s saying, ‘How could you leave the Lakers and six billion fans?’ But I don’t care about being an outcast or about being somebody that may look bad. All I’ve got to do is win now, and I’m in the right situation.”

Reported by Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel

Dwight Howard

Former Magic coach Stan Van Gundy was one of the key advisors who helped Dwight Howard decide to sign with the Houston Rockets.

That’s what Dwight Howard told reporters in Houston what Stan confirmed to Open Mike.

From Dwight, courtesy of the Houston Chronicle: “I talked to Stan a lot during last season. During the offseason, we talked and he felt like the system that would fit me best and the coaching staff would be Houston. He said he liked (Kevin McHale). He likes (Hakeem Olajuwon). He likes (James Harden) and the fact that this is a young team. It reminds him of the team we had in Orlando so he felt like this would be a good fit for me.”

Howard went on to say that he now has a great relationship with the coach he tried to get fired in Orlando: “One side is business and one side is personal,” he told the Chronicle.

Reported by Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel

A healthy Marcus Camby would be a terrific limited-minutes backup to new Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard. We repeat: healthy.

marcus camby

Rockets center Marcus Camby, expected to be out another two weeks with a foot injury, could be out much longer if things don’t improve soon. Camby said Wednesday that the therapy he has been trying is to improve his condition enough to avoid surgery that would likely keep him out for as much as two months.

“My plantar fascia is torn,” Camby said. “I’m trying to do whatever I can to avoid surgery. We’re just going to rehab it and see how it goes in the next two weeks and take it from there. We don’t want to rehab it and nurse it and have it still be lingering. That is something I’m going to sit back and figure out and definitely look toward long term, as the season progresses to the second half of the season. I have to be smart about it.”

Reported by Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle

As more injuries pile up on Camby’s old shoulders, relying on him becomes less realistic.

Houston Rockets not at full speed yet

With two days until the Rockets take the court for their first preseason game, the team is still working out the kinks in their own game.

“We’re not going to get everything down pat right away. It takes time,” Rockets center Dwight Howard said. “The biggest thing is not to get frustrated with it, not allow the mistakes to slow us down, but to keep moving. I think we’re doing a pretty good job at it.”

The Rockets scrimmaged Thursday afternoon, playing game-like situations with referees and free throws, but stopping every few possessions to make sure everyone’s on the same page and reset on offense and defense.

Reported by John Kelly of CSN Houston

Dwight Howard

Howard wants to take James’ and the Miami Heat’s title, but confesses to finding comfort in the redemption of the best player on the planet. For Howard, another scorned star, James’ redemption represents the light in the distance.

“He got hated for a lot of reasons,” Howard told Yahoo. “I was really, really happy when LeBron finally won. I was unhappy that it wasn’t me up there, but I was glad to see him get through that whole thing.

“I knew exactly how he felt. People putting you down, saying bad things about your character, who you are as a person. It doesn’t sit well with you. When you go out on the court, you want to show them, ‘Hey, this isn’t who I am.’

“Here’s a guy who’s a great basketball player. He did something that was for him, and he did it in front of the whole world. I realized then that our issues, our problems, our flaws are out there for the world to see. You can’t run from it. We have to learn from our mistakes and move forward.”

Reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports

EPIX to deliver a Dwight Howard documentary

Looks like Jeremy Lin won’t be the only Rockets player with his own documentary.

Dwight Howard has teamed with EPIX to offer an exclusive look into his life and path to becoming a megastar. A big part of the original documentary, EPIX Presents Dwight Howard: In the Moment, includes footage of Howard during his recruitment and decision to come to Houston, so that should be of particular interest to Rockets fans. It will also retrace his youth and career path and will help answer the question, ‘who is the real Dwight Howard?’

Reported by Sara Eckert of CSN Houston

Houston Rockets CEO thinks team may sell out every home game

The Rockets’ first prediction of the season might not be topped, even if this one never mentioned games to be won or a championship to be chased.

Kevin McHale will not be so bold. His players are as unlikely to be as daring. Their boss, however, did not hesitate, at least when it came to the goals of his wing of Toyota Center and the business of basketball.

The Rockets, CEO Tad Brown said, will sell out every home game this season. For the Rockets in the Toyota Center era, that is a huge proclamation.

“We’re further ahead in our sales process at this time than we ever have been,” Brown said heading into the start of team workouts Saturday. “The season-ticket base is up 34 percent. We are close to being sold out of season tickets. And we are pretty confident with the excitement that this team has already created in the market that we’ll be sold out of every game.”

Reported by Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle

Spurs Sports & Entertainment today announced that they have named Ken McDonald as head coach of the Austin Toros.

McDonald served as an assistant last season for the Toros under head coach Taylor Jenkins, where he helped lead the team to a 27-23 overall record and to the semifinals of the 2013 NBA D-League Playoffs.

Prior to the Toros, McDonald served as head coach at Western Kentucky University from 2008-12 where he accumulated a 67-48 overall record. In his first season with the Hilltoppers, McDonald guided the school to the Sun Belt regular season and tournament championships, and to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

The Rhode Island native served as an assistant coach for the University of Texas (2004-08) where he helped guide the Longhorns to four straight NCAA Tournament appearances. During his four seasons on the Texas bench the Longhorns posted a 106-35 (.752) record. The 106 wins are still the most victories in a four-year period in school history. Texas captured Big 12 Conference regular-season championships in both 2005-06 and 2007-08 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament “Elite Eight” in both of those years as well.

McDonald also served as an assistant coach at the University of Georgia (2003-04), Western Kentucky University (1998-2003) and Clemson University (1994-98).

A Providence College graduate, McDonald played two seasons with the Friars before playing professionally for the St. Paul Revelles in Killarney, Ireland from 1993-94. Before transferring to Providence he played two seasons at the Community College of Rhode Island, where he was a first-team junior college All-American, setting school records for single season scoring as well as three-pointers made in a game, season and career.

The Toros are scheduled to open the 2013-14 NBA D-League season on the road Nov. 22 when they visit the Santa Cruz Warriors. The team will open its home slate on Dec. 1 against the Delaware 87ers at 3 p.m. inside Cedar Park Center.

Rockets GM stays realistic on shot at championship

Asked by Houston’s SportsRadio 610 about the Rockets’ 2014 championship chances, Morey urged perspective.

“I think there are probably at least three teams better than us if not more,” he said, hardly the type of restraint offered a year ago in Los Angeles, before the Lakers’ Howard, Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant succumbed to injuries.

“Until you’re going into a season felling like you are the top one or two, I think it’s, and we haven’t really accomplished anything, I think it’s hard to talk about, ‘Hey, we’re one of the favorites to win the championship.’ But I do think we go in with a chance, where as we haven’t in the last few years.”

And, yes, he has the Heat a step above, when asked if the Heat, Thunder and Spurs were the three teams he was referencing.

Reported by Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel

Former Rocket Royce White made headlines Wednesday when TMZ reported that he was being investigated for domestic violence.

On Thursday, White released a statement through his lawyer:

“Royce has seen today’s media reports that law enforcement in Texas is investigating claims of domestic violence by a terminated and disgruntled former employee of his charitable organization. Royce vehemently denies the allegations and is looking forward to a speedy and just resolution of these unfortunate and unfair claims. It is all too easy to make allegations, especially when directed at a person who is in the public eye. Royce hopes that the media will be equally attentive when these allegations ultimately are rejected.”

Reported by Jenny Dial Creech of the Houston Chronicle (Blog)

NBA player Royce White — who famously missed his rookie season with the Houston Rockets due to mental health issues — is at the center of a criminal investigation in Texas after allegedly beating up his then-girlfriend … TMZ has learned.

We know … White’s ex-girlfriend Tania Mehra — a Maxim model — filed a police report on August 30 to report an incident that went down at Royce’s Houston-area home back in June.

According to law enforcement, records show someone called 911 on June 22, 2013 to report a laceration above Tania’s right eye. Cops say at the time, Tania claimed she suffered the injury from an “accidental fall.”

Reported by TMZ.com

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