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Rockets off-season thus far
This article is from the clutchfans bbs.
Rockets complete steal of Scola
New Rockets forward happy to be in Houston alongside Yao, T-Mac
WEDNESDAY, JULY 18, 2007 8:51 PM CST
Copyright 2007 ClutchFans.net
As I watched the Rockets introduce new power forward Luis Scola yesterday, the main question running through my head was "How?"
How did the Rockets get Scola for so little?
How did the Rockets sign Scola for so little?
How did the Rockets pull this off with an in-division, in-state rival?
How did the Rockets significantly upgrade the team's two big weaknesses without giving up a single one of what was perceived to be the trade assets they had at their disposal?
Their first round pick. The expiring contract of Bobby Sura. Luther Head. Maybe Shane Battier.
Luis Scola (and the Rockets) were all smiles on Tuesday (photo taken by Jeff Balke)
Those were the four big assets most thought Rockets general manager Daryl Morey had to work with in trying to land a point guard, a power forward and somehow a legitimate third scorer.
All four assets have so far remained in Houston, yet Morey was able to bring in Mike James in a classic buy-low move, convince Bonzi Wells to stay for relative peanuts, acquire Scola for table scraps and, oh yeah ... draft the guy who many now are saying could be the steal of the 2007 NBA Draft in Aaron Brooks.
You're starting to get the feel that Kobe Bryant isn't far behind, but only after the Timberwolves can introduce John Lucas III from the Kevin Garnett trade.
But this day was about Scola, who the Rockets list at 6-foot-9 and 245 pounds. The power forward, at 27 years old, was in the prime of his career overseas. He averaged 15.5 points, 5.9 boards and 2.2 assists for Tau Ceramica of the Spanish League last season, earning All-Euroleague First-Team honors.
"I'm so excited to play here, to be in Houston and to be a part of the Rockets," said Scola. "I'll do my best to help the team win games and to help everybody to do a better job."
The Rockets sorely needed bigs, so Morey was, as expected, thrilled to be able to get him.
"We thought he was the best guy out there and we worked really hard to get him," said Morey. "He fills a position of need. He has size and experience. He's been a professional for 11 years. He's been at the highest levels of competition outside the NBA. He's been a winner."
Rockets coach Rick Adelman thought Scola was the right compliment to Yao Ming.
"He's very active, he plays very hard, he's always moving [and] he's a good passer," said Adelman. "He's just a very effective player. Of all the people we looked at as far as a compliment to Yao, he really fills the bill."
Scola said the NBA has always been his dream, but playing with Yao and Tracy McGrady was a bonus.
"When it was all confirmed that I was coming to Houston, the first thing you think is, 'Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady'," said Scola. "It's amazing. For me it's great to be with them and try to help them a little bit, but for sure they're going to help me much more than I can help them because they are such great players that make things easier for everybody else."
Scola, Adelman and Morey were all beaming, but overall, I was still blown away with the "How?"
Even the size of the contract that the Rockets were rumored to have given (3-years at slightly less than $10 million total) was worthy of the question. After all, a guy like Scola would surely command more than that as a free agent in a market where Darko Milicic gets $7 million per.
"You can't be so sure what he would command, but I think he would probably be a more than mid-level [exception] type player," said Morey. "He's comparable in quality of a player to an Andres Nocioni. He's someone that because we were bringing him over and it's sort of a deal that was pre-arranged, we're able to fit him in. We obviously have constraints with our two superstars commanding a lot of the resources."
More from the Press Conference
It's always a great experience going to the Toyota Center, but the elevator rides down to the practice court/media area or up to the other conference rooms are always wild because you never know who you will be getting in to an elevator with. Tuesday it was Rockets CEO Tad Brown and VP of Basketball Operations/Team Trainer Keith Jones. "You're going to love this guy," said Brown on Scola. "He's a great kid."
Former Rocket Steve Francis, now a free agent after a buyout with Portland, was one hot topic after the press conference. Morey said the Rockets have interest, but given some of the other offers that Francis had, he thought the Franchise returning home was a "longshot". Fox Sports reported later last night that the Clippers and Heat are also in the running along with the Rockets.
We had been hearing that with as deep as the Rockets are at point guard that first round pick Aaron Brooks wasn't likely to see much playing time this season. Two different people I spoke with there thought that wasn't so certain. "This coach has no favorites or promised playing time," said one. "And he loves Brooks."
One of the questions I had was if the Rockets knew landing Scola was a possibility when they made their selections on draft night. The answer -- yes. The trade discussions for Scola began before the June 28th NBA Draft.
San Antonio fans don't fret -- Spurs owner Peter Holt has good news coming: He just saved a bunch of money on his car insurance.
and this one is from ESPN
1. Houston Rockets
(added Mike James, Luis Scola, Jackie Butler and Aaron Brooks; lost Juwan Howard and Vassilis Spanoulis; replaced Jeff Van Gundy with Rick Adelman)
While you're focusing on the San Antonio-Dallas-Phoenix triumvirate in the West, don't sleep on Houston. The Rockets have quietly put together a roster that very well could be the last team standing in the Western Conference in 2008.
Start with the decision to replace Van Gundy with Adelman -- a change in direction that will likely make the team more up-tempo and offensive-minded. They'll miss Van Gundy's defensive genius, but given the offensive stagnation this club showed in 2006-07, it's not a bad trade.
Moreover, hiring Adelman was especially important in this case because it basically adds another player to the roster. Bonzi Wells bristled under Van Gundy after showing up out of shape, and hardly played last season. But he seems excited by being reunited with Adelman, who coached him to a strong campaign in Sacramento two years ago.
From there, add in two vastly underrated trades. The first one pilfered James from Minnesota for Howard, giving the Rockets a do-over on the disastrous James-for-Rafer Alston trade two years ago. The second nabbed Scola and Butler from San Antonio in return for Spanoulis.
Scola, a skilled Argentinian who has been one of the best players in Europe for the past half-decade, will make an immediate impact as a starting power forward. Butler, as a young center with strong scoring skills in the post, should energize a second unit that was bereft of offense last season.
In the big picture, the Rockets aggressively addressed their three main problems: stagant offense, point guard and power forward. Between the coaching change, the additions of James and first-round pick Aaron Brooks at the point, the pickups of Scola and Butler up front, and the de facto addition of Wells, this team suddenly looks loaded. At this point in the offseason, nobody has upgraded more than this club.