BARCELONA — Courtesy of Luis Scola, we bring you a small piece of tangential news today regarding the Dwight Howard saga, this from the player who was amnestied by the Houston Rockets in what appeared to be a clear cut attempt to clear cap space to acquire the Orlando Magic center.
“They (general manager Daryl Morey and VP of player personnel Gersson Roses) called me right around draft day and they said they had drafted power forwards, and they told me they were going to get some big player to help us right now, which I could be a big part of that,” Scola told SheridanHoops.com Sunday night after Scola’s Argentinian national team lost to Team USA 86-80.
“But then failing to do that, and getting some power forwards , they believed they needed to go young,” Scola said. “They told me they don’t think they’re going to be doing nothing in the next 3-4 years, which is when I’m going to be a player. They’re trying to go younger, and they’re looking 3-4 years ahead.”
Did they say it was a signal they were going to get Dwight Howard?
“I don’t know. I don’t know that much.”
Did they mention him?
“No, they didn’t. But I know they’re looking for him. and I know they told me they may need to clear some cap for something that comes up. But I don’t know for a fact,” Scola said. “When I knew I wasn’t going to be on the team, I stopped asking questions about the team. They stopped telling me too.
“Usually, they used to tell me what was going to happen, and what they were looking to have happen. And they told me I wasn’t going to be a part of the team anymore, then they didn’t tell me nothing.”
Scola was amnestied by the Rockets and was claimed on waivers by the Phoenix Suns.
The Rockets, meawhile, have been playing the restricted free agent market to rebuild their team. They added Jeremy Lin with a backloaded $25 million contract that the New York Knicks declined to match, and they are awaiting word from the Chicago Bulls (the deadline is Tuesday night) to learn whether their similarly backloaded offer sheet to center Omer Asik will be matched.
Houston currently lists more than 20 players on its roster, including the three players they acquired from Boston in the Courtney Lee sign-and-trade transaction (E’Twaun Moore, Sean Williams and JaJuan Johnson). The Rockets also acquired Charlotte’s 2013 2nd-round pick in that deal.
So Morey is sitting on a pile of young players and future draft picks which could conceivably be piled together in a trade for Howard, if the Rockets are still inclined to do so. (It would be a risky move, as Howard’s agent, Dan Fegan, has said his client will not sign a contract extension with any NBA team and will become an unrestricted free agent next summer).
But that list of assets includes:
_ Toronto’s first-round pick in 2013 (top-3 protected, then top 2 protected in 2014 and 2015, and unprotected in 2016); a future first-rounder from Dallas (top 20 protected through 2017, then unprotected in 2018); the Bobcats 2nd-round pick in 2013, the Knicks’ second round picks in 2014 and 2015, and a conditional second-round pick from the Clippers in 2015.
_The right to three players selected in the top 18 picks in the 2012 draft: Jeremy Lamb of UConn (12th overall), Royce White of Iowa State (No. 16) and Terrence Jones of Kentucky (No. 18).
_Two young players, including two centers, acquired in the sign-and-trade deal that sent Marcus Camby to the Knicks — Toney Douglas and Josh Harrellson, along with another center, Lithuanian Donatas Montiejunas, who was a first-round pick in 2011.
_ Two young players acquired from the Milwaukee Bucks on draft night in the Samuel Dalembert trade — John Brockman and Shaun Livingston.
Aside from Kevin Martin and Livingston, no signed player among the names on the current roster has more than 4 years of NBA experience. And if Morey is willing to bundle a bunch of those assets in a trade with Orlando, which is looking for a bundle of young players and draft picks, you can’t completely count them out of the Howard sweepstakes.
As Scola said: “I know they’re looking for him.”