SH Blog: Houston Rockets to amnesty Luis Scola, will go after Dwight Howard

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Another day passed by, which meant another day of having to deal with Dwightmare. Orlando’s new general manager Rob Hennigan apparently thought  there was a chance to convince the malcontent center to stay home. See how Howard responded, and how far the Houston Rockets are willing to go to acquire him in today’s news:

  • Rob Hennigan tried to talk Dwight Howard into changing his mind about wanting to be traded from the Magic, but Howard would have none of it, from Ric Bucher: “After several months of trying to trade Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic general manager Rob Hennigan called the All-Star center Wednesday night to see if he’d reconsider giving Hennigan and the Magic’s new regime a chance to keep Howard in Orlando, a source close to Howard said… Hennigan, the source said, based his plea on the fact that he was new to the organization and had not been party to the issues that drove Howard to make his trade request. Team president Alex Martins, who also was on the call, the source said, made a similar plea to Howard last winter when Martins took control of basketball decisions over GM Otis Smith and coach Stan Van Gundy. Howard was not willing to change his stance, the source said. ”I already heard that from the other guy on the phone,” said Howard, according to the source.”
  • The Houston Rockets will go to extreme measures for a chance to acquire Dwight Howard, according to Adrian Wojnarowski: “Houston has decided to use the amnesty provision on Luis Scola and will likely file with NBA on Friday, league sources tell Y! Sports. Scola has three years and $21 million left on his contract. The Rockets are clearing space in pursuit of a Dwight Howard deal. The Rockets will soon have the space to absorb Orlando’s Dwight Howard, Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu, Chris Duhon and Epcot Center.”
  • UPDATE: Blake Griffin will have an arthroscopic surgery due to a meniscus tear, according to Broderick Turner: “Blake Griffin has been diagnosed with a meniscus tear in his left  knee and will have arthroscopic surgery probably early next week, according to NBA executives who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter. Griffin will not be playing for the USA Olympic team in London later this month, but he will be available for Clippers training camp that starts in October. Griffin is expected to be out about eight weeks recovering from the injury and should be fine and ready to play when the season starts, the executive said. Dr. Neal ElAttrache of the Kerlan–Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic will perform the surgery.”
  • Antawn Jamison may end up with a new team soon, and it could be the New Jersey Nets, according to Marc. J. Spears: “Cavs have had talks on possible sign&trade sending Antawn Jamison to Nets,sources tell Y! Lakers can only offer minimum. GS & CHA in mix too.”
  • Elton Brand was officially amnestied by the 76ers today, from John Mitchell: “The Sixers made it official today, finalizing the paperwork required to officially use the amnesty clause on forward Elton Brand. ”On behalf of the Philadelphia 76ers, I want to thank Elton for his contributions to our organization and city,” said Sixers President of Basketball Operations Rod Thorn in a statement. “Decisions of this nature are never easy, particularly when it involves a player of Elton’s talent and character. He worked tirelessly for the overall good of the team every time he put on a Sixers uniform and we wish him nothing but the best.”
  • The Dallas Mavericks will strongly pursue Brand, according to ESPN Dallas: ”The Dallas Mavericks will make a “very aggressive bid” for Elton Brand in the amnesty waiver process, a source close to the situation told’s Jeff Caplan on Wednesday. The Philadelphia 76ers have used their amnesty clause on the 6-foot-8 Brand, making him eligible for teams under the salary cap to put in bids. Whichever team places the winning bid will earn Brand’s services and will pay that amount off the $18.2 million he’s owed next season, the final year of his contract.”
  • Chris Kaman, who had our Tweet of the Night, believes he and Dirk Nowitzki will complement each other nicely, from Jeff Caplan: “The once stringy-haired Kaman who now prefers a close trim said he thinks he and Nowitzki will complement each other well. ”He’s more outside first and then inside second and I think the team has always spaced the floor and kind of stretched it a little because there’s probably been a little bit of lack of scoring inside,” Kaman said. “I’m excited to see what coach (Rick) Carlisle has to put up in there. I know in the past he’s had teams with good post players. I know he’s a good coach, I know he knows what he’s doing and I’m just excited to see what happens next with the team. It’s a different team than they’ve had the last few years just with no Jason Kidd, no Jason Terry, so it will be interesting to see how it goes.”
  • The Minnesota Timberwolves will sign Nicolas Batum to an offer sheet as promised, from Jerry Zgoda: “Two days after the NBA free-agency signing period began, the Wolves are signing Nicolas Batum to that big offer sheet today and when done, Portland will have three days to match. Wolves owner Glen Taylor said the team will submit the signed $46.5 million offer sheet to the NBA  by the end of business today, a distinction that gives the Blazers one last chance to agree to a sign-and-trade. The Wolves are willing to offer draft picks, but aren’t giving up Derrick Williams or Nikola Pekovic. Taylor said he believes the Blazers have seen the offer sheet. “You call their bluff,” he said. Once submitted, you can bet two things: The Blazers will match and they’ll take probably nearly all 72 hours to do it.”
  • Minnesota parted ways with “Mana from heaven”, and is expected to buyout a couple of other contracts. More from Zgoda: “To make salary-cap room, the Wolves did waive Darko Milicic, ending the Manna from Heaven era by agreeing to pay him $7 million of the remaining $10 million-plus left for the last two years on the contract he signed in July 2010. Expect buyouts on Martell Webster and Brad Miller for the remaining year on each contract to come as well.”
  • The New York Knicks formally introduced veterans Jason Kidd and Marcus Camby on Thursday, from Ian Begley: “Kidd, an 18-year veteran, said he’s “excited” to serve as a mentor to the 23-year-old Lin. Kidd was introduced on Thursday at the Knicks’ practice facility along with veteran center Marcus Camby… Grunwald praised both Kidd and Camby, saying the veteran duo brings “experience” and “wisdom” to the Knicks, who lost in five games to the Heat in the first round of last year’s playoffs. ”Marcus is a great leader and is still a great shot blocker, and Jason is still a great point guard,” Grunwald said. “… We’re trying to put together a team that can compete and I think these two guys are going to be a big part of it.”
  • We may finally see the return of Greg Oden in the NBA, according to Chris Tomasson: “Injury-riddled Greg Oden could be returning to the NBA this season. That’s the word from Oden’s agent, Mike Conley, who got a call earlier this week from Oden. He said his client has changed his tune from wanting to take this season off. “(Oden) called me, and he was kind of excited,’’ Conley said Thursday in a phone interview with FOX Sports Florida. “I think he’s motivated …. He wants to play. He had said he wanted to take this season off, but he’s backed off from that …. He’s open to playing this season. I think he will play this season.’’
  • Mike Woodson reiterated what he stated throughout last season: Jeremy Lin is his starting point guard, from Marc Berman: “I won’t do that,’’ Woodson said of benching Lin. “You can’t lose your starting job based on injuries. Jeremy was our starter before he got hurt. Unfortunately he went down with an injury. He’s not going to be punished for that. He’s got work to do this summer. But when he comes back to veterans camp, he’ll have the first nod. He’ll be our starter and Jason will back him up in terms of helping developing this young man into a great point guard.”
  • Stephen Curry’s ankle is nearly healed, according to Marcus Thompson: “Warriors point guard Stephen Curry said his surgically repaired right ankle is at “about 85 to 90 percent.” He said he is expecting to be 100 percent by training camp. Curry had arthroscopic surgery on his right ankle on April 25, performed by Dr. Richard Ferkel inSouthern California. The surgery revealed Curry’s ankle, which caused him to miss 40 games last season, had no structural damage. Dr. Ferkel cleaned out scar tissue and a few bone spurs.”
  • Chris Forsberg wisely explains why Celtics fans should get over losing Ray Allen to the Heat: “Listen, divorce is never easy. The Celtics are Mom, Allen is Dad, and fans are the confused kids stuck in the middle of it all. We’re angry that Dad could just up and leave like that. Now he’s dating some (admittedly attractive) floozy who’s half his age and there are pictures of them all over Facebook canoodling in South Florida. But relationships are hard and most don’t last forever, particularly not in sports. Allen and the Celtics had run their course. The sparks weren’t there anymore like they were when the two sides first fell in love in the summer of 2007. Five years later, they would have stayed together only because it was convenient. Allen made a bold decision, but both sides will be happier in the long run, even if that’s hard for some to see at the moment.”
  • Kobe Bryant, who got some heat from Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan for his comments about the Dream Team, chimed in on Andrew Bynum and DeMarcus Cousins. Kurt Helin has the story: ““Yea, yea. He’s got kind of this f— it attitude, you know what I mean,” Kobe said (and yes, we do). “Which is great, it’s one of the things that makes him a great player. It won’t bother him at all…. Andrew is a big boy, he can handle it better than most.” What about USA Select Team big man Cousins, who has raised some eyebrows — not always in a good way — with his play? “All he has to do is continue to work, continue to keep his level head. That’s all he has to do. That’s all he has to do,” Kobe repeated for emphasis. “If he can do that and can let his basketball talent speak for itself, he’ll be fine. He gets in trouble when he starts letting his emotions get the best of him, now people start talking about that as opposed to his game.”

Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan laughs at Kobe Bryant’s comment 

LeBron James and Jeremy Lin big winners at ESPY Awards

SH Blog: Rockets trade with Bucks, Pau Gasol on the block, Bulls unlikely to make moves

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The Houston Rockets have dominated the off-season thus far with two trades in two days, as they continue to gain assets in hopes to make some blockbuster deals. Find out who they traded and what they plan to do, who the Warriors want and don’t want, Pau Gasol rumors, update on Knicks players plus much more in today’s news:
  • After trading away Chase Budinger yesterday, the Rockets made another trade today, from Adrian Wojnarowski: “The Houston Rockets have traded center Samuel Dalembert and the 14th pick in Thursday’s NBA draft to the Milwaukee Bucks for the 12th pick and three players, league sources told Yahoo! Sports. In addition to the 12th pick, the Rockets will receive guard Shaun Livingston and forwards Jon Leuer and Jon Brockman. The deal allows the Rockets to move up in the draft as they continue to try to compile assets for a possible trade for Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard or Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol. Houston now owns the 12th, 16th and 18th picks.”
  • Houston is making moves, but it’s not to acquire Pau Gasol, reports Ken Berger: “While rival executives believed Houston’s target was Lakers forward Pau Gasol, a person familiar with the team’s strategy debunked that idea and said the Rockets front office has cooled significantly on the 7-foot Spaniard. Gasol made sense when Houston was pursuing him in the past year and was trying to set up a three-year window with Kyle Lowry, Gasol and another big-man target, Nene. But the person briefed on the Rockets’ current plan doubted Gasol would make sense for the franchise anymore.”
  • Berger also updated his report about the Kings resisting an offer from the Rockets to move Tyreke Evans: “Among several avenues the Rockets are exploring would be a trade with Sacramento for the No. 5 pick in a deal that likely would send Tyreke Evans to Houston, sources said. The teams have discussed several scenarios, and while one person briefed on the talks described the deal as “getting close,” rival executives have gotten the strong impression that the Kings are streadfastly resisting the Rockets’ overtures.”
  • The Lakers are shopping Pau Gasol around, according to Chad Ford and Marc Stein: “Sources told that the Lakers have been contacting teams in an effort to acquire a top-10 pick in Thursday’s draft. The Lakers also are seeking an established player along with the pick if they’re to part with Gasol. A deal was not imminent as of Wednesday afternoon.”
  • The Hawks are interested in Pau Gasol, according to Mike Bresnahan: “The Atlanta Hawks have been pursuing Pau Gasol, The Times has learned. Nothing imminent, but Josh Smith would be key piece going to Lakers.”
  • The Clippers may be looking to bring in Lamar Odom while shipping Mo Williams, according to Marc Stein: “The Los Angeles Clippers have engaged in trade discussions to bring Lamar Odom back to the L.A. team that drafted him, according to sources close to the situation. Yet the deal, sources said, could hinge on the willingness of a third team to take on the contract of Clippers veteran guard Mo Williams, which would allow the Dallas Mavericks to send Odom to the Clippers with no significant money coming back to the Mavericks.”
  • The Bobcats are willing to trade their second pick in the draft as long as Tyrus Thomas is included in the deal, from Michael Lee: “According to multiple sources, the Bobcats are trying to convince teams interested in the second pick to also take back disappointing power forward Tyrus Thomas, who has more than $26 million remaining on his contract. Thomas is coming off the worst season since his rookie year as he averaged just 5.6 points and 3.7 rebounds. When asked if teams would be willing to touch Thomas, one Western Conference executive said, “I don’t think so.”
  • According to Alex Kennedy, Ray Allen to Miami is a forgone conclusion: “The general consensus around the NBA is that Ray Allen will sign with Miami. “Barring a change, he’ll join the Heat,” said a league source.”
  • Yesterday, we showed you a report from Deadspin of Clyde Drexler’s cruel comments towards Magic Johnson. Drexler is denying the quotes, according to Jonathan Feigen:  ”Clyde Drexler to release statement denying critical comments attributed to him about Magic Johnson in Jack McCallum’s Dream Team book.”
  • Some got duped about Kevin Garnett, but he still has yet to make a decision. Doc Rivers hopes for a return and plans to play him at center again next season: “I hope he comes back, and I think he will,” said the Celtics’ coach. “I have no basis for that. I just believe that he will.” Rivers added that Garnett and his people have been in contact with director of basketball operations Danny Ainge and are discussing the particulars. If Garnett does come back to the Celts, it’s likely he will again play in the middle. “Yeah, unless we get a center,” said Rivers with a laugh.”
  • Carmelo Anthony thinks his time is coming and apparently played at 251 pounds during the season, according to Marc Berman: “After watching his buddy James win his first title last Thursday, Anthony said that could be him soon. Anthony sent LeBron a congratulatory text message that night.“I believe my time is coming,’’ Anthony said after posing with the statue with his wife La La at a press conference. “I’m a big believer in that. Whether this year or next year, I truly believe our time is coming. We’re going to keep playing for that.’ Anthony has been training for the London Olympics with Tyson Chandler in Los Angeles and said he’s lost 12 pounds, down to 239, since the playoffs ended in the first round in five games to the eventual champion Heat.”
  • Baron Davis hopes to return to the NBA in two seasons, from Anthony Sulla-Heffinger: “Davis is expected to miss all of next season and would be targeting a return in 2013-14. “I hope I [return to the Knicks], I want to come back,” Davis said before the Dyckman Street Ball Tournament. “I want to be a Knick for the rest of my career.’’
  • Amare Stoudemire will look to work with Hakeem Olajuwon in the off-season, according to Jared Zwerling: “A source close to Amare Stoudemire told that the Knicks’ power forward will work with NBA legend and post-up coach Hakeem Olajuwon later this offseason. Olajuwon will fly to New York in August to train with Stoudemire. The source also saidTyson Chandler might join Stoudemire for the workouts, but that hasn’t been confirmed.”
  • The Bulls have been involved in rumors, but they will likely remain rumors, from Neil Hayes: “Whatever rumors may be circulating about the Bulls doesn’t change the reality that their best opportunity to remake their roster will come next offseason or the offseason after that. Vice president John Paxson and general manager Gar Forman are keeping the big picture in mind. Forman has acknowledged that Derrick Rose’s torn ACL and Deng’s likely wrist surgery are short-terms setbacks on a journey that they hope ends in the franchise’s seventh NBA title.”
  • According to Chris Broussard, the Warriors may have interest in Wilson Chandler: “Lots of teams calling Denver to trade for Nuggets’ young players. 1of several moves being discussed: Wil Chandler to G State for 7th pick”
  • The Warriors hope to keep Brandon Rush, from San Francisco Chronicle: “The Warriors have extended a qualifying offer to swingman Brandon Rush to make him a restricted free agent. The team announced the long-expected move Tuesday. The tender allows Golden State to match any offer Rush receives this offseason. Rush, 26, appeared in 65 games last season after coming to Oakland in a trade from Indiana for Lou Amundson. Rush averaged a career-high 9.8 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 26 minutes per game.”
  • One player the Warriors hope to move is Dorell Wright, according to Tim Kawakami: “NBA source on Warriors and Dorell Wright: “They’re really trying to move him.” Before, during or after the draft? “Whenever they can.”
  • Chris Paul believes the Clippers would have won the championship this season if not for the Chauncey Billups injury, from Christopher Dempsey: “I tell people all the time had Chauncey not got injured we was going to win the championship,” Paul said. And progress on his recruitment of Billups? “I think it’s going well,” Paul said. “The top priority now is to get him healthy. I think that was the toughest thing for me. When he got injured I was messed up because I know how hard he works and how much he loves to play. It feels a lot better now because I know how hard he’s been working and I know he’s going to be back.”
  • Dwyane Wade was included in Tom Haberstroh’s top 10 list of greatest playoff runs by individuals: “You can argue that Kobe Bryant deserves a spot in this top 10. But Shaquille O’Neal was no longer in his prime when he paired with Wade, and Wade’s 2006 PER and field goal percentage top Kobe’s bests in 2000-01, his personal best stretch that ended with a title. Wade may trail Bryant in total rings, but, statistically, his 2006 run holds the upper hand.”
  • Former Knicks player Pat Cummings passed away yesterday at the age of 55: “Cummings made his name playing in a Knicks’ frontcourt with Patrick Ewing and Bill Cartwright from 1984-88. After four years at the University of Cincinnati, the Bucks chose the 6-foot-9 forward from Johnstown, Pa., in the third round of the 1978 draft. He was traded to the Mavericks in 1982, and in 1984 signed with the Knicks as a free agent. Later, Cummings also played for the Heat and the Jazz.”
  • Do you know who Shaquille Johnson is? If you don’t, check out this must-watch dunk clip from House of Highlights.

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on talk shows

Amare Stoudemire fined $50,000, Rockets trade Chase Budinger