The Rockets had a busy trade deadline, and will welcome Kevin Martin, Jared Jeffries, Jordan Hill, and Hilton Armstrong to the team this weekend. But Houston GM Daryl Morey could have had his fingerprints all over another blockbuster deal, though this time in an out-of-the-blue attempt to land some star-power. From ESPN.com’s Marc Stein and J.A. Adande:
The deadline indeed passed at 3 p.m. Thursday afternoon with [Amar’e] Stoudemire still in Phoenix, but only after the Suns and Houston Rockets engaged in 11th-hour discussions, according to sources close to the situation. One source told ESPN.com’s J.A. Adande that the Rockets — fresh off constructing a three-team blockbuster that sent Tracy McGrady to New York and landed Kevin Martin in Houston — offered veterans Shane Battier and Luis Scola, multiple draft picks and the expiring contract of Brian Cook for Stoudemire.
It’s unclear why exactly the deal fell apart (Stein and Adande offer a few possibilities in their analysis), but I have two thoughts:
- Talent-wise, this trade would’ve been a steal for Houston. Shane Battier and Luis Scola are fine role players, but Stoudemire is a scoring machine with both range and power. He’d be a free agent in the summer and that’s concerning, but Houston would have the inside track on resigning him since they would possess his Bird rights.
- This trade would’ve been the most un-Morey thing I’ve ever seen. Throughout his time with the Rockets, Morey has assembled a roster of overachievers; Houston’s rotation is lined with guys giving maximum effort who play smart basketball. Battier and Scola fit the mold perfectly, but Stoudemire? Not so much. Amare’e’s biggest enemy has always been himself, as his mental game could never keep pace with his impressive physique.
If Morey had landed Stoudemire, the buzz in Houston today would be incalculable. But is it the possible the Rockets are better off sticking with what they have, and avoiding all the headaches that come with Stoudemire’s impressive game?
The second round was supposed to be when things got exciting. Instead, the San Antonio Spurs put on an absolute clinic at home, blowing out the Oklahoma City Thunder, 124-92 to take a 1-0 series lead.
Just about everything went in for San Antonio, particularly for LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard, who combined for 63 points. How dominant were they?
Aldridge in particular got anything he wanted against the Thunder. Oklahoma City’s stars were quiet, with Kevin Durant scoring just 16 points and Russell Westbrook 14. San Antonio controlled the game from the start and Oklahoma City never recovered from the opening punch.
It’s hard to imagine Durant and Westbrook are this ineffective again, and hopefully the rest of this series will be a little more competitive. But the Spurs did what the Spurs do, and did nothing to shake the feeling that they’re the favorites to win the west, now that Stephen Curry‘s status is unknown.
ATLANTA (AP) A year ago, Atlanta’s magical season ended with a resounding sweep by Cleveland in the Eastern Conference final.
Now, the Hawks have another shot at LeBron James and the Cavaliers.
Feeling confident after an opening-round victory over Boston, the Hawks returned to practice Saturday to begin preparations for the best-of-seven series.
Game 1 is Monday night in Cleveland.
The Hawks were the top-seeded team in the East last season after a record 60-win campaign. It didn’t do them much good against the Cavaliers, who steamrolled Atlanta in four straight games.
Even though they slipped to 48 wins and fourth in the conference, the Hawks actually sound a bit more confident heading into this matchup, largely because of their improved defense and rebounding.
For the second consecutive year, the Warriors have lost their lead assistant to another team. When the Pelicans hired Alvin Gentry during last year’s playoffs, Steve Kerr promoted Luke Walton to associate head coach and added former journeyman big man Jarron Collins to the bench. Now that Walton is headed to the Lakers as their next head coach, the Warriors will go outside the organization to find a replacement, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein. And one name that will likely not be in the mix is David Blatt, who very nearly became an assistant under Kerr in 2014 before being offered the Cavaliers’ head job.
Given Walton’s success this season as interim head coach while Kerr recovered from back surgery, this will undoubtedly be the most attractive assistant job in the league.
In the last few years, NBA head coaching salaries have skyrocketed, and new Lakers coach Luke Walton is no exception. According to the Los Angeles Times‘ Mike Bresnahan, Walton is getting $25 million over five years, which is the same as Steve Kerr’s deal with the Warriors, now-former Knicks coach Derek Fisher’s deal in New York, and Fred Hoiberg’s deal with the Bulls.
This kind of money has become standard for head coaches who don’t also have front-office power. Tom Thibodeau and Stan Van Gundy both get between $7 and $8 million annually to do both jobs. Given how good Walton’s current situation with the Warriors is, the Lakers probably had to be on the high end of the coaching spectrum to get him to leave.