Luis Scola will remain a Rocket.
According to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, the Rockets have signed the 30-year old power forward to a five-year, $47 million extension. Scola had been a restricted free agent, and his signing means that the Rockets did not lose a single player to free agency this off-season.
The Rockets didn’t manage to win the Chris Bosh sweepstakes, but Scola isn’t a bad consolation prize.
After an extremely successful international career with Spain’s Saski Baskonia and the Argentinian national team, Scola finally made his NBA debut with the Rockets in 2007.
The Spurs traded Scola’s rights to Houston because they feared his game wouldn’t translate to the NBA, but those concerns appear to have been unfounded. Scola was able to contribute to the Rockets right away, and he hasn’t slowed down since; last season, Scola averaged NBA career highs in points, assists, and minutes.
Scola isn’t a great athlete, but there isn’t a skill he doesn’t possess. Scola can score from the low block with a variety of unorthodox moves, is a skilled passer who almost always makes the right decision, can step out and hit the mid-range jumper, knows where to be on both ends of the floor, and knows every legal and semi-legal trick in the book. He’ll be 35 when his contract expires, but his game won’t get much less effective as he loses his athleticism.
With Scola signed, the Rockets will now start an above-average player at all five positions. Health, particularly the health of Yao Ming, will always be the caveat for the Rockets, but they should be a very dangerous team next season if they can keep all their players on the floor.
The NBA has unveiled its top 100 plays of the 2015-16 season, and there’s no mystery as to what were the top two.
No. 2: Stephen Curry‘s halfcourt buzzer-beater in overtime against the Thunder in Oklahoma City during the season.
No. 1: “The Block” by LeBron James on Andre Iguodala in the final stretch of Game 7 of the Finals.
There’s plenty more, too, and if you have 25 minutes to kill, you can and should watch all of them above.
Tyler Zeller is one of the few restricted free agents left on the market who could make an actual impact next season, and on Saturday morning, he’s come off the board. Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald reports that the fourth-year big man has agreed to a deal to stay with the Celtics. It’s for two years and $16 million, with the second season being a team option.
Zeller isn’t a starter, but he’s a nice rotation big man, especially at that price. He can play minutes off the bench for Boston, and his contract is also very movable with the second season being unguaranteed. He played just 11.8 minutes per game last season, but averaged 18.5 points and 9 rebounds per 36 minutes.
The Toronto Raptors were good last season, second best team in the East. That means the guys on Inside the NBA on TNT had to talk about them.
Which means Charles Barkley had to say “Jonas Valanciunas” a lot. Which is high comedy. While a lot of people struggle to say his name the guy is a solid NBA center who, with a little practice, you can say (and spell) his name pretty easily.
This comes from a YouTube user, via Reddit, with a hat tip to Eye on Basketball.
Argentina isn’t considered a medal contender heading into the Rio Olympics. Their golden generation — led by Manu Ginobili — has picked up a lot of speed on the downhill side of their careers at this point.
They didn’t provide much of a challenge for Team USA in an exhibition game Friday night in Las Vegas, one won by the USA 111-74. Kevin Durant impressed playing with his new teammates in dropping 23 points, Paul George had 18, and the Americans had their way in the game.
Which is what we’re going to see a lot of in Rio — the USA’s talent level is just steps above any other team in the tournament.