Everything Must Go! Rockets looking for trade-deadline deals

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Now we get to see what wunderkind Daryl Morey can really do.

When he came in as general manager of the Rockets the goal was to put together a good group of role players to go around stars Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady. Morey did that — the Rockets have maybe the best collection of role players in the NBA. It was the bodies of McGrady and Yao that let everyone down.

Now, Yao is done. It’s time to rebuild and restructure this team. Morey has good players on reasonable contracts, expiring deals and draft picks he can move.

And according to Richard Justice at the Houston Chronicle, Morey is working it hard to make deals.

Everyone on the Rockets’ roster is available as the NBA’s February 24th trading deadline approaches, but some are more likely to go than others.

For instance, Shane Battier. He’s a poster boy for what we’d want every professional athlete to be. Morey likes Battier as much as the rest of us, but this is where real life sticks its ugly mug in.

Battier is exactly the kind of player good teams love. He brings two ingredients — defense and smarts – in short supply, and he’s a 10-year veteran in the final year of his contract.

Battier may be on the move. Kevin Martin will draw interest because he can fill it up. Aaron Brooks, Luis Scola, everyone. — there are a lot of players that should draw interest.

The Rockets aren’t going to make moves just to make moves. It has to be about rebuilding. About steps back to the top (even if those are temporary steps backward). We’ll see how Morey goes about this, about just how good he is when the whiteboard has been erased and he can draw whatever he wants.

Kevin Love names NBA players he thinks could play in NFL

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The majority of guys in the NBA are not built for the NFL. Blake Griffin the tight end makes a huge target for a free safety to line up. Kevin Durant is a little thin. Carmelo Anthony? Come on now.

But there are a few guys who might be able to, and on his show Dan Patrick asks Kevin Love about it today (see the video above). Then DP tries to take the obvious call of LeBron James off the table.

Nate Robinson as a DB? He’s athletic enough but at his height he would be a target for tall receivers. I like Dan Patrick’s suggestion of Russell Westbrook the free safety — he is certainly athletic enough.

Love also picked himself as a QB. Um, no. I’m not sure his outlet passing skills translate.

Hawks’ Thabo Sefolosha on not guilty verdict: “Justice was served”

Thabo Sefolosha

Friday morning, a New York jury found Atlanta Hawks guard Thabo Sefolosha not guilty of misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest. The charges stemmed from the night in the final weeks of last season when Sefolosha and then teammate Pero Antic went to a New York club after arriving in town, and while there Pacers’ player Chris Copeland was stabbed outside the club. In his clash with police, Sefolosha suffered a broken leg that required surgery and kept him out of the playoffs.

The New York prosecutor tried to make this go away with a plea deal of just day of community service and six months probation. But Sefolosha had the means and mind to fight the charges, got his day in court and won. This is what he said in a statement after the verdict, released by the Atlanta Hawks.

“This morning’s verdict ended a long and emotional period for me.  Justice was served and for that I am eternally grateful to the judge and jury for their quick and deliberate decision….

“It’s troubling to me that with so much evidence in my support that this case would even be brought to trial and that I had to defend myself so hard to get justice. It pains me to think about all of the innocent people who aren’t fortunate enough to have the resources, visibility and access to quality legal counsel that I have had.

“It was important to me as a man, a father to two young girls and as a role model, to stand up for what I believe in and have my name cleared of any wrongdoing.  Today’s verdict will not make up for the pain and trauma my family and I have suffered over the past six months or bring back the opportunity to have played in the Eastern Conference Finals and have a shot at an NBA title, but it does bring me some peace and closes a painful chapter in my life.

“Now I look forward to returning to the team and focusing solely on my rehabilitation for the upcoming season so that I can get back to playing the game I cherish so much.”

While Sefolosha says he is focusing “solely” on his rehab, the win in the criminal case would bode well for a potential civil case if he wanted to sue regarding his treatment and the broken leg.

Hawks’ coach Mike Budenholzer — who testified at the trial and was amused by parts of it — released this statement:

“Thabo is a man of great character and we are proud that he took a principled approach to proving his innocence. We are extremely happy for him and his family, and we are very pleased with today’s verdict in his favor.”