Report: Rockets looking to move Scola, just about anyone else

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It’s not a fire sale. But it does feel like a clearance sale.

Rockets GM Daryl Morey is clearly looking to make some big moves and shake up the Rockets roster. He brought in three picks in the top 20 from the NBA Draft — and tried to do a lot more — and now he is shopping Luis Scola. And pretty much everyone else.

From Marc Stein at ESPN:

Although a specific trade partner for Houston has not yet emerged, sources told ESPN.com that the Rockets — stocked with big forwards after coming away with Royce White and Terrence Jones in the NBA draft earlier this week — are working to find a new home for Scola as they rebuild their roster.

Veteran guards Kyle Lowry and Kevin Martin have also been made available in various trade scenarios by the Rockets as they continue to stockpile young assets as part of their well-chronicled intent to pursue Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard or another franchise player in trade scenarios.

“You want that lamp? You can have that lamp for the right price. Anything that is not nailed down can be yours. And we will take the nails out of the other stuff.”

It’s the right thing to do. The Rockets have been locked in NBA’s middle ground. Not bad, fighting for a low payoff seed, getting a nice but not great draft pick, having some nice players but no All-Stars. Rinse. Lather. Repeat.

Morey is trying to break out of that cycle, and I like it. Get a franchise player. Even if it blows up and falls apart, you end up bad and get a real high draft pick and start to build that way. Get out of the safe middle and be bold. Houston is doing that.

Magic’s Aaron Gordon skies to finish amazing alley-oop (VIDEO)

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Aaron Gordon may not have had the best dunk contest this year — apparently drones and dunks don’t mix well — but the guy can still get up and finish with the best in the league.

As he did on this alley-oop against Detroit.

Elfrid Payton had to throw a lob that would get over Andre Drummond, but how many guys in the league can get that high, reach back and finish that? Damn.

Former Hawk Pero Antic’s celebration accidentally punches teammate in face in Eruoleague (VIDEO)

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Former Atlanta Hawk Pero Antic is now playing for Turkish powerhouse Fenerbahce, in case you were not aware.

Fenerbahce was facing Anadolu Efes in a EuroLeague game, it was tight late and former NBA player Ekpe Udoh was at the free throw line for Fenerbahce. He missed his second shot, but the rebound caromed out-of-bounds off an Anadolu Efes player. Antic was pumped.

Maybe a little too pumped.

Ouch.

That was Nikola Kalinic, by the way, the guy Antic now owes dinner to. Kalinic would like the dinner more than the hug and kiss he got from Antic right after the play.

Also, Anadolu Efes held on to win 80-77.

(Hat tip to Ball Don’t Lie.)

James Harden helped recruit Lou Williams to Houston

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The Lakers had been shopping Lou Williams around in the run-up to the trade deadline, the only question was would they get a first-round pick for him. Rumors around the league say that Houston had offered them one weeks before, it was on the table, but the Jim Buss/Mitch Kupchak front office held their cards close and hoped a better deal would come through.

While all that was going on James Harden decided to ease the process and did a little recruiting calling up Williams, the sixth-man guard told Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

“When James called, he asked me if I was interested in playing with them,” Williams told The Vertical. “I told him that I loved the Lakers, but James and them have a group that fit my personality, fit how I play. He said he was going to make it happen.”

Williams then laughed, sitting on the edge of a visiting court following a recent practice. “I’ve heard that before, so I didn’t really put stock into it,” Williams told The Vertical. “I guess James did put the word in, and the team made it happen.”

We all know what happened, Jeanie Buss removed her brother and Kupchak a few days before the trade deadline, Magic Johnston stepped in, called around, and quickly pulled the trigger on a trade that sent Williams to Houston (the Lakers also got Corey Brewer). Williams has averaged 14.5 points per game and had some strong performances with the Rockets, although he’s still finding his groove with the team on the court. Still, he’s been an upgrade for the Rockets’ bench.

Harden knew he would be, so he did his part to make sure it happened.

Take a look back at just how great Shaq was with the Lakers (VIDEO)

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Shaquille O’Neal was as dominant a force as the NBA has ever seen.

His peak years came with the Lakers, when paired with Kobe Bryant one the court — and Phil Jackson manipulating both of them — they won three titles (and arguably would have had more if they stayed together). Those Lakers teams were one of the NBA’s great teams.

Friday night, the Lakers unveil Shaq’s statue at Staples Center. Take a look back at some of Shaq’s Lakers highlights.