Channing Frye and Markieff Morris, your minutes have been put on notice.
The Phoenix Suns have won the amnesty bidding war for Luis Scola, teams around the league have been told, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Scola was amnestied by the Houston Rockets as part of Daryl Morey’s quixotic quest for Dwight Howard.
The Suns also used their own amnesty on Josh Childress Sunday, throwing him out on the bidding wire for teams under the salary cap.
We don’t know Phoenix’s bid amount that won them Scola but for the next two years the Suns will pay the bid amount of Scola’s deal, the Rockets will pick up the rest. According to Larry Coon of ESPN, the bid amount is spread out pro-rata among the guaranteed years of the contract, and Scola’s third non-guaranteed salary of $11 million is added on top of that for each year. Meaning that the Suns had to bid at least $3 million for this season but upwards of $10 million for the other years on the deal.
Scola has the dubious distinction of being the best player ever amnestied. He averaged 15.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game last season, 18.3 and 8 the season before. He is an above average NBA big man who may not be an All-Star but would fit on most teams.
The question is fit. The Suns have Frye at the four to spread the floor, plus Morris has looked good in his first Summer League game, outclassing the competition with his athleticism. Scola plays a less athletic but headier game them both of them. The question is what style do the Suns play next year, you’d think something similar with Goran Dragic at the point and Alvin Gentry as coach. But how does Scola fit into that?
The amnesty of Childress was an expected move irrespective of the Scola signing. He was a poor fit for the Suns but could provide some value in the right system. Plus, Childress may rock the best hair in the game.
Apparently, all it takes is a little public discussion of LeBron James‘ “broken” jump shot to get him back on balance and knocking down the three ball — he was 4-of-6 from deep Wednesday.
Then again J.R. Smith was 7-of-13, Kyrie Irving 4-of-5, and as a team the Cavaliers knocked down a record 25 threes — while shooting 55.6 percent — as they wiped the floor with the Hawks in Game 2.
In case you’re curious where the Cavs were hitting from, here’s the team’s shot chart.
The Houston Rockets aren’t in any rush to hire a new head coach, preferring to interview a wide range of candidates to find the right one. Jeff Van Gundy has been widely believed to be at the top of their list, now that Tom Thibodeau and Scott Brooks are off the market, but ESPN.com’s Marc Stein is reporting another name that has entered the mix: Mike D’Antoni, who last held a head coaching job from 2012 to 2014 with the Lakers and currently serves as the Sixers’ lead assistant.
The Pacers, meanwhile, haven’t made a final decision on Frank Vogel’s future with the team, but all signs seem to point to him getting let go in the next few days. And if that happens, Stein reports that Vogel will also be on Houston’s list of candidates.
Given the Rockets’ massive drop-off on the defensive end this season, Vogel would seem to be a better fit than D’Antoni. But it sounds like the Rockets aren’t close to finding a replacement for J.B. Bickerstaff, although it would make sense to have a new coach in place by next month’s draft.
On Monday, the Hawks played the Cavaliers close and even led in the fourth quarter, leading plenty of optimism that Game 2 would be equally competitive, that the Hawks had something to build on.
The Cavs dominated from the start on Wednesday, with a 123-98 final score that was far closer than the game actually was — the Cavs led 74-36 at the half and led by as much as 38 at one point in the second half.
The Cavs also hit 25 three-pointers, which is the all-time record for a single game — regular season or playoffs. J.R. Smith hit seven of them, along with four each from LeBron James and Kyrie Irving and three for Kevin Love.
18 of Cleveland’s threes came in the first half, also a playoff record, and this was all Atlanta could do:
That’s the kind of night it was for the Hawks, who now trail 2-0 in the series as it heads back to Atlanta.
LeBron James has always been an incredible passer. In the midst of the Cavs’ Game 2 beatdown of the Hawks, he zipped this one-handed beauty into the paint to Kyrie Irving, who kicked it out to Kevin Love for a corner three:
The three was just one of the 18 Cleveland hit in the first half, which set an NBA playoff record.