Houston Rockets Introduce Jeremy Lin

The most ridiculous game of hide-and-go-seek ever committed in Vegas. Twice.


We really need to cover this. Because it’s hilarious.

So there’s this weird thing going on in free agency. For restricted free agents, here’s the process. Qualifying offer tendered, rendering the player a restricted free agent. The player is free to negotiate an offer sheet with any team in the league, and sign it. If they do sign an offer sheet with another team, the offer sheet then has to be delivered to the team that holds his rights as a restricted free agent. From there, the team has three days to match the offer and keep him, or let him go.

But we’ve discovered a fun little gadget as part of this.

The offer sheet has to be physically delivered to the representative of the team, usually the general manager. It has to be physically placed in his hands. Like a subpoena.

As this is all going on during NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, this has lead to high-ho hilarity.

From during the whole Lin saga:


Seriously. This is actually happening. In 2012, with so much of the world has all of their business done online, the NBA still has to have guys putting paper in physical hands. Deron Williams signed his contract on an iPad. But this is the way the NBA works with things. This after a reduction of the match period from seven days to just three. But, OK, the Knicks are silly, we knew this. Surely this won’t happen, again, ri…

Well, then.

NBA free agency has essentially been reduced to “You can’t catch me! Nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah!”

Couldn’t there just be a secure upload site that sends email notification to a GM’s email and phone via SMS? Am I crazy for thinking that we don’t really need to rely on couriers and hijinx in 2012? It’s just a pretty ridiculous situation, especially because it’s entirely aimed at giving the team with the players’ rights an advantage in determining whether to match or work on a way around it.

It’s not a big deal, but it yet another “only in the NBA” kind of stories. Representatives of a team in free agency chasing GMs all over Vegas as the GMs try and hide from receiving the offer sheet to start the clock.


51Q: Does Ty Lawson vault the Rockets into the top tier of championship contenders?

DENVER, CO - MARCH 07:  James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets controls the ball against Ty Lawson #3 of the Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center on March 7, 2015 in Denver, Colorado. The Rockets defeated the Nuggets 114-100. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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I see five clear upper-echelon championship contenders –  Warriors, Spurs, Clippers, Thunder and Cavaliers.

Do the Rockets belong in that group, or do they fill the next tier by themselves?

Ty Lawson – acquired for pennies on the dollar – could put Houston over the top.

But, really, this premise might not be fair to the Rockets. They earned the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference last season and reached the conference finals last season. James Harden finished second in MVP voting. Dwight Howard looked like a star during the playoffs. The supporting cast – Trevor Ariza, Terrence Jones, Donatas Motiejunas, Patrick Beverley, Corey Brewer and even Jason Terry – played better than anyone expected. Young players like Clint Capela, K.J. McDaniels, Sam Dekker and Montrezl Harrell could make a leap at any moment.

There’s a case to be made we should have taken Houston more seriously even before trading for Lawson.

I didn’t, though, and I don’t think many others did either.

I suspect one of the biggest reasons is the Rockets’ balance. Houston – 12th in points scored per possession, sixth in points allowed per possession – was one of only two teams to win more than 51 games last season without ranking top five in either category. Of the seven teams with so many victories, the Hawks – sixth, seventh – were the only other. Atlanta was a darling team, winning 60 games after going 38-44 the season prior. The Rockets’ modest win increase, from 54 to 56, drew less attention.

But balance shouldn’t be punished. Houston’s surprisingly strong defense should be celebrated. Lawson might push its middling offense over the top.

There are reasons to question that, though.

The biggest is Lawson’s sobriety. If he’s not focused and engaged, this all goes out the window. His comments about going to rehab only because it was court-ordered raise doubts, though they hardly foretell anything.

Let’s say Lawson’s off-court problems are behind him. How big of an upgrade is he? The Rockets already had a pretty good point guard who fit well with Harden in Beverley. Lawson is a clear offensive upgrade, but in the biggest moments, the ball will still run through Harden. At that point, would you rather have Beverley or Lawson on the floor? Beverley is a far superior defender, and his off-ball offensive game isn’t far from Lawson’s. Beverley is is a fine spot-up shooter, and Lawson’s strengths involve having the ball and creating. Lawson’s biggest boost could come when Harden sits, but that was fewer than 12 minutes per game last season.

Sure, a secondary ball-handler could ease pressure on Harden throughout a long regular season. Lawson and Harden can take turns running the attack.

But we’re talking about title contention, and in those high-leverage situations, it’s Harden’s show. How much does Lawson matter then?

The Rockets have a chance to win a championship. As good a chance as the NBA’s five best teams? I’m not so sure.

UNLV following Kentucky’s lead with combine for NBA scouts

Goodluck Okonoboh, Patrick McCaw
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Kentucky held a two-day combine last season for NBA scouts.

Now, LSU and UNLV are following suit.

Rob Dauster of NBC Sports:

The Runnin’ Rebels will hold their event on October 23rd and 24th at the Mendenhall Center, UNLV’s practice facility, sources told NBCSports.com. The expectation is that all 30 NBA teams will be in attendance.

LSU has potential No. 1 pick Ben Simmons and another first-round prospect in Tim Quarterman.

UNLV features lottery prospect Stephen Zimmerman.

This won’t replace scouts attending games and watching practices, but the fact that all 30 teams plan to attend shows how seriously the pro league takes these. No college team wanted John Calipari to have that competitive advantage in recruiting, so the smart ones are leveling the field with their own combines. Soon, more college teams will follow.

As the calendar gets packed, NBA teams might have to pick and choose which they attend. At that point, we might get little clues about which prospects they’re scouting hardest.