Author: Brett Pollakoff

Houston Rockets v Dallas Mavericks - Game Three

James Harden says he ‘definitely’ wants Rockets to add a playmaker this offseason


James Harden had an incredible 2015 season for the Houston Rockets, one that rightfully had him neck-and-neck with Stephen Curry in the race for the league’s Most Valuable Player award.

He did everything possible from an offensive standpoint to carry the Rockets for the bulk of the year, as Dwight Howard missed significant time, and key role players in Patrick Beverley and Donatas Montiejunas were lost well before the playoffs after suffering season-ending injuries.

Despite the lack of depth, Houston was still able to make it to the Western Conference Finals — and it was all thanks to the brilliance of Harden. As the Rockets look to improve their chances for next season, the team’s primary (and perhaps only) legitimate playmaker says he’d like some help offensively, so he doesn’t have to consistently do it all by himself.

From Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:

Rockets guard James Harden made the familiar case for continuity the Rockets have never had since he’s been in Houston. He spoke of the strengths of a roster that won 56 games and reached the Western Conference Finals. He cited the difference between the Warriors and Rockets, pointing quickly to his own turnovers.

Yet, when Rockets general manager Daryl Morey puts together his shopping list, Harden had a suggestion.

He said he “definitely” would like to see the Rockets add another playmaker to take some of that responsibility out of his hands.

“That’s one of the conversations me and Daryl are going to have (and) the coaches,” Harden said. “That’s one of the pieces to add, but that’s later conversations. We’ll be all right. We’re very confident in the group we have. This summer we have to work hard and be ready for next year.”

The Rockets have plenty of decisions to make this summer. Josh Smith, Corey Brewer and Jason Terry were all part of the playoff rotation, and all three were on extremely inexpensive deals, but are now unrestricted free agents heading into next season. Beverley is a restricted free agent, and will command a fairly large sum on the open market which the Rockets may or may not decide to match.

Harden, Howard and Trevor Ariza are all locked up on multi-year deals. Beyond that, in terms of what the roster in Houston might look like next season, things get murky pretty fast.

Report: Grizzlies express interest in Greg Oden

oden heat

When we last saw Greg Oden, he was a member of the Miami Heat during the 2014 season.

He appeared in 23 regular season games, and none really in the postseason — unless you count the 7:29 he played in total during three garbage time appearances as Miami was crushed by the Spurs in the 2014 NBA Finals.

Oden simply was never healthy enough to contribute consistently, though the folks in Miami will tell you he did nothing but work extremely hard on his rehabilitation while he was there.

After sitting out the 2015 campaign, it appears as though Oden is ready to give his comeback attempt yet another shot — and at least one team has expressed some interest.

From Shams Charania of Real GM:

The Memphis Grizzlies have explored center Greg Oden, expressing interest in the recent past with a workout in the spring and potentially bringing in the former No. 1 overall NBA pick to a free-agent camp in June, league sources told RealGM. …

The Grizzlies’ current level of interest in Oden remains unclear, but the franchise is believed to be having a free-agent mini-camp in the upcoming weeks — like many organizations around the NBA. Oden is undecided in his possible participation there.

Oden’s close friend and former teammate, Mike Conley, spoke late this season about the possibility of Oden’s comeback. Surely, Oden’s comfort level with the Grizzlies rises with Conley’s stature on the team.

Conley discussed Oden back in April, telling The Oregonian that he wouldn’t be surprised to see a comeback attempt take place.

“He’s talked about that he’s not ready to leave the game. I can tell you that,” Conley said. “He wants to play.”

In addition to whether or not Oden is physically ready to return to competing at the NBA level, teams will undoubtedly wonder where he is mentally, as well. Oden has dealt with serious off-the-court issues, and reportedly battled a drinking problem during the 2014 season.

Stephen Curry and LeBron James were born at same hospital in Akron, Ohio

2015 NBA All-Star Game

We’re all well aware that LeBron James was born in Akron, Ohio. It is, after all, why he feels such a kinship with the city of Cleveland, and the primary reason he returned to the Cavaliers after playing in Miami for the last four seasons.

But did you know that Stephen Curry was also born in Akron?

Not only is that true, but Curry and James were, somewhat incredibly, born in the very same hospital.

Check out the video clip above from the folks at the Warriors, which explains this incredible coincidence.