As the New York Knicks weigh whether to offer a new contract to Jeremy Lin, fans wonder what happens to "Linsanity."
The Houston Rockets have had extensive discussions with the New Orleans Hornets about center Chris Kaman and appear to be in the lead to trade for him, numerous sources told SI.com.
The most unexpected trade on draft night is turning out to be a win-win for San Antonio and Indiana.
HOUSTON -- On Feb. 4, 1994, the Houston Rockets sent Robert Horry and Matt Bullard to the Detroit Pistons for Sean Elliott, a trade that has been forgotten by just about everybody except the people involved. When Horry and Bullard arrived at The Palace of Auburn Hills, they were greeted by Joe Dumars and Bill Laimbeer. Coach Don Chaney shared the plays he would run for them. The next day, they put on their uniforms in the Pistons locker room for a home game against the Nets. "Our allegiance switched from the Rockets to the Pistons," Bullard said.
Free-agent center Samuel Dalembert has agreed to a two-year deal with the Rockets, a source confirmed to SI.com.
One day after the Houston Rockets came painfully close to landing Lakers forward Pau Gasol, they're going hard after his brother.
A proposed three-team trade that would have sent Chris Paul to the Lakers has fallen apart, according to executives involved in the talks.
Kevin McHale has reached an agreement to become the coach of the Houston Rockets, league sources confirmed to SI.com.
Houston Rockets owner Leslie Alexander will meet with TNT analyst Kevin McHale in Miami on Wednesday to discuss the team's head-coaching vacancy, sources confirmed to SI.com. McHale has the endorsement of Houston's front office and is the frontrunner among finalists that include Mavericks assistant Dwane Casey and Celtics assistant Lawrence Frank.
CHICAGO -- As if the lines of these coaching search circles weren't blending enough already, Golden State has added Rockets candidate Kevin McHale to its list.
The mysterious game of musical chairs continued in the NBA coaching ranks this week, where the number of vacant seats remained the same but the number of candidates still alive in the circle was dwindling by the day.
There's a race car out there just waiting for Rick Adelman to hop on in, one with parts that don't break down every few miles and a windshield without so many cracks in it.
There will be a coaching carousel because, well, there always is. But with NBA owners preparing to sit on their wallets during the expected lockout, this latest model shouldn't spin as wildly out of control as it has in years past. Think playground style, not Disney World, with the experience hardly entertaining for the ones being asked to exit, while those who remain will surely enjoy the drastically slower pace.
As the Nets and Pistons wait for a decision from Denver on the future of Carmelo Anthony, the Houston Rockets have quietly made a push to acquire the All-Star forward, league sources told SI.com.
They were the NBA's sleeper team, a keep-your-eye-on-them pick that came up when the discussion turned to NBA title contenders. The Houston Rockets won 42 games last season and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2006, but the return of Yao Ming to the lineup had many believing the Rockets rise in the Western Conference could be meteoric in 2010-11.
HOUSTON (AP) -- The Houston Rockets bolstered their front court Friday when Erick Dampier agreed to a one-year deal.
The Houston Rockets, New Orleans Hornets, Indiana Pacers and New Jersey Nets are involved in serious discussions on a four-team trade, sources confirmed to SI.com on Wednesday.
Former Kentucky star Patrick Patterson decided to forego his senior season to enter the NBA draft, where he was selected 14th overall by the Rockets. In the fourth installment of his diary, the 6-foot-9, 235-pounder from Huntington, W.Va., talks about his experiences in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, where he averaged 9.2 points and 7.2 rebounds in 28.2 minutes per game.
Former Kentucky star Patrick Patterson decided to forego his senior season to enter the NBA draft, where he was selected by the Rockets with the 14th pick. In the third installment of his diary, the 6-foot-9, 235-pounder from Huntington, W.Va., talks about the excitement of Draft day and what lies ahead in Houston.
SI.com writers analyze the latest news and address hot topics from around the NBA each week. (All stats and records are through Dec. 21.)
With Thursday's trade for Tracy McGrady, the Knicks have accomplished what appeared highly unlikely when Donnie Walsh took over as team president less than two years ago: They've created room to recruit two elite free agents this summer.
Almost half of the league's teams were involved in deadline trades over the past week. There appeared to be a number of explosions, but when the smoke cleared very little of importance had altered the championship race this season.
The Philadelphia 76ers have been one of the most proactive teams in trade talks over the last two weeks, but indications around the league are that the struggling Sixers may be pulling back before the deadline.
The New York Knicks are finalizing a deal to acquire Houston Rockets forward Tracy McGrady, an NBA source told SI.com.
When Yao Ming was lost, someone half his size was found. No joke: If 310-pound Yao rode a see-saw opposite 161-pound Aaron Brooks, it would be very much a one-sided contest.
With most teams at or near the 50-game mark and the All-Star Game just a week away, it's a good time to evaluate how the league's most significant player acquisitions from last offseason are panning out. Teams have had enough time to get adjusted to the new personnel, and the flurry of player movement likely to occur closer to the Feb. 18 trade deadline has yet to shuffle the rosters.
Injuries among so many stars and inconsistent performances by so many contending teams make it difficult to fill out a midseason awards ballot. But here it is anyway: The best of what we've seen so far, with the hope that something better -- and healthier -- is on the way. (The NBA's official awards ballot includes five spots for MVP and three for the other major awards. The media vote on all the awards below except Executive of the Year.)
Tracy McGrady is on the verge of leaving Houston. Whenever and however that transaction happens, the afterglow will be much like it was when McGrady left Orlando nearly six years ago, and Toronto four years before that.
BOSTON -- The Houston Rockets and Tracy McGrady have agreed to part ways while the Rockets attempt to trade the seven-time All-Star forward, an NBA source confirmed to SI.com.
For someone standing 6-foot-9, Carl Landry had been pretty easy to overlook -- in the basketball sense, at least. In his first two NBA seasons, the Rockets forward had modest averages of 8.8 points and 5.0 rebounds in an even more modest 19.6 minutes a game.
They are the bane of any team, the crippler of even formidable contenders. They are injuries, as fickle and happenstance -- and heartbreaking -- as any roulette wheel And as we pass the quarter mark of the 2009-10 season, a number of teams have been ravaged by them, while others have been spared their wrath. Here's a look at how injuries have wreaked havoc across the league.
It was just a month ago that the Kings and Bucks were perceived by many, if not most, fans as the doormats of their respective conferences. As we flip the calendar to December, the Bucks are 9-7, the Kings 8-8.
Aaron Brooks stands on the side of the Houston Rockets' practice court, returning reporters' questions with humor that is drier than a sun-baked saltine.
Four SI.com writers analyze the latest news and address hot topics from around the NBA each week. (All stats and records are through Nov. 23.)
LOS ANGELES -- Trevor Ariza didn't exactly know his way around the visitors' locker room at Staples Center as he returned to his old home Sunday night for the first time since signing with the Rockets in the offseason.
After hanging with the Lakers longer than any other opponent in the 2009 playoffs, the Rockets were strip-mined of their key personnel during what could end up being the most damaging offseason in franchise history.
It starts as a crack. It develops into a chink, grows into a hole, and pretty soon, it's a crater. Basketball season is fast approaching, but so is another of winter's traditions: pothole season.
The Summer of Big Transactions brought a lot of help to a lot of teams, or so it is hoped. The names in many cases are as big as the expectations.
In Texas, we call it Snipe hunting.
Rockets center Yao Ming's broken left foot could be a "career-threatening" injury.
The lingering question, in the wake of a series that shouldn't have lasted seven games but did, is whether Houston exposed flaws in the Lakers that will eventually cost them a championship, or if the Rockets were just a particularly troublesome matchup for the Lakers and presented problems that few other teams can.
When Kobe Bryant was asked what he learned about the Lakers after a grueling seven-game Western Conference semifinal series against the Rockets that culminated with an 89-70 (RECAP | BOX) win Sunday, he didn't hesitate before answering.
Five playoff observations from a stunning upset and a spectacular last second finish.
LOS ANGELES -- Soft. It was a word that hung over the Lakers like a dark cloud during last year's NBA Finals and continued to haunt them during the off-season. Every time they were pushed and didn't push back, every time they were fouled hard and didn't return the favor, every time someone stood up to them and they didn't stand just a little bit taller, that word would rear its ugly head.
Five observations while wondering why the rust that seemed to be caked all over the Lakers on Monday wasn't seen anywhere on the Cavaliers.
The final stats didn't tell the whole story. They never do with the Rockets, a team that has shined since losing its leading scorer (Tracy McGrady) and is captained by a player (Shane Battier) who averages around seven points and five rebounds a game.
While the Bulls and Celtics choreograph a series that mauls on and on like a Rocky Balboa fight, the rest of the playoffs have played out in the shadows by rote.
Observations and analysis of the NBA playoffs, which is all the Cleveland Cavaliers figure to be doing, too, for a few days now:
Five observations from three NBA playoffs games Friday evening, each scrutinized closely with the understanding that teams that win Game 3 historically go on to win 76 percent of these first-round series:
5. The Celtics without Kevin Garnett. Think back to the 1993-94 Bulls without Michael Jordan, who was in his first retirement phase to play baseball: They won 55 games without him and took Patrick Ewing's Knicks -- the eventual conference champs -- to seven games in the second round. That's the same kind of effort we can expect from the Celtics.
OVERVIEW: The Blazers are giddy about their 10-1 finish to the regular season, the way they nabbed home-court advantage in this round on the final night, and the franchise's return to the postseason after a five-year absence. The Rockets rallied after losing Tracy McGrady in early February, going 22-8 down the stretch and remaining in contention for the No. 2 seed in the West until the last day of the season. Houston has not advanced in the playoffs since reaching the Western Conference finals in 1996-97.
HOUSTON -- What follows is the strangest path in the West to earning home-court advantage in the playoffs:
Every time you hear those words these days -- "Do more with less" -- you want to snap the pencil in your hand while imagining your boss with a yellow, No. 2 neck. It is management by Dilbert, a hollow dictum that strains credulity as much as it strains a dwindling workforce. When you think about it, if your department, crew or shift actually was capable today of doing more whatever with less something, then yesterday it must have been doing less with more. Nice message there, boss.
The Washington Wizards were finishing a shootaround before a recent game against New Orleans when Gilbert Arenas emerged from the home locker room. Dressed in black sweat pants and a long-sleeved Wizards T-shirt, Arenas walked without a limp. When he spotted Hornets guard and former Wizards teammate Antonio Daniels making his way toward the visitors' locker room, Arenas ran toward him (again, no limp) and gave him a quick chest bump. He looked strong. He looked healthy. He looked like a player ready to make his season debut.
5. Stars are high maintenance. I was on the phone last month with Pacers president Larry Bird, who was telling me what everyone already knows: To win a championship, you need an elite player.
SI.com NBA writers analyze the latest news and address hot topics from around the league each week. (All stats and records are through Monday's games.)
Ask a handful of NBA scouts about Houston's Tracy McGrady and you will still hear phrases like "more skilled than Kobe" and "as smooth a shot as Ray Allen." But you will also hear the same old qualifiers -- questions about McGrady's heart and effort level.
There was no bigger story for a month or so in 1999 than Steve Francis' refusal to play for the Vancouver Grizzlies, the team that drafted him, and the maneuvers required to send him to Houston. "Stevie Franchise,'' as he came to be known, had a stylish run of five seasons -- largely lacking in substance -- with the Rockets, before bouncing through Orlando, New York, Portland and back to Houston. Ultimately, Francis was the centerpiece in trades and personnel moves affecting nearly 30 players' lives, if you count the draft picks involved.
SI.com NBA writers analyze the latest news and address hot topics from around the league each week. (All stats and records are through Monday's games.)
Dwight Howard and LeBron James have the early lead in the Eastern Conference, while Kobe Bryant and Yao Ming top the Western Conference after the second returns of 2009 NBA All-Star balloting. Howard, the reigning slam dunk champion, is the overall leader with 1,421,882 votes.
Unscrew the face plate of the Houston Rockets these days and you'll find Aaron Brooks inside, like one of those itty-bitty aliens at the controls of a Men in Black behemoth. The NBA isn't exactly a Hollywood sci-fi league -- Shawn (The Matrix) Marion, Wall-E Szczerbiak and Minnesota's The Day the Earth Stood Still victory total notwithstanding -- but that's the imagery that comes to mind when you see Brooks, maybe 6 feet tall in sneakers and 160 pounds, having an urgent, on-court, eye-to-midsection conversation with 7-6, 310-pound Yao Ming: little guy, big machine.
In the NBA, assistant coaches are like backup quarterbacks: They are beloved for the abilities they show in practice and praised for how well they support the man in front of them on the sideline. But like many backup quarterbacks, assistant coaches don't always live up to the hype.
SI.com's NBA writers offer six different views on what they're most looking forward to this season.
SI.com will analyze each of the NBA's 30 teams as regular-season tip-off approaches. For a complete list of team-by-team breakdowns, click here. The information in the "Go figure" category below is provided by Roland Beech of 82games.com.
You take Greg Oden, I'll take Andrew Bynum and we'll find out, maybe, whether the Western Conference will provide us with a new millennium version of Russell-Chamberlain over the next 15 years or so. Tall order, right? Fine. Then let's just hope it's not a decade and a half of some regurgitated, pulse-deadening Erick Dampier-Adonal Foyle showdown.
It's either a tribute to the security preparations for the 2008 Summer Olympics or a reminder of the NBA's soap-operatic tendencies that basketball's next international incident likely will occur not in Beijing but in Houston.
The Houston Rockets may have just punched Tracy McGrady's ticket out of the first round.
A rising tide lifts all boats, John F. Kennedy and assorted economic experts have told us for decades, just as surely as a subprime mortgage tsunami can swamp everything from the dinghy of the guy who used to live next door (oops, foreclosed) to the yachts of Wall Street.
OK, this Rockets thing is getting ridiculous. Nineteen straight wins!? The last seven without Yao Ming? For a team that features Rafer Alston at point guard? C'mon. Are the Rockets for real?
HOUSTON -- The people have spoken and they ain't happy about my recent column discounting the Rockets' chances of making the playoffs without Yao Ming. Those e-mails kick off this mini-mailbag.
Maybe the Houston Rockets didn't get the memo, the one that said their success was supposed to end when Yao Ming could no longer be a part of it. Maybe they forgot that you can't compete in the Western Conference without a dominant center and that their 7' 6" model was lost for the season on Feb. 26 with a stress fracture in his left foot. Maybe they weren't told that their 12-game winning streak was supposed to disappear with Yao; instead they capped off a perfect February and, with a 103-89 home victory over the Denver Nuggets on Sunday, matched a franchise record with 15 straight wins, vaulting them into fifth place in the West.
This was a first for me. As I was standing in line at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport preparing to board a flight to Houston to begin reporting a feature on the Rockets for Sports Illustrated, my cell phone began buzzing. It was my brother, Andy, calling to tell me that Rockets center Yao Ming was out for the season. A quick e-mail to the Rockets' PR department confirmed his timely report and I was left to beg the guy at the JetBlue counter to go out in the pouring rain and get my bag before it went on the plane.
The NBA might want to consider, if only for this season, adding an extra "wild'' to the familiar (and ripped-off classic TV title) description of the left half of its competition. As in, the wild, wild, wild West.
The strains of Auld Lang Syne have wafted away. The confetti has been cleaned up. The hangover cures have run their course. Yes, it's back-to-work time.
When the Rockets convinced veteran guard Steve Francis to return home to Houston and sign with them as a free agent this past summer, they hailed it as more than just a happy homecoming.
Lost amid all the player movement that occurs each summer are the moves that offer just as much room for change -- coaches. Seven teams hired new bench generals this offseason. As many coaches will admit, they not only are hired to be fired, but they're also only as good as the talent at their disposal. So which new hires are stepping into stable situations and who is destined for a lot of sleepless nights? Let's take a look, from those facing the most pressure to the least:
A seven-foot phenom may be China's second hoops star, and the search is on for the third
This Where Are They Now feature and others like it can be found in the July 2nd issue of Sports Illustrated.
No, the Utah Jazz has not disbanded since John Stockton and Karl Malone took their short shorts and their pick-and-roll precision into retirement. Quite the contrary. The Jazz has reached the Western Conference finals, its furthest incursion into the postseason since 1998, when S&M lost to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in the Finals.
Sam Mitchell, the NBA's Coach of the Year, has decided to return as Raptors coach.
Also in this column: • Importance of the regular season? • Doc's extension a good move • NBA players help one of their own
There's no point in trying to get inside Jeff Van Gundy's head, trying to anticipate his next move or moving into guesswork territory with the Houston Rockets' front office. If either side had made a decision regarding Van Gundy's future with the Rockets, the press release would have already been issued.
HOUSTON -- Jeff Van Gundy is quitting as coach of the Houston Rockets. Or is he?
I had to ask the question. As Tracy McGrady sat at the podium in the bowels of EnergySolutions Arena, barely 30 minutes removed from a crushing Game 6 defeat, he answered questions ranging from the Rockets' shaky performance to Andrei Kirilenko's pesky defense. Then, the thought occurred to me: is Saturday's Game Seven the biggest game of McGrady's career?
There's a difference between being a "playoff upset victim" and a "playoff disappointment." As the first top seed to lose a seven-game first-rounder to an eighth seed, the Dallas Mavericks, obviously, are both. But they are much more disappointment than upset victim.
This is one of the best things ever to happen in the NBA.
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah -- The signs were everywhere, like a series of mirages. Perhaps they were not visible to the outsider, but for Jazz fans they were as clear to see as the Wasatch Mountains.
As I watched a replay of last week's absurdly overcrowded, absurdly premature Democratic presidential debate at South Carolina State University, my thoughts suddenly turned to the NBA playoffs.
I should have believed him.
There's just something about a 6-9, weepy millionaire that turns the rest of us into pop psychologists. I'm sure I'm not the only one who spent the first week of the playoffs wondering why Utah's Andrei Kirilenko was so frustrated, and why his play has been so off for most of 2006-07. AK's team is flourishing, finally, but his production has tailed off: he established career-lows in points, rebounds, and steals in his sixth season, playing his third-lowest minutes per game mark (29.1).
No team with a better chance of winning the championship is more ignored or less appreciated than the Pistons. Which is OK with Detroit president Joe Dumars, who has assembled the longest-contending group this side of San Antonio.
HOUSTON (AP) -- Each of the Houston Rockets have to make 10 consecutive free throws before they are allowed to leave the practice floor every day.
In pondering the likelihood of playoff upsets, one must first ponder exactly what constitutes upset. A 5 seed beating a 4, for example, does not necessarily scream upset, particularly since home court skews the whole thing. Division winner Miami is a 4 yet begins its quest for a second straight title on the road, at No. 5 Chicago, so who is, in fact, the underdog?
With the six-month "preseason'' complete, we now enter the two-month real season: Sixteen teams, as many as 105 games, and the best basketball on the planet. Here are a few things to watch for as spring approaches summer:
You say "Serena Williams has reclaimed the mythical title as best pound-for-pound player in women's tennis (insert joke here) right now." I get so tired of the tennis media (white guys) making these pejorative and or sexist statements about female tennis athletes. When will you guys get it? Tennis is a real sport, although it is a "niche" sport (as you call it).
As he leads his Cavaliers into the playoffs against the Washington Wizards on Sunday, Cleveland coach Mike Brown will measure the moment against his NBA beginnings in 1992, when he broke in as a video guy with the Denver Nuggets. He equipped a cubicle off the weight room in McNichols Arena with a pillow, toothbrush and change of clothes, and grabbed catnaps on the training table. When he finished an edit he'd taxi the tapes out to the houses of coaches, who might slip him a twenty as a thank you. "I was going 'deck-to-deck,' all by myself," says Brown, referring to the clunky technology of that era. "But I wouldn't swap the experience for anything. There's been a carryover to everything I've done in this business. Breaking down tapes, I had to be meticulous."
Sooner or later it always happens: The Phoenix Suns run a pick-and-roll against the Dallas Mavericks, leaving Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki to face off at the top of the key. They have been there countless times before, Nowitzki in his awkward defensive crouch, his right arm extended as if a lion tamer's chair, his mouth guard protruding. Nash is in front of him, waiting for the help defense to clear out, for his teammates to space themselves, until it is just the two of them near the three-point line: the two-time MVP and this season's favorite, the two best players on the two best teams in the NBA, two men whose lives diverged but remain intertwined. This time they are playing in front of 18,422 at US Airways Center in Phoenix, but the setting could be anywhere. A YMCA in Dallas. The Western Conference finals. Nash's backyard.
With apologies to John Lennon: Imagine there's no conference/It's easy if you try.... In such a world, NBA playoff teams would be seeded 1 through 16 without regard to conference affiliation, meaning that the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks could meet the Phoenix Suns or the San Antonio Spurs (the second and third seeds, respectively) for the NBA championship. In such a world, we would not have to concern ourselves with the likes of the New Jersey Nets and the Orlando Magic, the bottom-feeders of the (L)Eastern Conference bracket.
Move over, Ron Artest. The NBA has a new candidate for Most Volatile Player. He's Rockets swingman Bonzi Wells, and let's just say he makes Artest seem like a model pro by comparison.