HOUSTON - The Houston Rockets and the NBA represent a constantly-in-motion thing... and Inside the Rockets, powered by Sports Illustrated, is here to chronicle it for you - news and rumors from H-Town and beyond ...
AUGUST 8 KEVIN DURANT GIVES NETS OWNER ULTIMATUM:
Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai met with disgruntled star Kevin Durant over the weekend in hopes of salvaging their relationship. According to The Athletic, Durant gave Tsai an ultimatum to choose between him or general manager Sean Marks and coach Steve Nash while reiterating his trade request.
Durant requested a trade from the Nets on June 30. He averaged 29.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.4 assists in 55 games during the 2021-22 season.
JULY 31 NBA GREAT BILL RUSSELL DIES AT AGE 88:
The family of Bill Russell has announced that the NBA legend died peacefully at the age of 88. To this day, Russell is often regarded as one of the greatest players in NBA history, having guided the Boston Celtics to 11 championships (the last two as a player-coach) and earned 12 All-Star appearances and five Most Valuable Player Awards.
His defensive endeavors likewise became renowned throughout the basketball world, as did his efforts to fight racism (which were officially recognized with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011). The NBA Finals' MVP Award was named in Russell's honor in 2009.
JULY 30 76ERS INVESTIGATED FOR TAMPERING:
As first reported by ESPN, the NBA is opening an investigation into the Philadelphia 76ers for possible tampering. At the start of free agency, the 76ers reunited Danuel House and P.J. Tucker with 10-time All-Star James Harden.
The league drew interest in the 76ers' ability to land House and Tucker following Harden's decision to decline his $47.7 million player option. The former league MVP (2018) re-signed with the 76ers for a two-year deal worth $68 million.
JULY 25 CELTICS EYEING KEVIN DURANT IN TRADE:
It's been nearly four weeks since Kevin Durant requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets, and the former league MVP winner is still a hot commodity.
As first reported by ESPN, the Boston Celtics have emerged as a potential suitor to land Durant. Per the report, the Celtics have offered All-Star forward Jaylen Brown as a centerpiece of the deal, but Brooklyn would like more assets back in the trade.
JULY 20 HARDEN AGREES TO DEAL WITH 76ERS:
James Harden's free agency came to an end Wednesday evening. As first reported by ESPN, Harden has agreed to a two-year $68.6M deal to re-sign with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Harden declined his $47M player option in June to help the 76ers flexibility to enhance the team's roster through free agency. By giving up nearly $13M, Philadelphia acquired former Rockets P.J. Tucker and Danuel House.
JULY 14 SUNS MATCH AYTON'S OFFER SHEET FROM PACERS:
In a surprising turn of events, the Phoenix Suns retained their former No. 1 pick Deandre Ayton Thursday evening. The Suns matched the four-year, $133 max contract offer Ayton and the Pacers agreed to earlier in the day, as first reported by ESPN.
Ayton was taken with the top overall selection of the 2018 NBA Draft and has played a vital role in Phoenix's success the previous two seasons. Ayton has appeared in 236 games averaging 16.3 points, 10.5 rebounds and 1.0 blocks.
JULY 1 TIMBERWOLVES LAND ALL-STAR BIG MAN RUDY GOBERT:
The Minnesota Timberwolves traded for All-Star big-man Rudy Gobert from the Utah Jazz Friday afternoon. According to ESPN, the Timberwolves sent four first-round picks, Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverley, Jarred Vanderbilt, Leandro Bolmaro and Walker Kessler.
Gobert spent nine seasons with the Jazz after Utah drafted the French big-man with the No. 27 pick of the 2013 NBA Draft. Gobert averaged 12.4 points, 11.7 rebounds and 2.2 blocks in 611 career games with the Jazz.
JUNE 30 KEVIN DURANT REQUESTS A TRADE FROM THE NETS:
The Kevin Durant era in Brooklyn is coming to an end. As first reported by The Athletic, Durant has requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets. The Nets are working with Durant and his representative to find a new home.
Durant's wishlist includes the Phoenix Suns and the Miami Heat. Durant averaged 29.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.4 assists in 55 games during the 2021-22 campaign.
JUNE 29 HAWKS LAND DEJOUNTE MURRAY IN BLOCKBUSTER TRADE:
The San Antonio Spurs have traded All-Star guard Dejounte Murray to the Atlanta Hawks, as first reported by ESPN. The Spurs exchanged Murray for Danilo Gallinari and multiple first-round picks.
Murray nearly averaged a triple-double for the 34-48 Spurs by notching 21.1 points, 9.2 assists and 8.3 rebounds across 68 games last season.
JUNE 29 JAMES HARDEN DECLINES PLAYER OPTION:
According to The Athletic, James Harden has declined his $47.4 million player option for the 2022-23 season. Harden will become an unrestricted free agent on Thursday but intends to return to the 76ers on a team-friendly contract. Harden averaged 21.0 points during his first campaign in Philadelphia.
JUNE 27 KYRIE IRVING OPTING INTO FINAL YEAR:
Despite rumors of a departure from the Brooklyn Nets, seven-time All-Star Kyrie Irving will opt into the final year of his contract worth $37 million for the upcoming 2022-23 campaign, as first reported by The Athletic. Irving will opt into his final year with the intent of playing for the Nets next season.
Irving signed with the Nets in 2019 after a turbulent two-year stint with the Boston Celtics. He has averaged 27.1 points across 103 games played as a member of the Nets.
JUNE 23 ROCKETS TRADE NO. 26 Pick to Timberwolves
Houston Rockets traded their No. 26 pick to the Minnesota Timberwolves, which resulted in the draft selection of Wendell Moore. Houston's deal that sent Christian Wood to the Dallas Mavericks is now a three-team trade. The Rockets also acquired a future second-round pick.
JUNE 21 FORMER ROCKETS COACH D'ANTONI TO MEET WITH HORNETS
Former Houston Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni may be on the verge of landing another job in the NBA.
According to reports, D'Antoni is set to meet with Michael Jordan and the Charlotte Hornets to discuss the franchise's head coaching vacancy.
D'Antoni was already one of two finalists for the job, alongside Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson. However, Atkinson withdrew his name from consideration, in order to return to Golden State.
JUNE 20 ROCKETS TO PLAY MAGIC IN 1ST GAME OF SUMMER LEAGUE
The NBA announced Monday the first handful of matchups for the 17th 2K23 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas and there's some exciting games on tap.
The Houston Rockets, who own the No. 3 overall pick, will play the first game of Vegas Summer League action against the Orlando Magic, who have the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft Thursday.
The two teams will tipoff on Thursday, July 7 at 9 p.m. C.T. on ESPN. The Rockets and Magic have been the talk of the town leading up to the draft, making this matchup an exciting one for two teams that will have loads of young talent on the court for the start of Summer League play.
JUNE 13 FORMER ROCKET FACING JAIL TIME? Former Houston Rockets forward Montrezl Harrell has reportedly been charged with drug trafficking and is facing jail time following an arrest in the state of Kentucky in May.
Police reportedly found three pounds of marijuana in Harrell's car during a traffic stop.
Harrell is now facing a Class D felony and could be subject to up to five years of jail time, as well as a fine.
Harrell is currently a free agent after averaging 14.1 points and 6.7 rebounds per game for the Charlotte Hornets last season.
JUNE 5 QUIN SNYDER STEPS DOWN Another head coaching vacancy has opened up in the NBA. As first reported by ESPN, Quin Snyder has decided to step down as head coach of the Utah Jazz after eight seasons.
Snyder's decision to depart from Utah came a month and a half after the Jazz's first-round exit at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks in late April.
Snyder took the helm as coach of the Jazz in 2014 and notched the franchise's second-highest winning percentage (58.5 percent), trailing only Hall-of-Famer Jerry Sloan. Utah went 49-33 in Snyder's final year as coach.
JUNE 3 CELTICS GO UP
The Golden State Warriors have lost before. But not quite like this.
The Boston Celtics took over the fourth quarter on Thursday night to capture a 120-108 win in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. ... all after the dynastic Warriors owned a 12-point lead in the final frame.
“It’s not ideal,” said Steph Curry, who had 34 not-enough points. "But I believe in who we are and how we deal with adversity, how we responded all year, how we’ve responded in the playoffs after a loss.”
It's true that Golden State has experience. But ... the Warriors have lost a Game 1 of a playoff series only twice in coach Steve Kerr’s eight-year run in charge.
So ... not quite like this.
JUNE 2 LEBRON IS A MONEY MACHINE
LeBron James has no shortage of NBA accolades — both on and off the court. From winning championships and MVPs, to climbing the league’s all-time scoring ladder, to helping kids with their education, James has pretty much seen and done it all.
On Thursday, James made history yet again… this time with his wealth. According to Forbes, James has become the first-ever active NBA player to become a billionaire.
“LeBron James – 18-time NBA all-star, 4-time NBA champion, 2-time Olympic gold medalist – has hit yet another milestone, this time doing something no other NBA player has ever done,” writes Chase Perterson-Withorn.
“After another monster year of earnings – totaling $121.2 million last year – Forbes estimates that James has officially become a billionaire, while still playing hoops.”
The Los Angeles star has a lot to think about when it comes to his on-court future, as the Lakers have fallen far from their 2020 championship form. But no matter where James ends his career, he’s going to continue piling up money in historic fashion.
MAY 29 CELTICS VS. WARRIORS FINALS The Boston Celtics have won their first Eastern Conference title since 2010 with a Game 7 win over the Miami Heat.
The Celtics won three road games during the series to advance, including tonight's series clincher.
The Celtics will now meet with the Golden State Warriors in the 2022 NBA Finals, beginning Thursday.
MAY 27 LAKERS HIRE DARVIN HAM AS COACH The Los Angeles Lakers have finally found their next head coach. As first reported by ESPN, the Lakers have hired Darvin Ham to take the helm as the franchise's new coach.
Ham and the Lakers agreed to a four-year deal, as he became the 28th head coach in franchise history.
Frank Vogel served as the previous coach of the Lakers from 2019-2022. He posted a record of 127-98 and coached the Lakers to the 2020 NBA championship.
Prior to his jettison this off-season, the Lakers went 33-49 during the 2021-22 campaign.
MAY 22 JUWAN HOWARD DECLINES LAKERS COACHING JOB Juwan Howard has quickly established himself as one of the hottest young coaches in the basketball world. He has helped the Michigan Wolverines regain their status as an elite college basketball program after registering a coaching record of 61–32 since 2019.
Howard's name became a hot commodity for a few head-coaching vacancies, but the former NBA All-Star isn't ready to make the transition from the colleague level to the pros.
Howard declined "overture" on the Los Angeles Lakers coaching vacancy, as first reported by ESPN. With Howard declining, Kenny Atkinson, Darvin Ham and Terry Stotts have entered the final round of interviews.
MAY 17 ROCKETS LOSE TWO ASSISTANT COACHES A pair of assistant coaches departed from the Houston Rockets on Tuesday. As first reported by Fox 26 News in Houston, assistant coaches Jeff Hornacek and Will Weaver will not return to the Rockets staff for the 2022-23 season.
Hornacek and Weaver joined the Rockets' coaching staff in 2020 following the hiring of Stephen Silas.
Hornacek's two-year stint was his first assistant coaching job since working under Tyrone Corbin with the Utah Jazz from 2011-2013. He held two head coaching jobs with the Phoenix Suns (2013-2016) and the New York Knicks (2016-2018). Hornacek has posted a coaching record of 161-216.
Weaver joined Silas' staff as an assistant after finishing as runner-up for the Oklahoma City Thunder head coaching job, which went to Mark Daigneault in 2020.
MAY 12 ROCKETS WORKOUT COLORADO STATE GUARD The Houston Rockets have hosted Colorado State guard David Roddy for a pre-draft workout.
Roddy, the Mountain West Conference Player of the Year this past season, averaged 19.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game for the Rams, leading his team to a 6-seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Roddy has not hired an agent yet, meaning he can remain college-eligible if he isn't ready to make the jump to the NBA. Roddy has until June 1 to make a decision on whether he will stay in the draft.