2016 NBA Free-Agency Tracker

With the 2016 NBA Free-Agency officially underway, I will be keeping you updated on all the moves that occur this off-season. Let me know if any of the moves are incorrect or if I missed any.

Free-Agent agreements as of Friday, July 1 1 P.M.:

  • Timofey Mozgov agreed to a four-year $65 million deal with the Los Angeles Lakers.
  • Bradley Beal agreed to a five-year $128 million extension with the Washington Wizards.
  • Jordan Clarkson agreed to four-year $50 million extension with the Los Angeles Lakers.
  • Nic Batum agreed to a five-year $120 million extension with the Charlotte Hornets.
  • Jeremy Lin agreed to a three-year $36 million deal with the Brooklyn Nets.
  • Al Jefferson agreed to a three-year $30 million deal with the Indiana Pacers.
  • DeMar DeRozan agreed to a five-year $145 million extension with the Toronto Raptors.
  • Hassan Whiteside agreed to a four-year $98 million extension with the Miami Heat.
  • Andre Drummond agreed to a five-year $130 million extension with the Detroit Pistons.

Free-Agent agreements as of Saturday, July 2 7 P.M.:

  • Mirza Teletovic agreed to a three-year $30 million deal with the Milwaukee Bucks.
  • Chandler Parsons agreed to a four-year $94 million deal with the Memphis Grizzlies.
  • Jerryd Bayless agreed to a three-year $27 million deal with the Philadelphia 76ers.
  • Evan Turner agreed to a four-year $75 million deal with the Portland Trailblazers.
  • Evan Fournier agreed to a five-year $85 million extension with the Orlando Magic.
  • Dwight Howard agreed to a three-year $70.5 million deal with the Atlanta Hawks.
  • Darrell Arthur agreed to a three-year $23 million extension with the Denver Nuggets.
  • Mike Conley agreed to a five-year $153 million extension with the Memphis Grizzlies.
  • Jeff Green agreed to a one-year $15 million deal with the Orlando Magic.
  • Justin Hamilton agreed to a two-year $6 million deal with the Brooklyn Nets.
  • Jared Dudley agreed to a three-year $30 million deal with the Phoenix Suns.
  • Etwaun Moore agreed to a four-year $34 million deal with the New Orleans Pelicans.
  • Kent Bazemore agreed to a four-year $70 million extension with the Atlanta Hawks.
  • Joe Johnson agreed to a two-year $22 million deal with the Utah Jazz.
  • Luol Deng agreed to a four-year $72 million deal with the Los Angeles Lakers.
  • Jon Leuer agreed to a four-year $42 million deal with the Detroit Pistons.
  • Arron Afflalo agreed to a two-year $25 million deal with the Sacramento Kings.
  • Marvin Williams agreed to a four-year $54.5 million extension with the Charlotte Hornets.
  • Bismack Biyombo agreed to a four-year $72 million deal with the Orlando Magic.
  • Trevor Booker agreed to a two-year $18.5 million deal with the Brooklyn Nets.
  • Anthony Tolliver agreed to a two-year $16 million deal with the Sacramento Kings.
  • Al Horford agreed to a four-year $113 million deal with the Boston Celtics.

“Michael Jordan: The Life” by Roland Lazenby

As a avid fan of sports and non-fiction literature, I have read about give or take seven sports biographies/autobiographies in my lifetime, three of them about my favorite athlete and role model of all-time, Michael Jordan.

But the fourth one I just completed is nothing like the other three nor is it like any book I have ever read, it’s the best work of literature I have EVER laid my eyes on.

“Michael Jordan: The Life”, by Roland Lazenby epitomizes greatness in the sense of great literature thanks to excellent writing by Lazenby, as well as the subject matter being Michael Jordan, who is not only the greatest basketball player ever, but one of the greatest athletes ever.

Jordan’s career was beyond fascinating, it was magically mysterious. Everything about him, his athletic prowess, his personal life, his psychological mentality, his marketing influence, his drive, everything just puts me in awe because there’s not just one aspect that makes him great, there’s a multitude.

IMG_0214aEach of those aspects plus every little detail about Jordan’s life is mentioned in this book, and as mentioned earlier, if you’re a fan of either Jordan, NBA or literature this is a must read. There are countless books on Jordan each detailing various aspects of his life, and one of the great aspects about “Michael Jordan: The Life” is that the context of this book is a combination of every other Jordan book plus more. You also not only learn about Jordan’s life, but learn more about the history of the NBA and Chicago Bulls as well.

Lazenby provides a detailed perspective and accurate honest insight about Jordan that you’ve never seen before through the media or all the other Jordan books and narratives. While Lazenby doesn’t have all the answers to the popular mysteries and conspiracies related to Jordan’s career, such as the flu game, his father’s death, his gambling issues, the questions of whether he decided to play baseball or if then NBA commissioner David Stern secretly wanted him out of the NBA, just everything you ever wondered about Jordan’s career, Lazenby covers by using anecdotes and facts, which allows us to draw our own clues.

Lazenby begins this journey by taking us to Cape Fear River in Pender County, North Carolina 72 years before Jordan was born, where he narrates the birth and life of Jordan’s great-grandfather Dawson Hand, detailing Jordan’s ancestral life and how they shaped Jordan’s life. Then slowly we get to Jordan’s parents’ lives and the birth of Jordan’s siblings Deloris and James before transitioning to Jordan’s birth in Brooklyn.

IMG_0142My personal favorite section of the book has to do with Michael’s genuine passion for visiting ill children who had a last wish and doing everything and anything he can possibly do in his power to make them happy. What’s inspiring about this is Jordan wished to keep all this hidden from the public.

Its a humbling and a cool chilling feeling knowing that I am one of those kids who Jordan reached out to knowing how big of a fan I was of his when I was ill and still to this day he is one of my biggest role models.

I was also really interested on the sections I did not know about Michael, such as his Public Relations Nike trip to Europe in Summer of

IMG_02131990 as well as the chapter about Jordan’s father’s murder. Jordan was caught up in a couple of controversies in the Summer of 1990. The first one was in relation to Nike’s PR spat with Jesse Jackson’s Operation PUSH and the other was a racially charged controversy where he was asked to endorse the campaign of Harvey Grant, as Lazenby states, Grant was an African American Democrat who was trying to pry the hardline conservative Jesse Helms out of his US Senate seat representing North Carolina.

Even though Michael didn’t want to go on the trip, Sonny Vaccaro, the Godfather of Nike at the time, was one person Jordan listened to and he was able to convince Jordan on going on the trip. The most intriguing part for me about this whole trip was how Lazenby lays out IMG_0212and describes the trip.

This was my first time reading Lazenby’s work, but most certainly won’t be the last. He has written about 60 sports non-fiction books, which most consist of basketball and football. Three of those include books on Jordan, with the most recent being “Michael Jordan: The Life.” Lazenby received his bachelor’s degree from Virginia Military Institute and his master’s degree from Hollins University. Lazenby has also taught various classes at Virginia Tech University and Radford University.

Lazenby has covered Jordan since the early 90s and has shown an interest in him since his early playing days.

“Michael Jordan saved my life once,” Lazenby. “It was during the 1995 playoffs, Chicago vs. Charlotte, after a practice at the arena in Charlotte. He was walking out of the building with a group of reporters following. Walking backwards, I was leading the pack, with my tape recorder in his face, interviewing as we walked. I was a foot from walking off the loading dock at the back of the arena, about a 10 foot fall onto concrete, when he reached out and grabbed my arm to stop me from going over the edge. So when I say that I have an interest in Jordan, I mean it.”

MICHAEL JORDAN: THE LIFE
Author: Roland Lazenby
Publisher: Little, Brown
Pages: 672

Dwight Howard responds to reports about him being unhappy in Houston

On Tuesday, Chris Sheridan (@sheridanhoops) reported that Houston Rockets Center Dwight Howard was unhappy with his role of being second fiddle to alpha dog James Harden and he predicted Howard would be traded to the Miami Heat for Center Hassan Whiteside. Rockets fans immediately panicked and asked me if this was true.

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Not reading or hearing about the report at the time, I told a couple people my opinion that the report is false.

Around the same time I found out about the report, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel tweeted there is nothing to speculation linking Whiteside to Dwight Howard or DeMarcus Cousins.

During the post game interview session after the Rockets 107-97 loss to the Sacramento Kings, Howard was asked about the report. His response?

“I haven’t said anything to anybody about anything,” Howard said. “People make up lies and rumors. That’s never been my focus. I’m trying to get these guys to play better and get myself to play better.”

 

“People are going to say what they got to say to get a story out. People are always going to come up with some rumor and lies. That’s what it is. I can’t focus on that. And I don’t want my teammates to focus on that.”

So, here’s your answer Rockets fans, from the man himself. Now whether you want him traded or not, or believe if he will be traded, that’s a whole different discussion.

But for now, we know one thing (as we all should’ve known), Dwight Howard is not unhappy with his role or his teammates.

ROOT SPORTS announces expansion to broadcast Rockets games

On Wednesday, Houston Rockets fans residing across Central and Southwest Texas regions received exciting news as ROOT SPORTS announced a 200,000 household expansion, which are now in the Houston Rockets TV Broadcast Territory and will be able to receive Rockets coverage.

With permission from the NBA, ROOT SPORTS will now be able to make Rockets games available to 400 additional ZIP codes in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas. Rockets fans in the Austin, San Antonio, Laredo, Waco-Temple-Bryan, Shreveport, Corpus Christi, Lafayette, Baton Rouge and San Angelo areas will now be able to watch the games.

Northern areas that will now be able to broadcast games include Austin suburbs, Round Rock, Georgetown, Pflugerville, Temple, Belton, Killeen, Manor, Bastrop, Leander, Del Rio, Gatesville, Copperas Cove, Lampasas, Salado, Lorena, McGregor, Marlin, Taylor, Mason, Jarrell and San Saba.

For a complete list of ZIP codes that now have Rockets coverage available through ROOT SPORTS, visit http://www.rootsports.com/RocketsTerritory/

ROOT SPORTS is currently available on DIRECTV, AT&T U-Verse, XFINITY and other cable providers. For complete channel listings, visit http://southwest.rootsports.com/alternate-channel-listings/.

Houston Rockets primed for pursuit of the 2015-2016 NBA Championship

Going into the off-season after having a magical postseason run, yet falling short in the Western Conference Finals to the Golden State Warriors in five games, the Houston Rockets front office had one goal in mind: to bring every member of that squad back for another run at the championship.

Re-signing unrestricted free agents Patrick Beverley, Corey Brewer, K.J. McDaniels and Jason Terry was the Rockets’ top priority, and while they locked each up to multi-year contracts, they also filled a void they were desperately searching for: a point guard.

Daryl Morey, the Rockets’ GM known as the mastermind behind the NBA analytics movement as well as the co-founder of MIT’s annual Sloan Sports Analytics Conference held in Boston, pulled off another improbable trade in the off-season.

Ty Lawson

The Rockets traded away Kostas Papanikolaou, Joey Dorsey, Nick Johnson, Pablo Prigioni and a lottery-protected 2016 first-round draft pick to Denver for PG Ty Lawson.

Putting Lawson’s off-court issues in the rear view mirror, he is not only a top 10 point guard who fits perfectly in Kevin McHale’s offense, but he is the point guard James Harden needs.

Last season, Lawson was the seventh best point producer in the league, which combines points and points generated by assist. He is a top 10 shot-creator, he ranked second in team points per game off of drives with 13.9. Who lead that category? James Harden. Lawson also has a incredible basketball IQ, which gives the Rockets arguably the most brilliant backcourt in the NBA this season.

Lawson also fits McHale’s philosophy of going “downhill” and ball movement on the perimeter as he shot 61 percent from the rim last season and most of his assists were dished to three-point shooters.

Lawson comes to a winning Rockets environment that has welcomed him with open arms and has taken care of him after spending the past six seasons with the Denver Nuggets, which the last couple being catastrophic because of coaching changes, missing the postseason and off-court alcohol abuse.

With the Rockets tipping off their 49th season on Oct. 28th at Toyota Center vs. Lawson’s former team the Denver Nuggets, neither talent, athleticism, psychological mindset, free throw shooting, or offense and defense will be the biggest key to the Rockets’ success this season.

Health

Just as any team in the association, health will be the most pivotal deciding factor on how far the Rockets go in the playoffs this season. Last season, the Rockets missed 182 games to injury, which was the highest total for any playoff team in the Western Conference. They still managed to pull off 56 wins and earned the second seed in the conference all while losing starting Center Dwight Howard for 41 games, Forward Terrance Jones for 49 games, starting Guard Patrick Beverley for 26 games and Forward Donatas Motiejunas for 11 games.

If the Rockets can figure out how to defeat their biggest kryptonite for 82 games, and that’s a MASSIVE IF, which is the injury bug, the sky is the limit for this group, because everyone on this team has the correct mentality and one goal in mind.

Pursuit

The term “Pursuit” has a much larger definition for this team than your simple synonyms of quest or chase. The Rockets adapted “Pursuit” as their official marketing campaign and slogan last season, but it’s more than a slogan, it’s a mindset that each player on this roster has stuck to: Pursuit of the championship. Everywhere you look inside Toyota Center, the arena is decked out in “#Pursuit”, fans are wearing shirts that say “#Pursuit”, it has even become its own hashtag on social media for the Rockets and its fans. Every guy in the locker room has strong belief and a great feeling knowing they can accomplish something special.

Each player on this roster knows they will have to give their 110 percent every night and do what they do best individually so everyone can come together as a team and have a shot at winning every game in a brutal Western Conference to accomplish that Pursuit when they hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy in June.

Houston Rockets unveil new alternate jerseys

Houston Rockets fans have been patiently waiting for new jerseys for a long time and their wish finally came true.

The Rockets unveiled three new alternate jerseys on Tuesday, September 15 at a private season ticket holder event at the House of Blues in Downtown Houston. Lights shined bright on stage and cameras flashed at Dwight Howard, Donatas Motiejunas and Sam Dekker as they modeled the new alternates.

image: Pictured L-R: Sam Dekker, Dwight Howard and Donatas Motiejunas stand and model the Houston Rockets’ three new alternate jerseys. Photo courtesy of @00rocketgirl on Twitter.

Pictured L-R: Sam Dekker, Dwight Howard and Donatas Motiejunas stand and model the Houston Rockets’ three new alternate jerseys. Photo courtesy of @00rocketgirl on Twitter.

The sickest jersey of the three was rocked by Sam Dekker, which was an all black jersey with red trim around the shoulder, that says “HOUSTON” on the front. THAT is the road alternate jersey for the 2016-2017 season. Yes, unfortunately fans will have to wait one more year to see the incredibly cool black jerseys.

image: Sam Dekker stands and models the new 2016-2017 Houston Rockets road alternate jersey. Photo courtesy of @00rocketgirl on Twitter.

Sam Dekker stands and models the new 2016-2017 Houston Rockets road alternate jersey. Photo courtesy of @00rocketgirl on Twitter.

But, don’t worry because my personal favorite new alternate jersey was worn by Donatas Motiejunas: a “CLUTCH CITY” jersey! The shirts debuted last season versus the Oklahoma City Thunder; now we get actual ketchup and mustard jerseys that say “CLUTCH CITY” on the front. The only downside about those jerseys is they’re the sleeved jerseys, which in my opinion, look extremely ugly but just because they’re ketchup and mustard and say “CLUTCH CITY” on the front. I’m definitely buying one. Fans won’t have to wait long to see the Rockets wear the “CLUTCH CITY” jerseys as they will debut on Nov. 14 at home versus the Dallas Mavericks.

image: Donatas Motiejunas stands and models the Houston Rockets’ alternate pride “CLUTCH CITY” jersey. Photo courtesy of @00rocketgirl on Twitter.

Donatas Motiejunas stands and models the Houston Rockets’ alternate pride “CLUTCH CITY” jersey. Photo courtesy of @00rocketgirl on Twitter.

The last, and my least favorite jersey of the three is the new home alternate jersey, displayed by Dwight Howard, a sleeved all silver with black trim jersey. When you mix a sleeved jersey with the color silver, that spells disaster. That jersey is so ugly I wish they didn’t even unveil it. But, unfortunately we have to live with it because the jersey will make its debut on Nov. 25 at home versus the Memphis Grizzlies and will be worn six times during the season.

image: Dwight Howard flexes and models the Houston Rockets’ new home alternate jersey. Photo courtesy of @00rocketgirl on Twitter.

Dwight Howard flexes and models the Houston Rockets’ new home alternate jersey. Photo courtesy of @00rocketgirl on Twitter.

A downer in the jersey unveilings is that with the three new jerseys, one jersey has been eliminated from the jersey rotation, and that jersey was not only my favorite but a fan favorite as well: the ketchup and mustard alternate jersey that said “HOUSTON” on the front. So go ahead and wear those jerseys for the last time because the Rockets will not be wearing them anymore.

With the jerseys unveiled, which one is your favorite? Which one will you purchase and add to your jersey collection?

image: From L-R: Sam Dekker, Dwight Howard and Donatas Motiejunas pose for a picture as they model the new Rockets alternate jerseys. Photo courtesy of rockets.com

From L-R: Sam Dekker, Dwight Howard and Donatas Motiejunas pose for a picture as they model the new Rockets alternate jerseys. Photo courtesy of rockets.com

 

2015-2016 Houston Rockets schedule

The 2015-2016 NBA schedule has been released and here’s what sticks out to me as far as the Rockets go:

The Rockets debut the preseason on Oct. 6 at Memphis then come back home the next night to play the Mavericks at Toyota Center. Rockets then fly to their D-League affiliate Rio Grande Valley Vipers where they will host the Magic at State Farm Arena on Oct. 11. Rockets will play five more preseason games before beginning their pursuit to the championship on Oct. 28.

The Rockets will open the 2015-2016 season at home on Oct. 28 vs the Denver Nuggets then host the Golden State Warriors for a nationally televised game on ESPN two nights later on Oct. 30.

The Rockets will have 19 nationally televised games (not counting NBATV) (eight at home), with 10 on ESPN, 7 on TNT and twice on ABC.

  • Oct. 30 Hou vs. GSW 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
  • Nov. 6 Hou at Sac 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)
  • Dec. 17 Hou at LAL 9:30 p.m. (TNT)
  • Dec. 25 Hou vs. SAS 7:00 p.m. (ESPN) (Christmas)
  • Jan 15 Hou vs. Clev 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
  • Jan 18 Hou at LAC 9:30 p.m. (TNT) (MLK Day)
  • Jan 27 Hou at SAS 7:00 p.m. (ESPN)
  • Feb 4 Hou at Phx 9:30 p.m. (TNT)
  • Feb 9 Hou at GSW 9:30 p.m. (TNT)
  • Feb 10 Hou at Pdx 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)
  • Mar 2 Hou vs NOP 7:00 p.m. (ESPN)
  • Mar 5 Hou at Chi 7:30 p.m. (ABC)
  • Mar 14 Hou vs Mem 7:00 p.m. (ESPN)
  • Mar 16 Hou vs LAC 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
  • Mar 22 Hou at Okc 7:00 p.m. (TNT)
  • Mar 29 Hou at Clev 7:00 p.m. (TNT)
  • Mar 31 Hou vs Chi 6:00 p.m. (TNT)
  • Apr 3 Hou vs Okc 2:30 p.m. (ABC)
  • Apr 6 Hou at Dal 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Start making your Christmas plans early #RedNation because the Rockets have a Christmas game AT HOME at Toyota Center!!!!!

The annual New Years Eve game this season at Toyota Center will feature the defending champs Golden State Warriors.

Josh Smith makes his Rockets return on Dec. 19 when the Los Angeles Clippers visit Toyota Center.

As noted by the voice of the Rockets Craig Ackerman (ca_rockets), the Rockets only have 19 sets of back-to-back games and no four games in five nights.

Check out the full schedule on rockets.com and let me know what Rockets game(s) you’re looking forward to the most.