The Houston Rockets have reportedly reached an agreement with the Sacramento Kings that will land Ron Artest in Houston. After weeks of rumors that the Lakers were close to a deal for Ron Ron, it appears that the Rockets have acquired the troubled and often troublesome player. According to published reports the Rockets will send Bobby Jackson, Donte Greene, a first round pick in the 2009 NBA draft, and cash amounting to around $1 million to the Kings for the storied forward. If Greene is, indeed, involved in the deal then it won't be able to officially take place until August 14th. There are other reports that Joey Dorsey may be included instead of Greene. Rick Adelman had some success with Artest in Sacramento and the Rockets are hoping that he can once again succeed with Artest in Houston. The Rockets get a defensive stopper who can take some of the scoring load off of Tracy McGrady. Artest may give the Rockets a Big Three (Yao, McGrady, Artest) or he may cause more distractions and disrupt their chemistry. With Ron Ron, you never know.
Paul Pierce and Artest will forever be linked by this incident.
The Hawks haven't been able to come to terms with their restricted free agent, Josh Smith, but they are making moves. They have announced that they agreed to a two-year NBA minimum salary contract with Randolph Morris, a 6-foot-11, 270-pound center/power forward who played his first two seasons with the Knicks, seeing limited time with them. The Hawks also officially signed Magic free agent Maurice Evans.
Monday, the Knicks traded Renaldo Balkman for Taurean Green and Bobby Jones and on Tuesday, they waived both Green and Jones. Expect more moves from the Knicks including getting rid of Marbury as the new administration seeks to rid themselves of all signs of the Isiah Thomas years.
Disgraced referee Tim Donaghy was sentenced to 15 months in prison for his part in the scandal that rocked the NBA last off season. I can't help but feel that there is more coming though. Scott Foster must be investigated after all the phone calls from Donaghy to him before and after games that they worked and also the allegations that directions came down from the top for refs to influence games to stretch series out and to keep star players from fouling out.
Sources are reporting that Luol Deng and the Chicago Bulls have verbally agreed on a new six-year contract believed to be worth in excess of $70 million. The Bulls lost out on several big deals last season because they would not include Deng and so I expected that they would do whatever it took to keep him in a Bulls uniform. Deng is one of the few players in the league who give Paul Pierce problems defensively and for that reason, he would be in demand with teams who are looking for ways to match up against the Celtics. The Bulls are still reported to be far apart in negotiations with their other free agent, Ben Gordon.
Krstic signed a two-year deal on Tuesday with Club Dynamo Triumph in Moscow that will pay him 2.5 million euros in the first season and 2.6 million in the second. At the current exchange rate, he will pocket $7.9 million over the length of the deal if he stays both seasons. The Nets tried to find a sign and trade for Krstic in order to avoid losing him for nothing but to no avail. They had talks with the Bulls, Cleveland and Memphis but couldn't get a deal worked out and Krstic joined former teammate Bostjan Nachbar in fleeing to Europe.
Signing Kwame Brown could be the end for Rasheed Wallace in Detroit. If Brown plays well, sources say that the Pistons could move Rasheed and his expiring contract at the trade deadline. This is a big if though because so far, Brown hasn't realized any of the potential that made him a number 1 pick. But then again, there have been players who have languished in one system and then broke out in another.
Robert "Tractor" Traylor, who is serving time in a halfway house for preparing a false tax return, will ask a federal judge today to amend his probation conditions so he can try out for the Lakers. In September, Traylor was sentenced to three years of probation including three months in a federal halfway house after Traylor recorded that his own two homes were owned by his cousin, convicted drug kingpin Quasand Lewis. Traylor was previously allowed to interrupt his sentence to play pro basketball in Puerto Rico and the probation department allowed him to attend a workout with the Cavaliers and play on their summer league team. Now he is asking for permission to travel to Los Angeles to try out for the Lakers.
The Orlando Magic will soon try to re-sign center Adonal Foyle, adding another big man to the roster after waiving little-used power forward James Augustine on Tuesday. They are also looking to add another point guard to their roster.
All's quiet on the Celtics front. Ainge has said that is next order of business is to re-sign the Celtics' assistant coaches. Tom Thibodeau is as important to the Celtics as any players and Clifford Ray is one of the best big man coaches in the league. Hopefully they will both be back. The Celtics also haven't signed either draft pick as yet. There have been rumors that Danny may try to stash Walker in Europe for a season. If he does, it appears he will have lots of company from the NBA over there. I'd like to see both remain with the team and see what they can do. I don't exptect a lot more news from the Celtics but with Trader Danny, you never know.