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February 17, 2015 Updates

The Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers are known to be among the teams pursuing him, and that list of serious suitors is believed to be seven or eight teams long. Any team that trades for Dragic would certainly want to know whether he's willing to sign with them this summer before doing a deal, as the prospect of giving up the necessary assets only to lose him in the summertime is certainly not tenable. Dragic would strongly prefer to play for a playoff contender. USA Today Sports

The NBA trade deadline is coming up Thursday afternoon, and Ainge is pursuing multiple deals, big and small. This is one of his favorite times of the year. His rivals throughout the league can sense it. "He's probably the best GM in the game,'' says Daryl Morey, who became GM of the Houston Rockets after working with Ainge at the Celtics. "Look at the roster in '03 when Danny took over, and his ability to win a title five years later -- that transformation is unheard of, I've never seen anything like it. Now you look at the way he's set up the Celtics today, and it's the best I've seen someone go from losing a core to creating lots of future picks and flexibility to turn it around quickly. People don't see it yet because it hasn't turned the corner, but they will see it.'' NBA.com

Analytics. "He was the first GM in basketball to use it for sure,'' says Morey, who worked for both the front office and the business side of the Celtics after helping Grousbeck's ownership group define the financial value of the team. Morey was soon joined by Mike Zarren, a lawyer and Freakonomics-styled data analyst who has risen to become Ainge's assistant GM. "As a former player, you just don't see this -- he is so forward thinking,'' Morey says of Ainge. "Immediately saw the value in the analysis we were doing, and he was able to integrate it into his decision making. He obviously had his own opinions on players. Myself and Mike were working on a draft model, and when the analysis confirmed what Danny believed, it allowed him to be more confident in what he believed in; and when it didn't, he used it to ask more questions -- am I missing something? He went on to quickly understand how to use it.'' NBA.com

Harden was notoriously known, especially during his first two seasons in Houston, as being aloof, not speaking much after games and providing little insight on the real James Harden. “I was being lazy, being tired, wanting to go home and relax,” he said. He also became a running joke around the league for his lack of playing defense. “I put defense on the backburner,” Harden admits now. Sports Illustrated

February 16, 2015 Updates

​Do you have any interest in talking to Daryl Morey? Charles Barkley: Not at all. I have nothing against Daryl Morey. But what annoys me about Daryl Morey is they [the Rockets] go out and get James Harden. Then, they go get Dwight Howard. They go get Trevor Ariza. They go after Carmelo Anthony. They go after Chris Bosh. How is that analytics, just getting better players? Just explain it to me. Seriously. I am willing to deal with common sense. I mean, come on. They are just bringing in better players. How is that analytical? Sports Illustrated

February 15, 2015 Updates

“That’s my right hand man,” Harden said of Durant. “I’ve learned so much from him, he’s going through a tough time right now, battling all these injuries, but he’s a strong-minded person; he’s going to battle through it, fight through it. I just try to send him text messages here and there to give him motivation and courage, so when he gets back on the court he’ll be 100 percent. Obviously [then] he gets back on the court and scores 40 points and only misses five shots – that’s really unheard of.” Basketball Insiders

Pat Beverley was introduced as a defensive specialist. Even when he won the Skills Challenge on Saturday, he was described by TNT’s Ernie Johnson as “an irritant.” But he was a winner based on skills. In some ways, that should not have been a surprise. The Skills challenge has two kinds of shots, layups and 3-pointers, the shots the Rockets take more often than any team, and no mid-range jumper. So when Beverley misfired his passes in the semifinals and finals, falling far behind Jeff Teague and then Brandon Knight, he made his first 3-pointer in each round while they were still missing. With that, he hoped to take his success in Brooklyn back to Houston. “Most of all, I came out here to have fun,” Beverley said. “I hope Coach (Kevin) McHale is watching and maybe I can get more plays now. Houston Chronicle

February 14, 2015 Updates
February 13, 2015 Updates

"You guys vote on the MVP and I think MVP is a lot about narratives and what may happen during that time," Durant said when asked about the difference between a great season and a player having an MVP-type season. "There's a lot of guys that play extremely well for years and years and just starting to get MVP consideration. But I think that consistent play sometimes gets a little boring to people but if you look at a guy like James Harden, he's been doing it for three years, same things and people start to act like it's new. Steph Curry has been doing the same thing for three years and I guess the narrative (is) around their team but what he's been doing is new to everybody," Durant continued. "Once you guys really watch games and realize what these guys have been doing consistently for years, it's nothing new. It's all the same. I guess the hype around it is a little different so... of course everybody gets better but if you stay consistent in what you do it's not like they came out of nowhere." ESPN.com

The Los Angeles Lakers, who have also coveted Dragic for some time, are likewise presumed to be intent on testing the Suns' resolve when it comes to their Slovenian point guard, since sources say L.A. plans to chase Dragic with an expected max four-year contract offer this summer valued at an estimated $80 million. ESPN.com

“I have nothing against Daryl Morey,” Barkley told SI.com Thursday night. “But what annoys me about Daryl Morey is they [the Rockets] go out and get James Harden. Then, they go get Dwight Howard. They go get Trevor Ariza. They go after Carmelo Anthony. They go after Chris Bosh. How is that analytics, just getting better players? Just explain it to me. Seriously. I am willing to deal with common sense. I mean, come on. They are just bringing in better players. How is that analytical?” Sports Illustrated

 

THE TOP 50 PLAYERS IN ROCKETS HISTORY

Average height of the main three players is 6-foot-10. It's truly a big man franchise.

   

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