Pelicans GM Dell Demps said that Ryan Anderson (spinal surgery) is "back on the court, running, shooting," and will join the team in New Orleans next week.
Anderson's 2013-14 season ended with a scary spinal injury, but fortunately he's expected to be ready for New Orleans' training camp. He may find himself coming off the bench this season, with Omer Asik and Anthony Davis starting in the frontcourt, but Anderson's prolific 3-point shooting (3.0 per game prior to his injury last year) should earn him solid playing time and buoy his fantasy value.
Alexis Ajinca has decided not to play in this summer's FIBA World Cup of Basketball.
With his wife expected to give birth during the tournament, Ajinca has decided to stay home rather than join Team France. "This is a blow," France coach Vincent Collet said of losing his starting center, "but we must move forward with those who are there." Despite his importance to his national team, Ajinca doesn't hold the same importance with the New Orleans Pelicans and won't be much of a fantasy factor playing behind Anthony Davis and Omer Asik in 2014-15.
Anthony Davis is excited to play power forward more often in 2014-15, while Omer Asik holds down the center position in the Pelicans' frontcourt.
"My game is really more of a power forward’s," Davis said. "This is going to help my game a lot. I like playing the four ... [Asik] is another big body who can defend, rebound, runs the floor, a great passer. It’s good for us." Davis has bulked up since the end of the regular season and he's been expanding his shooting range -- as long as he stays healthy, he's a lock for elite fantasy value.
The Pelicans may waive Austin Rivers to clear enough cap space for their acquisition of Omer Asik.
Asik's salary balloons to $14.9 million this season but the Pelicans are happy to have him after relying on guys like Greg Stiemsma and Alexis Ajinca last season. Rivers was drafted No. 10 overall in 2012 but he's struggled to adapt to the NBA and averaged only 7.7 points on 40.5 percent shooting last season.
Rockets coach Kevin McHale said his team needs to be "more aggressive defensively" to advance deeper into the playoffs next season.
"We’re going to have to put more pressure on the ball," McHale said. "We’re going to have to probably trap and attack more defensively. We were all year long in the top five, six, seven in defensive field-goal percentage against. Our defensive rebounding has to pick up." The Rockets' core players remain under contract for 2014-15 but GM Daryl Morey isn't likely to stand pat. He'll need to fend off suitors for restricted FA Chandler Parsons, and may look to trade away Jeremy Lin and/or Omer Asik in the pursuit of another max-contract free agent.
The Rockets are confident they can trade both Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin this offseason, according to sources close to Jonathan Feigen.
"According to an individual familiar with the Rockets’ plans," Feigen writes, "they are confident they would be able to move Lin and Asik’s contracts because unlike their failed efforts to trade Asik last season, they would be looking to clear cap room, rather than bring back rotation players with similar contracts." Both Lin and Asik's contracts are expiring next season, and each are owed $8.3M. The Rockets will be targeting a top-tier free agent this summer, and moving those two contracts gives them more cap flexibility. If both Lin and Asik are traded to teams where they will be slated to start, their fantasy values will likely increase.
Terrence Jones, who started 71 games for the Rockets this season, came off the bench again on Sunday for eight points, six rebounds and one steal in 22 minutes.
LaMarcus Aldridge's transcendent scoring in the playoffs has affected the series in more ways than one, as Houston is reverting to their early season 'twin towers' experiment in a last-ditch effort to slow him down. Omer Asik had six points, eight rebounds and one block in 33 minutes as a starter and coach Kevin McHale seems pleased with his ability to push Aldridge away from the basket, whereas Jones has been relentlessly bullied on the post.
Dwight Howard got off to a blazing start, went off in the first quarter, and kept it going in the second quarter, but cooled off and got into foul trouble after the break, finishing with 32 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks in Wednesday's Game 2 loss to the Blazers.
Shaquille O'Neal was raving about Howard's 25-point first half, but the second-half shut down (7 points) is a big reason why the Rockets lost. They have to find a way to slow down LaMarcus Aldridge and starting Omer Asik might be a viable solution, although that's just speculation on our part. Howard looked as good as he ever has in the first half tonight and the Rockets will need him to continue to play at a high level going forward if they're going to climb out of the 0-2 hole. Howard did hit 6-of-7 free throws on the night, including a couple clutch ones late, but they weren't enough. He has also lost 10 straight playoff games, which won't do much to help his legacy, although he has plenty of time to turn things around for his career.
James Harden, Jeremy Lin, Chandler Parsons and Omer Asik all took Wednesday off in preparation for the playoffs.
None of them have a real injury that we know of and it should be all hands on deck as they prepare for the Blazers in Round 1.
Dwight Howard returned from his ankle injury on Saturday and had 13 points, six rebounds, a steal and two blocks in Saturday's win.
It looks like he'll play in the two remaining games for the Rockets as he prepares to work himself back into game shape for the playoffs. Omer Asik had nine points and eight rebounds in 19 minutes, while Terrence Jones added 10 points and two rebounds in 24 minutes. Both guys should take a hit with Howard back on the court. The Rockets locked up home court in Round 1 of the playoffs with tonight's win.
Dwight Howard (ankle) and Patrick Beverley (knee) will both return to action vs. New Orleans on Saturday.
This gives them three games to regain their conditioning and find a rhythm before the playoffs. At the moment it seems that Houston is bound for a first-round matchup with Portland, but the fourth-seed Rockets are only a half-game up on the fifth-seed Blazers. With Dwight back in the starting lineup, Omer Asik will shift to the bench and lose substantial fantasy value.
Dwight Howard (ankle) and Patrick Beverley (knee) will not play in Friday's game against the Wolves.
Both starters have stepped up their workouts in recent days and are close to a return, but the Rockets are going to play it safe. Howard and Beverley are both listed as questionable for Friday's game against the Pelicans. Backup center Omer Asik is averaging 11.7 points, 16.7 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and 1.0 steals while shooting 59.1 percent over the last six games.
Dwight Howard (ankle) has stepped up his workouts in recent days.
It looks like Howard has a realistic chance to return either Friday against the Wolves or Saturday against the Pelicans. It will likely come down to a game-time call. We should know more on him and Pat Beverley (questionable, knee) after the shootaround.
Dwight Howard (ankle) will not play against the Nuggets on Wednesday.
Patrick Beverley is also out, but the Rockets will have their other players in the lineup. Howard should be considered questionable to face the Wolves on Wednesday night. Omer Asik is a must-start player against a very thin, weak Denver frontcourt.
Dwight Howard (ankle) will not play on Tuesday, as expected.
Howard remains day-to-day and may return as soon as Wednesday's road game in Denver. This means at least one more start at center for Omer Asik, who during Dwight's current five-game absence has averaged a healthy 12.0 points on 57.9 percent shooting, 16.8 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 1.2 blocks. Keep him active until we get word that Dwight is officially returning.
Dwight Howard (ankle) is not expected to make his return to action on Tuesday vs. the Lakers.
It would have been fun to see Dwight come back vs. his former team, but it sounds like he'll need at least a couple more days. The Rockets take on the Nuggets on Wednesday, which makes Howard questionable for that outing. Omer Asik will be worth starting in a terrific matchup on Tuesday.
Dwight Howard's ankle feels "a lot better" but he will not play vs. the Nuggets on Sunday.
Dwight said that he's resting and working on his conditioning to avoid aggravating the injury before the playoffs. His cautious approach makes sense, and he had minor surgery to remove a cyst just a few weeks ago, so fantasy owners will have to proceed warily until we've seen him on the court. Fill-in center Omer Asik is averaging 9.2 points, 13.6 rebounds and 0.6 blocks in Houston's past five games.
Dwight Howard recently had his left ankle drained and had a shot to control inflammation, and he will not play on Wednesday.
Dwight also denied ever saying that he'd miss 10 days, a timetable which would keep him out until at least Sunday's home game vs. the Nuggets. He's officially day-to-day and said he wasn't worried about the injury lingering into the playoffs, but the Rockets are bound to be cautious as he recovers from the recent removal of a cyst from his ankle. Omer Asik grabbed 23 rebounds on Tuesday and he remains a solid option while filling in at center.
Dwight Howard (ankle) has been confirmed as out for Tuesday's game against the Nets.
Howard had already been believed to be out, but coach Kevin McHale confirmed the news on Tuesday. Howard had said he'll miss 10 days with his injury, so his owners face a very real possibility of being without him through the week. Omer Asik will step in as the starting center for the Rockets and will see plenty of playing time to provide owners with boards and blocks for as long as Howard is out.
Dwight Howard (ankle) will not play on Tuesday but he is traveling with the Rockets on their two-game trip.
Howard is listed as day-to-day but he said on Saturday that he expected to miss 10 days with his injury, so at the very least he should be considered doubtful for Wednesday's game in Toronto. His absence leaves Omer Asik as the uncontested starting center, but Asik is only averaging 7.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocks as a starter this season.