1. Welcome! Please take a few seconds to create your free account to post threads, make some friends, remove a few ads while surfing and much more. ClutchFans has been bringing fans together to talk Houston Sports since 1996. Join us!

Chron: Rockets study backup plan

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by Faos, Jul 17, 2003.

  1. Faos

    Faos Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2003
    Messages:
    15,370
    Likes Received:
    51
    Rockets study backup plan

    With free-agent well dry, Hawkins sees his opening

    By JONATHAN FEIGEN
    Copyright 2003 Houston Chronicle

    LONG BEACH, Calif. -- For all the corners of the world that Juaquin Hawkins has taken his game in search of a career -- from China to the Continental Basketball Association, the Philippines to the Globetrotters -- this was the most familiar of spots, but still different.

    He had played in the Summer Pro League. No matter where he had spent his regular season, the offseason always has included a month playing for whatever team would have him at the tournament at his alma mater, Long Beach State.

    But this summer has been different. For the first time, in the words his new coach Jeff Van Gundy used over and over again to describe him, Hawkins was an "NBA player." This time, he had come home with a wedding to plan, a new baby to hug and an NBA career under way.

    "He's a pro," Van Gundy said. "I understand fully why they decided to keep him last year. Every team needs players like him. He's a NBA player, and as important, a NBA teammate."

    Whether Hawkins remains a Rockets player is unclear. The other Rockets veterans in Long Beach -- guard Tito Maddox and forward Bostjan Nachbar -- have struggled; Hawkins, 30, brought the characteristics of an NBA veteran to the games filled with raw rookies and hungry-to-impress free agents.

    Hawkins consistently has done what he always does. He has drawn charges, locked up on scorers and made plays. He scores only on occasion. But he has been conspicuously effective.

    That and his work at the Rockets' marathon practices likely will earn Hawkins an invitation to the Rockets' training camp. Maddox's struggles running the offense and even defensively, which had been considered his strength, could make an invitation to training camp less certain.

    But for now, the Rockets appear able to offer spots at training camp. Their camp -- likely to be in Galveston -- will not be filled with last month's draft picks. They did not have a first-round pick. Their second-round selection, forward Malick Badiane, though surprisingly productive in Long Beach, could return to his German team before NBA teams gather in October.

    The Rockets have looked at landing free-agent backcourt help, but were quickly priced out of the market for the players with the option to sign Wednesday. Van Gundy did speak with Seattle SuperSonics guard Kevin Ollie. But with Moochie Norris under contract at least through the 2005-06 season and the Rockets close to triggering the luxury tax, they did not offer a contract competitive with the five years, $15 million Ollie received from the Cleveland Cavaliers.

    The Milwaukee Bucks locked up Erick Strickland. The Rockets had interest in Antonio Daniels. But his agent, Tony Dutt, said Daniels had narrowed his choice to four teams and the Rockets were not one of them. He said that could change with an offer. Speedy Claxton and shooting guards Jon Barry and Eric Piatkowski, with a $3 million offer from Cleveland, also seem out of the Rockets' price range.

    The Rockets' only free-agent offer has been the qualifying offer made to James Posey last month. Posey has yet to receive an offer from another team the Rockets could not match. The Rockets do have their midlevel exception of $4.917 million to spend, but that would push them into the luxury tax, effectively doubling whatever they would have to pay for a free agent. They are more likely to wait until the spending around the league slows and remaining free agents become willing to play at a reduced price.

    Another option could be the New York Knicks' Charlie Ward, long a Van Gundy favorite. The Knicks have shown interest in Claxton and have the option of buying out Ward's contract, worth $6 million next season, for $2 million. Including the luxury tax, making Ward a free agent could save the Knicks $10 million.

    But for now, the Rockets are looking at their starting guards in Long Beach.

    "There really has been no decisions on them," Van Gundy said. "Unfortunately for them, so much of their situation depends on what happens between now and training camp. And yet, they may have options as well. I'd be happy for them if they had to make decisions."

    Maddox said he has felt the rust that comes from playing so little the past two seasons. He was ineligible at Fresno State in the 2001-02 season and played in just nine games as a rookie last season.

    "It is exactly like a tryout," Maddox, 22, said. "It's like last year. I have to start all over again to make the team. There's no excuses. I got to do whatever I have to do to make this team."

    The Rockets could have picked up a second year on Maddox's contract, but opted to let him become a free agent. He did not help his cause when he was activated from the injured list late last season, but skipped the team's road trip to San Antonio the next day, failing to communicate with any Rockets officials until late the next afternoon.

    A new coaching staff offers Maddox a chance to start over, though he has been outplayed in the Summer Pro League by free-agent backup Jason Miskiri.

    "This staff doesn't know me at all," Maddox said. "I didn't play last year. I didn't play the year before. I have to show I can contribute to this team, that I can be a solid backup point guard."

    As always, Hawkins must again show his ability to help an NBA team. Though he remains a role player, he perhaps has most convincingly displayed in the offseason an ability to fill the bill.

    "He has the type of demeanor that players in that position who are every year on the bubble, have to have," Van Gundy said. "They can help your team in practices and in games. I would think he would always be ready. He is a NBA player."

    For all the times he has come home to play, this time offers that welcome difference.

    "It's a real good experience to be here playing with a NBA team," Hawkins said. "It brings back all the things I had to do to get to the point I'm at now.

    "This is the first year I had a chance to play with a NBA team looking to give me a chance. I definitely think I can fit Van Gundy's system. He's a defensive-oriented coach, who likes to run the break. I feel I can fit that mold and maybe be that missing piece he's looking for."
     
  2. SLA

    SLA Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2002
    Messages:
    3,021
    Likes Received:
    0
    It seems clear that Hawkins will at least be invited to training camp! And it seems certain that Maddox will not!

    Pretty neat that Hawkins is playing at his home...

    Well Kick_Azz....you were wrong. Neither Piatkowski or Daniels is likely coming to Houston!

    Thanks Free Agent.
     
  3. DearRock

    DearRock Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2001
    Messages:
    2,139
    Likes Received:
    0
    In the next couple of day I hope Jonathan puts out an article on BAD man. It is long overdue.
     
  4. sydmill

    sydmill Member

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2002
    Messages:
    1,694
    Likes Received:
    1,393
    hopefully hawkins ends up on a team this year (hopefully ours). it is always good to have those guys who have had to fight to get where they are on your team. with steve, cat, and moochie all locked up in terms of guaranteed minutes, a player like hawkins would seem to be the right fit for our situation. i didnt get to see a lot of games last year, but the someof the ones i did see hawkins got to play in and didnt look like he didnt belong at all. hes not a long term solution, but neither was winston garland or scotty b for that matter, and that worked out in the end. until we find a guy that is the perfect fit, a guy like hawkins should do just fine.
     
  5. Yetti

    Yetti Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2002
    Messages:
    9,224
    Likes Received:
    281
    Once again Feigen writes an article with a message. He desires us to accept that Hawk is going to be a Rocket and the Bad Man wont .Feigen sounds like he is a tool of the Rockets Management, telling us in a suttle manner the wishes of the Rockets. He used to be a decent journalist, worthwhile reading.
     
  6. Jeff

    Jeff Clutch Crew

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 1999
    Messages:
    22,412
    Likes Received:
    355
    I'm not sure what exactly gives you that impression. The Rockets have all but said Badiane will play in Germany next season where he is currently under contract, especially given the fact he has no chance of beating out Cato, Yao, Griffin or Taylor for playing time.

    Additionally, it appears Hawkins is the only player at the summer league for the Rockets who actually has a chance to make the team playing well. Given his proclivity for defense and Van Gundy's defensive-minded coaching, it is not just reasonable but actually logical to assume Hawkins has a shot at the roster.

    With all that information available, I'm not sure how you could prove the supposition that Feigen is biased towards Hawkins over Badiane.

    In reality, it sounds more like people on the board dreamcasting that Badiane would be good enough to make the team, not that Feigen is biased. Maybe it is just because all we had was a second-round pick this year that everyone is so focused on the guy and he does seem to hustle, but this guy has little or no chance to make the roster this season. That has been clear since day one. I'm not sure why everyone is trying to project him into the starting lineup unless it is just boredom.
     
  7. RocketFan007

    RocketFan007 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2001
    Messages:
    5,087
    Likes Received:
    90
    This doesn't sound good. I thought that Les said that he was willing to go over the luxury tax to help the team, match the three million for Pike and give the rest of the MCE to Daniels, both of these guys would definitly help the team. If the Rockets start the season with the same roster as last season, I will be very disappointed, becuase I'm not sure that that team can make the playoffs. I know Pike and Daniels don't sound like much, but they strengthen our bench a great deal.
     
  8. DearRock

    DearRock Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2001
    Messages:
    2,139
    Likes Received:
    0
    I trust Jeff you were not refering to me. All the rockets talk about him going to Europe having not worked him out before the draft was before the SL and there was the suggestion then that if he played well they could change there minds. This is not about him playing next season but more about if he is allowed to develop would he become a very good player? If the answer is yes then I cannot see how Europe would be a better place for him, next year. In my opinion we were happy to carry a more expensive player like Collier and other teams are carrying similarly young players. There are no big moves planned according to CD so again I see room on the roster, if they had 13 players. Unless, of course we should expect them to pick up Scott, the starting center in the SL.

    Probably Yetti is right. BAD is shooting 48% fg and 91% FT, all numbers that Boki would love to have. I figure if Jeff is indeed in Long Beach and he is in tuned to the bored rocket fans, he would find the time to do an article on BAD who is going to be exiled in Germany. Especially since he has invested the better part of two articles on Maddox telling us the obvious, that he is woefully inadequate.
     
  9. RIET

    RIET Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2002
    Messages:
    4,916
    Likes Received:
    1
    I agree. We desperately need a backup guard. Moochie Norris is terrible and shouldnt play any significant minutes. This is why Francis and Cat both average over 40 minutes per game which is way too much.

    If we aren't willing to spend more than the league minimum, we aren't getting a decent backup.

    The sad thing about all this is we would have the money if we hadn't blown it on Moochie. And Moochie just sucks.

    I hate Moochie :mad:
     
  10. francis 4 prez

    francis 4 prez Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Messages:
    22,001
    Likes Received:
    4,489
    well boki has a guaranteed contract so he's not going anywhere and we pretty much have to try to make it work. badiane is doing very well, probably on the fringe of staying here, but he's still got comp for his position and he doesn't have a guaranteed contract (nor is he likely to play much) so he can just go back to europe for a year, no biggie.

    and i assume you meant jonathen instead of Jeff. as in feigen and not balke. Jeff, you written any articles on maddox lately?
     
  11. Roc Paint

    Roc Paint Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2001
    Messages:
    20,988
    Likes Received:
    11,402
    Keep Charlie Ward away from Houston.

    He's soft.
     
  12. The Real Shady

    The Real Shady Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2000
    Messages:
    16,870
    Likes Received:
    3,337
    Better than Moochie.
     
  13. DearRock

    DearRock Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2001
    Messages:
    2,139
    Likes Received:
    0
    Prez, thanks for the correction. I meant Jonathan and not Jeff.

    Regarding your no biggie about BAD being in Europe: if you were a player and you had a chance to be right next to and benefit from Ewing, Cato, MoT, EG and Ming, would you want to go to Germany? I will put it another way. If there were two players like BAD exactly the same in everyway and one stayed and one went to Germany, I am thinking that the one that stay will be the better one after a year. Remember it is not like he needs to learn how to shoot FT's. He needs to be more effective in the post.
     
  14. thumbs

    thumbs Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2002
    Messages:
    10,225
    Likes Received:
    237
    Unfortunately, but truthfully, if the Bad Man were allowed to stay here, most of the board would be calling him a bust next season because he couldn't earn significant playing time. By sending him to Europe the board will be grousing that we sent a would-be savior away -- but the Rocks then can bring back Badiane to the strains of a triumphant march. Familiarity breeds contempt, and absence makes the heart grow fonder -- that sort of thing.

    Most board members have no patience and will be calling for his head on a platter within a year. Look at the way the board turned on Steve, Cat, Griffin, Moochie, et al. It's better that the Bad Man goes back to Europe for his development rather than have to endure today's fans / tomorrow's doubters.
     
  15. DearRock

    DearRock Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2001
    Messages:
    2,139
    Likes Received:
    0
    Great post. It is so sad.
     
  16. ricealum

    ricealum Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2000
    Messages:
    430
    Likes Received:
    2
    DearRock: "Great post. It is so sad."

    Agreed. Also sad that we can't afford $3 million for one of the league's best 3-point shooters to stretch zones...
     
  17. Thanos

    Thanos Member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2000
    Messages:
    1,156
    Likes Received:
    1
    I can live with us not getting branded, but to think that we are going to miss on a player we truly NEED (Pike) and one who would certainly be useful (Daniels) because of the luxury tax just flat out SUCKS.

    Where is that "time to evaluate Les the Yankee" thread?

    I thought it has been said in the past that the team WAS willing to bite on the luxury tax if it mean the improvement was clear.

    Damn, I'm frustrated.
     
  18. JoeBarelyCares

    JoeBarelyCares Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2001
    Messages:
    6,354
    Likes Received:
    1,445
    What's the latest word on speculation regarding whether there will be a luxury tax next year?
     
  19. Jared Novak

    Jared Novak Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2000
    Messages:
    1,398
    Likes Received:
    134
    I agree that many fans on this board have no patience, and Badiane would benefit more playing overseas, because there is not enough time in the seasonfor Ewing and other coaches to work with Badiane one-on-one.

    However, I can't disagree with the board members for turning on Moochie, he just plain sucks.
     

Share This Page

  • About ClutchFans

    Since 1996, ClutchFans has been loud and proud covering the Houston Rockets, helping set an industry standard for team fan sites. The forums have been a home for Houston sports fans as well as basketball fanatics around the globe.

  • Support ClutchFans!

    If you find that ClutchFans is a valuable resource for you, please consider becoming a Supporting Member. Supporting Members can upload photos and attachments directly to their posts, customize their user title and more. Gold Supporters see zero ads!


    Upgrade Now