UPDATE: Via Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Houston Rockets have decided to use the amnesty provision on forward Luis Scola.
Getting in position for the planned next move will be difficult. To create enough cap room for the kind of blockbuster trade that has been proposed, the Rockets are considering making veteran forward Luis Scola an amnesty cut, likely in the next 48 hours, a person with knowledge of the move said. That would create enough cap room for the Rockets to take on the additional contracts necessary to complete a trade for Howard.
Scola, 32, is due $21 million guaranteed over the next three seasons. The Rockets could wait until Tuesday to make Scola an amnesty cut, by which he would receive his full guaranteed salary but not count against the salary cap or luxury tax figures.
I had discussed the possibility of this nuclear option many times throughout the season: it would give the team the ability to take back the garbage contracts of the Orlando Magic, offering that team a full-fledged opportunity to reload.
As this is a family blog, I won’t go deep into the financial ramifications of the various potential possibilities at this moment – we’ll cross that bridge when it comes. But there are several bad contracts any of which could be assigned to the Houston Rockets in mere days.
Contrary to popular belief, Hedo Turkoglu, owed $12million next year, is the least sinister amongst this group. With just one year remaining, despite the lump sum, that’s a pill that is palatable. Glen Davis (owed $6.4mill~ each of the next three years), and Jason Richardson (owed $5.8million, $6.2million, and $6.6million in the next three years) are the guys who will hurt.
These long contracts tie up future flexibility and prevent projections for future deals. In most cases, they’re to be avoided like the plague. In this case, when pursuing the game’s best center, they’re a cost of doing business.
With New Jersey folding its hand, any form of analysis would lend to the belief that Houston is now in the driver’s seat with regards to Dwight Howard. A Howard to LA deal would likely need to go through Houston (as would obviously a Howard to Houston deal.) My suspicion is that the silence is due to continued haggling on the part of each respective GM.
The conflict is a balancing struggle between toxic contracts and rookie assets. How many rookies offset unloaded deals? And vice versa? Orlando obviously wants to unload all three players and also take back three young assets (in addition to the Toronto lottery pick which is a guaranteed inclusion in the deal.) And Houston, with leverage, naturally will not acquiesce to those demands. If you’re Orlando, what’s more important? Unloading as many deals as possible or taking back as many rookies as you can? How about Houston?
I personally would be saddened to see either of Jeremy Lamb or Royce White go but have come to accept that its an inevitability if this thing is to go through. (Interestingly, had you said before the draft that you need to send the #12 and #16 picks to Orlando, in addition to Kyle Lowry and Kevin Martin, I wouldn’t have batted an eye…kind of funny how when the picks have names, the sentiment changes…)
On Luis Scola: I, for one, have advocated that he be dealt since this blog’s birth some years ago. This is not to downplay his efforts for this team and perpetual demonstration of professionalism. But his salary, coupled with defensive inabilities, made his incumbency at power forward difficult to swallow. (I also have made no secret of the fact that my opinion of him even further soured over his lack of retaliation in the face of “the Love stomp.”) Younger players have needed time and Scola’s presence was a barrier to that personnel development.
Having said that, were Howard to be acquired, this would clearly not be a youth movement and any player of ability would need to be retained. Games would need to be won to win the big man over. If the rationale were–as it is–that Scola’s presence in the lineup hurts the long term, then the converse of that theory also holds true. Keeping Scola might help keep Dwight. In fact, one could argue their respective skillsets are exact complements.
Thus, if it happens that it is not necessary to amnesty Scola, and he returns, with Howard in tow, that can only be seen as a good thing.
My previous @redninetyfour Twitter account has been compromised. The new account is @rahathuq.