Rockets Rumors

Rockets Sign Terrence Jones, Chris Chiozza On 10-Day Deals

FEBRUARY 22nd, 9:15pm: The signings are official, per team release.

FEBRUARY 21st, 8:27pm: The Rockets are signing G League forward Terrence Jones to a 10-day contract, according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon (Twitter link). In addition to Jones, Houston will also sign rookie guard Chris Chiozza to a separate 10-day deal, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Both Jones and Chiozza will start their 10-day contracts with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers — G League affiliate of the Rockets — for evaluation purposes, according to Kelly Iko of The Athletic.

Jones, who holds five years of NBA experience, last played in the league with the Bucks and Pelicans during the 2016/17 season. He spent time with the Rockets during his first four professional seasons, quickly becoming a valuable rotation player for the team. Jones holds career-averages of 10.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and 24 minutes per contest.

Chiozza, a University of Florida product, went undrafted in 2018 and joined the Wizards last fall for training camp. He’s played in the G League with the Capital City Go-Go throughout the 2018/19 season, averaging 13.1 points per game on 42% shooting from 3-point range as a point guard.

The Rockets had to sign two players within the next day to bring their roster count to 14 players, doing so in accordance with NBA rules. Houston (33-24) also got center Clint Capela back from injury for its game against the Lakers on Thursday night, prepping for the start of a final push ahead of the postseason.

Excitement Building Around Clint Capela's Return

  • Danuel House is hopeful to return to the Rockets this season, he stated in an interview with David Yapkowitz of Basketball Insiders. “Hopefully I can go back to Houston and compete for a title,” he said. “There’s nothing like learning from James [Harden] and Chris Paul, Gerald Green, Eric Gordon and those guys. And now with the additions of [Iman] Shumpert and Kenneth Faried, I’m just excited to hopefully get something done so I can be out there and competing with those guys.” House was unable to agree on a new contract with the Rockets last month, currently playing for the team’s G League affiliate in Rio Grande.
  • The Rockets are excited about the return of Clint Capela, who missed 15 straight games following thumb surgery and is set to return on Thursday against the Lakers, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle writes. “We’re excited to get Clint back,” teammate P.J. Tucker said. “Clint is a huge piece to our team and he makes a lot of other people’s jobs a lot easier. He makes our defense be able to switch on to guards and be able to guard guards and protect the rim as well, changes the dynamic for us.”

Rockets Only Team Still Below Roster Minimum

No NBA games have taken place since Sunday’s All-Star Game in Charlotte, but a flurry of contract signings have been completed in recent days — teams that dipped below the roster minimum at the trade deadline have added players to ensure that they’re back up to the 14-player minimum within the two-week grace period.

[RELATED: 2018/19 NBA Roster Counts]

While the Hawks, Kings, Raptors, Knicks, Suns, and Heat have signed players to reach the NBA-mandated minimum, one team still has just 12 players under contract (not counting two-way deals). That team is the Rockets, and Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle tweets that Houston isn’t planning to add any players today.

The Rockets’ roster count went from 15 to 12 on trade deadline day when the team shipped out James Ennis, Nik Stauskas, and Wade Baldwin in a pair of salary-dump deals. However, according to Feigen (via Twitter), because it took so long for the NBA to clear its post-deadline queue of trades two weeks ago, those deals weren’t considered official until February 8. That means Houston has one more day to add two players and increase its roster count to 14.

It’s not clear yet how the Rockets intend to fill those two roster spots. Like other teams with luxury tax concerns, they may opt for 10-day signings as short-term fixes. That would also give the team some time to assess the buyout market and see if any other desirable targets shake loose within the next week or so.

Danuel House, who used up all of the NBA days on his two-way contract with the Rockets, is also still a candidate for a promotion, but he and the team have been unable to agree to a contract (we examined their stalemate last month) and I wouldn’t expect that to change by tomorrow. If Houston ultimately decides to unilaterally convert House’s two-way deal into an NBA contract, it’s more likely to happen later in the season.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 2/20/19

Here are Wednesday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA G League:

  • The Rockets assigned Isaiah Hartenstein to their Rio Grande Valley affiliate, tweets Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Clint Capela‘s expected return from injury tomorrow night reduces the need to have Hartenstein with the NBA team.
  • The Kings sent Caleb Swanigan to their affiliate in Stockton, tweets James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area. Swanigan was acquired from the Trail Blazers at the trade deadline and hasn’t played yet for Sacramento.
  • The Suns assigned rookie guard De’Anthony Melton to Northern Arizona, the team announced on its website. This is the fourth G League assignment for Melton, who has been sidelined since January 24 with a sprained right ankle.
  • The Heat shipped newly signed Emanuel Terry to their Sioux Falls affiliate, according to a press release from the team. Terry inked a 10-day contract with Miami earlier today.

Clint Capela Set To Return For Rockets

  • Rockets center Clint Capela returned to practice on Tuesday after missing 15 games with a thumb injury, tweets Tim MacMahon of According to MacMahon, Capela is on track to get back in Houston’s lineup on Thursday, assuming he doesn’t have any setbacks this week.

Teams That Must Add Players Within Next Week

The NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement requires teams to carry at least 14 players on their rosters during the regular season, not counting two-way players. However, clubs are allowed to dip below that line for up to two weeks at a time.

At the February 7 trade deadline, with so many players on the move, a handful of teams around the league fell below that 14-player threshold, meaning they have until February 21 – give or take a day – to get back up to 14.

Here’s a breakdown of which teams must make at least one roster move within the next week or so:

Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks dipped to 13 players when they released Shelvin Mack and Jabari Bird last Friday, and went down to 12 when they cut Jeremy Lin on Monday. They’ve reached a deal to sign two-way player Jaylen Adams to a standard contract, but even after they finalize that agreement, they’ll still have to add one more player by next Friday.

Houston Rockets

A series of salary-dump deals on deadline day left the Rockets with just 12 players under contract. They’ll have to sign two more – either to standard deals or 10-day contracts – by next Thursday.

Miami Heat

The Heat had been carrying 14 players for a while, but dropped to 13 when they traded Tyler Johnson and Wayne Ellington for Ryan Anderson on Wednesday. They’ll have until next Wednesday to fill that 14th roster spot.

New York Knicks

The Knicks released Wesley Matthews and Enes Kanter on deadline day to drop to 12 players. They signed John Jenkins to a 10-day contract on Monday, but that still only leaves them with 13.

By next Thursday, Jenkins’ 10-day deal will have expired, so the Knicks will need to fill two roster spots at that point, either by re-signing Jenkins and adding someone else, or by signing two new players.

Phoenix Suns

The Suns‘ roster count has been at 13 since they waived Wayne Ellington on Thursday. They have until next Thursday to get back to 14 players.

Toronto Raptors

The Raptors dropped all the way down to 10 players last week, which forced them to sign two players – Chris Boucher and Malcolm Miller – to standard contracts. Toronto also inked Jeremy Lin to a rest-of-season deal and now has until next Thursday to add one more player.

Ben McLemore is a candidate, since the two sides were seemingly in agreement on a 10-day deal, but that deal no longer looks like a lock to get finalized.

Southwest Notes: Capela, Noah, Wright, Doncic

The Rockets are optimistic that injured center Clint Capela will be ready to return after the All-Star break, relays Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Capela, who missed his 15th straight game tonight, hasn’t played since Jan. 13 when he injured ligaments in his right thumb.

He has been working out for several weeks and will start practicing with the team after the break concludes. Capela is the Rockets’ top rebounder at 12.6 per game and ranks third in the league in field goal percentage at 63.1%.

“He’s doing everything without contact,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. “I guess those two practices will determine whether he will play the first game (after the break) or not.”

Here’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Joakim Noah calls the opportunity to resume his career with the Grizzlies “a blessing” after a disastrous experience with the Knicks, tweets K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. Noah wasn’t always sure that he wanted to keep playing after becoming an outcast in New York, but he has been rejuvenated by a second chance in Memphis. “I didn’t want to leave the game like that,” he said. “I’ve worked too hard my whole life. I’ve always been somebody who loves basketball, loves to compete. I wanted to find that again.” (Twitter link)
  • The Grizzlies traded offense for defense at the backup point guard position in a pair of deals last week, writes David Cobb of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Memphis sent Shelvin Mack to the Hawks and replaced him by picking up Delon Wright in a trade with the Raptors. Wright can’t match Mack’s outside shooting prowess, but he made the Pac 12 All-Defensive Team twice in college and has the size to guard several positions. The Grizzlies can make Wright a restricted free agent this summer by extending a a $3.64MM qualifying offer.
  • An online gambling site has stopped taking wagers on the Rookie of the Year race, figuring Mavericks guard Luka Doncic already has the award wrapped up, relays Joey Hayden of The Dallas Morning News. David Strauss of MyBookie said the site is ready to pay out more than $150K to bettors who put money on Doncic.

Pacific Notes: Barnes, LeBron, Morris, Griffin

Now that the Kings have Harrison Barnes, the next step is to figure out the best role for him, writes Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Acquired from the Mavericks last week, Barnes has played extensively at both forward spots and his usage in Sacramento may depend on the opponent, according to coach Dave Joerger.

“I’m still learning what to do,” Joerger said. “How much I do I want to play Harrison at (small forward)? How much at (power forward)? And what do the matchups look like? And I need to get it done sooner than later because we’re not going to find a rhythm if I don’t figure it out quickly.”

Barnes has played both positions extensively throughout his career, with 48% of his minutes as a three and 50% as a four. The Warriors used him mainly as a small forward when he broke into the league, but shifted him to power forward later in his tenure there. He was mainly a power forward in Dallas.

“It’s a good problem to have,” added Joerger, who said he has wanted Barnes on his team for years. “You want to be as versatile as we can be at times. It’s going to be a little bit on the run, as we know, and it’s tough on me, but guys are playing as hard as they can and that’s all you can ask as a coach. And it’s on me to figure some of that stuff out.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • LeBron James hasn’t lived up to the excitement that surrounded his decision to join the Lakers, contends Bill Plaschke of The Los Angeles Times. L.A. will enter the All-Star break with a 28-29 record, placing them 10th in the Western Conference. Plaschke notes that although James has been brilliant on the court, he missed 17 games with a groin injury and affected team chemistry by maneuvering to get head coach Luke Walton replaced and pushing for an Anthony Davis deal that caused all of his young teammates to be subjected to weeks of trade rumors.
  • The Lakers missed out on Enes Kanter in the buyout market, but they remain in the running for Markieff Morris, tweets ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, who names the Rockets, Thunder and Raptors as the other top contenders. L.A. is also considering Carmelo Anthony, Shelburne adds, but is concerned because he hasn’t been active since November.
  • Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman examines whether the Clippers made the right move by trading away Blake Griffin last season.

Markieff Morris Draws Interest From Several Teams

Free agent forward Markieff Morris has drawn interest from the Rockets, Lakers and Raptors, agent Rich Paul told Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

Morris was dealt from the Wizards to the Pelicans last week and subsequently waived. He has not played since December 26 due to a neck injury, but was cleared to resume full basketball activities on Monday by spinal specialist Dr. Robert Watkins of Los Angeles, Haynes continues. He’s expected to decide which team to join this week, Haynes adds.

Morris, 29, has appeared in 34 games this season, including 15 starts, averaging 11.5 PPG and 5.1 RPG.

All of Morris’ reported suitors have open roster spots via deals made prior to last week’s deadline. They’re also playoff contenders seeking a rotation piece for the stretch drive and postseason.

The Lakers’ interest was previously reported, though they’ve also been linked to Carmelo Anthony.

Celtics forward Marcus Morris posted a tweet on Monday expressing his desire to become teammates with his brother again, as they had been in Phoenix. However, the Celtics have not shown any interest in making that happen, according to an NBC Sports Boston report.