Scola, Martin practice amid awkwardness
Kevin Martin and Luis Scola joined the Houston Rockets for their
first full practice Friday, hours after the NBA nixed a three-way
trade that would have sent them to New Orleans and brought Pau
Gasol to town.
Hornets star Chris Paul was headed to the Los Angeles Lakers,
and Rockets backup point guard Goran Dragic and L.A. forward Lamar
Odom would’ve moved to New Orleans in the deal.
The NBA rejected the proposed trade for what it termed
”basketball reasons,” leaving Martin, Scola and Dragic to report
to training camp with a team that was apparently ready to send them
The easygoing Scola took it all in stride, saying he had ”no
hard feelings” toward Houston or general manager Daryl Morey.
”They had a trade that they believed was good for the team, and
they tried to do it,” Scola said. ”That’s nothing to blame them
for. And I’m happy to stay here.”
Martin, the Rockets’ leading scorer in 2010-11, seemed a bit
”Daryl (Morey) showed his cards, and you’ve just got to put
your teammates first and nothing else after that,” he said. ”I’m
just worried about my teammates. I’m out here with them, and that’s
Martin averaged 23.5 points in his first full season with the
team. He joined the Rockets in a three-team deal in February 2010
that sent Tracy McGrady to the New York Knicks.
The 6-foot-7 Martin said he didn’t have a chance to talk to
Morey on Friday morning about the voided on the previous night.
”Everybody’s looking to improve the team,” Martin said. ”He
(Morey) felt like that was the way to improve the team, more power
to him and the organization. At the end of the day, if you’re still
on the team, you’ve got to come in here and act like a professional
and help the team get better.
”They run the show,” Martin said. ”I’m just here to play, so
I really don’t have any questions for anybody.”
Morey was unavailable for comment on Friday.
Coach Kevin McHale, hired in June, met with all three players
individually before the 3-hour practice. McHale wouldn’t offer
details of the ruined deal, but shared his basic message to the
”Not awkward at all,” McHale said. ”I’m going to tell you
guys the same thing I told them – curl up in a ball, or go fight.
Those are your two options.
”I said, `Fellas, you’ll make that decision. I can’t make that
decision. I can’t play anymore,”’ he said. ”They made that
decision, and they had tremendous practices.”
After their individual meetings, McHale met with the trio
together, then assembled the entire team for a meeting.
”We talked about some stuff, and we talked about adversity and
we talked about the things that happened,” McHale said. ”Is it
hard? Yeah. Was I very impressed and proud that those guys came out
and just gave a great effort? Yeah, you’re doggone right. It shows
that they’re pros, it shows that they care, it shows that they’ve
got some character.
”In this league, if you don’t have any character, you don’t
have any toughness, you aren’t winning anything significant,”
McHale said. ”Those guys showed they had that.”
Scola, who’s played four seasons in Houston, was the leading
rebounder (8.2 per game) and second-leading scorer (18.3 ppg) last
He joked with reporters at how rapidly everything changed on
”At some point, it was kind of funny,” Scola said. ”People
calling me like this was happening, and I didn’t even know it was
happening, I didn’t have confirmation. (Then), the same people were
calling me, saying, `Forget what I said. You’re staying.’ It was a
lot of people calling me, like I was dying.
”The good thing is I’m prepared for everything now. After last
night, I know that anything can happen.”
In the wake of the big deal falling apart, the Rockets missed
out on re-signing sturdy forward Chuck Hayes, their only
unrestricted free agent. The 6-foot-6 Hayes agreed to a four-year
deal with Sacramento.
Hayes was Houston’s last-resort option to play center while Yao
Ming sat out with injuries. He was the Rockets’ second-leading
rebounder (8.1 per game) last season and frustrating taller players
with his strong lower body and stingy defense.
”He was a great teammate and a great guy,” Scola said. ”I’m
happy for him. It’s a great opportunity for him.”