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

away.

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

more upset.

”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

it.”

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

jilted players.

”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

year.

He joked with reporters at how rapidly everything changed on

Thursday night.

”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.”