Houston Rockets fans are no strangers to lineup changes, and it appears they’re headed for another shakeup. Luis Scola, one of the few constants in Houston over the last four seasons, looks likely (again) to be headed out of town.
According to ESPN, Scola is the object of a major shopping effort from GM Daryl Morey. Morey, who misfired on attempts to trade up for an impact player in the draft, wound up instead with two possible replacements for Scola in college power forwards Royce White (Iowa State) and Terrence Jones (Kentucky).
Although neither White nor Jones is currently ready to play at Scola’s level—15.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game last season—having all three forwards competing for playing time would certainly hamper the development of both rookies. Morey also has plenty of other incentives to find a new home for his incumbent power forward.
The Rockets have been trying to stockpile assets since last season’s trade deadline, hoping to put together a package for a big-ticket player (ideally Dwight Howard, though it’s hard to imagine that happening). Scola is one of the few pieces they could move to bring in anything valuable, so dealing the 32-year-old is a virtual prerequisite to any larger deal.
Perhaps most critically, this isn’t the first time Scola’s had reason to pack his bags. He was part of the failed Chris Paul-to-the-Lakers deal prior to the 2011-12 season, so it’s no secret that Houston management would just as soon sell him off.
Scola is a team player, but there’s no way it can help being a distraction to know that your club is constantly looking for somewhere else to send you. That situation may or may not have contributed to the dip in Scola’s numbers last year, but it certainly didn’t help any.
Rather than another year of a veteran with one foot out the door, the Rockets would be much better served by finding a trade partner and giving that playing time to a pair of promising rookies who have far more need of NBA experience.