In what came as a bit of a surprise Friday evening, the Houston Rockets waived forward Luis Scola to clear salary cap space for a potential blockbuster move. To dump Scola and the three-years and roughly $21 million left on his contract, the Rockets used the one-time amnesty clause in the NBA’s new collective bargaining agreement.
The 32-year-old Scola averaged 15.5 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 31.3 minutes per game last season. He started all 66 of Houston’s games, and was a huge piece of the team’s puzzle. His career averages of 14.5 points and 7.7 rebounds per game are pretty good, so just releasing him is quite a risk for the Rockets to be taking.
The 6’9″ Scola is a fan-favorite in Houston so this won’t be a popular move unless the Rockets pull off a blockbuster deal, like one that brings Dwight Howard back in return. The assumption is that Houston is clearing Scola off the books in order to absorb multiple bad contracts from the Orlando Magic that would come in a potential deal for Howard.
The Rockets have already gotten rid of Kyle Lowry and allowed Goran Dragic to leave town, while they also shipped Chase Budinger and center Samuel Dalembert away in separate trades in exchange for two first-round draft picks.
Houston has signed Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik to offer sheets, but it looks like both restricted free agents will be retained by their former teams.
I’ll give the Rockets credit for working hard to re-make their roster, but so far they haven’t added much other than Jeremy Lamb, Royce White and Terrence Jones in this year’s draft.
As for Scola, he’ll land somewhere quickly. He will be put on waivers and someone will claim him. He’s a high-energy guy who works hard and will always be a tough guy to handle in the paint.