The Rockets seem desperate to acquire Dwight Howard, and today they might take a step that will enable them to make a trade offer for the disgruntled star that the Magic can't refuse.
The Rockets have decided to waive forward Luis Scola using the collective bargaining agreement's amnesty provision, Yahoo Sports reported. Although Scola still would be paid the remaining $21 million guaranteed to him over the next three years, the move would clear his contract off the Rockets' books and allow them to accept more of the Magic's onerous salary obligations.
The Magic would like to shed as many long-term contracts as possible, and trading away some combination of Chris Duhon, Jason Richardson, Quentin Richardson and Hedo Turkoglu would improve the salary cap flexibility.
Rockets could offer draft picks, rookies, young veterans and perhaps the expiring contract of swingman Kevin Martin, who is due about $13 million this season.
Magic general manager Rob Hennigan emphasized Thursday night that no trade is imminent. "I don't think there's a real correlation to anything with Luis as it pertains to us," Hennigan said.
But the Magic have limited trade options otherwise.
The Nets cannot realistically acquire Howard until Jan. 15, the day center Brook Lopez becomes eligible to be traded. In addition, Magic officials are not inclined to acquire Andrew Bynum from the Lakers because of concerns about Bynum's knees.
Hennigan said the Magic "had talks with a few teams" but "nothing specific" Thursday.
Meanwhile, ESPN.com reported that Howard told Hennigan and CEO Alex Martins during a phone conversation Wednesday that he has no interest in staying with the team.
Martins and Hennigan confirmed that they spoke with Howard, but they would not address the claim in the report that Hennigan tried to get Howard to stay and was rebuffed.
Kidd set to mentor LIn: The Knicks introduced additions Jason Kidd and Marcus Camby, and Kidd was already talking about how he'll mentor guard Jeremy Lin, who is not even assured of being back yet.
Kidd, 39, believes he can help win games in crunch time, but he also embraced the role of tutoring Lin in the point guard position. "To have a chance to mentor a very good player in Jeremy — be able to share my secrets or what I've learned in my 18 years — for him hopefully to take it to another level, it's something I look forward to doing," Kidd said.
General manager Glen Grunwald said New York had yet to receive the Rockets' offer sheet to Lin. New York will have three days to match the offer of about $28 million for four years.
76ers Dump Brand: The team used the amnesty clause on veteran forward Elton Brand and will get about $18 million in salary cap relief for next season. Brand was entering the final season of an $80 million, five-year deal.
Bobcats: The team withdrew its qualifying offer to point guard D.J. Augustin, who now becomes a free agent. The move will save the Bobcats about $4.4 million under the salary cap and likely means Kemba Walker will be the starting point guard.
Lakers: If they can't get Howard from the Magic, the Lakers are said to be looking at Brand, Antawn Jamison and Jermaine O'Neal, ESPN.com reported.
Mavericks: The team is preparing to go after Scola through the amnesty waiver process if they don't land Brand, ESPN.com reported.
THunder: Starting center Kendrick Perkins is expected to be ready for next season after having surgery on his right groin.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.