Source : NBA.com
PHOENIX (AP) -- The Indiana Pacers have bolstered their front-line depth with the acquisition of Luis Scola from the Phoenix Suns.
The Pacers sent forward Gerald Green, center Miles Plumlee and a lottery-protected first-round draft pick to the rebuilding Suns.
Scola, a 6-foot-9 forward from Argentina, played his first five NBA seasons with the Houston Rockets before coming to Phoenix a year ago when the Suns submitted the winning bid under the league's amnesty rule. He appeared in all 82 games for the Suns, averaging 12.8 points and 6.6 rebounds. It was the fifth time in his career that he's played in all games.
Scola, who has averaged 14.2 points and 7.5 rebounds in his career, joins a team that figures to contend in the Eastern Conference after he toiled for a season with a Suns squad that compiled the worst record in the Western Conference and second-worst in the franchise's history.
The 6-foot-8 Green has played for six teams since coming to the NBA in 2005. Signed as a free agent by Indiana in 2012, he appeared in 60 games, averaging seven points per contest. The 6-11 Plumlee was selected in the first round by the Pacers out of Duke last year, the 26th selection overall, but appeared in only 14 games for the deep, talented Indiana squad.
Not surprisingly, Scola said he was "very, very excited to play for the Pacers."
"They are one of the top three teams in the NBA with a good shot to win a championship," Scola said in a Pacers news release announcing the Saturday trade. "I think it's a great team and this is a great opportunity. I can't wait."
Hall of Famer Larry Bird, the Pacers' president of basketball operations, said Scola adds veteran experience to the Indiana bench.
"He has NBA experience, international experience and is the type of player that will fit nicely on our roster," Bird said.
Since returning to the Pacers in late June after taking a leave of absence for health reasons, Bird has re-signed power forward David West, then spent most of his time strengthening the Pacers bench.
When free agency opened, he convinced point guard C.J. Watson to sign. He also has signed backup swingman Chris Copeland and point guard Donald Sloan, and now he's added a solid scorer to back up West. Bird also selected Arizona forward Solomon Hill in the draft.
He's been able to make the moves without going over the NBA's luxury tax threshold - something Bird has said he will not do.
The price for Scola wasn't particularly high, from Indiana's perspective.
Pacers fans have grumbled constantly about the lack of productivity from Green, who still has two years and $7 million left on the free agent deal he signed last season, and Plumlee spent much of his rookie playing time with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA D-League.
Bird believes that a better bench will help the Pacers continue to make deep runs in the playoffs, and possibly even get past two-time NBA champion Miami in the Eastern Conference. The Heat beat Indiana 4-2 in the second round of the 2012 playoffs and needed to win Game 7 to finally fend off Indiana in the Eastern Conference finals this year.
New Suns general manager Ryan McDonough called Plumlee "one of the best players" in this year's Summer League, where the big center averaged 10 points, 9.5 rebounds and three blocked shots. McDonough also said that Green will add athleticism and scoring ability to what is designed to be an up-tempo style under new Phoenix coach Jeff Hornacek.
Phoenix is undergoing a roster overhaul in what could be a lengthy rebuilding process.
"The trade is consistent with our stated plan to continue to acquire young assets," said Lon Babby, the Suns' president of basketball operations. "With this trade, we now have the potential of three first-round picks in the 2014 draft and five first-round picks in the next two drafts."
Plumlee gives the team a second young center. Phoenix used the fifth overall pick in this year's draft to select Maryland's Alex Len, a 7-foot Ukrainian who is recovering from right ankle surgery.
BOBCATS, HENDERSON AGREE TO 3 YEAR DEAL
Charlotte shooting guard Gerald Henderson and the Bobcats have agreed to a three-year, $18 million contract, said a person familiar with the situation.
The person says Henderson, 25, has the option to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2014-15 season. The person spoke to The Associated Press Saturday on condition of anonymity because the deal has not yet been signed.
Henderson, a four-year NBA veteran, was a restricted free agent. Yahoo Sports first reported the deal.
The 12th overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft by the Bobcats, Henderson averaged 15.5 points per game last season, second best on the team.
Henderson finished the 2012-13 season playing the best basketball of his professional career, averaging 23.9 points over the final 23 games while shooting 48 percent from the field.
Henderson is the Bobcats' longest tenured player on the roster.
The Bobcats view Henderson as one of their core players, along with fellow co-captain Kemba Walker, Bismack Biyombo, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and rookie Cody Zeller, the No. 4 pick in this year's draft.
The 6-foot-5, 215-pound Henderson has started 143 games over the past three seasons and averaged 11.3 points and 3.1 rebounds per game during his career. He's averaged better than 15 points per game in each of the last two seasons.
Still, the Bobcats would like to see his 3-point shooting continue to improve.
In 2011-12, Henderson shot just 23 percent from beyond the arc. He showed considerable progress in that area last year, converting 33 percent of his 3-point attempts.
The move likely precludes the Bobcats from signing any other high-profile free agents this summer.
The team earlier this offseason signed free agent center Al Jefferson to a three-year, $41 million contract after using the amnesty clause to release forward Tyrus Thomas. It was the largest free agent contract the Bobcats have ever handed out.
STEVE NASH TRYING OUT FOR INTER MILAN FOOTBALL TEAM
Steve Nash believes Kobe Bryant is ahead of schedule in his recovery from Achilles' surgery, is hopeful that the Los Angeles Lakers will finally find the chemistry they lacked a year ago and is finding himself fueled by the memories of an injury-filled season.
On Tuesday, however, basketball won't be his sport of choice.
The two-time NBA MVP gets to become a soccer player again -- if only briefly.
The Lakers guard who grew up playing soccer and still has deep ties within the sport will have a tryout of sorts with Inter Milan, before the storied team opens play in the Guinness International Champions Cup tournament that's coming to the U.S. next week. The tournament features eight club teams from around the world, with a winner to be crowned in Miami Gardens, Fla. on Aug. 7.
"It's a dream come true to get a chance to try out, not just to try out but to take the field with Inter Milan, one of the great, storied franchises in professional sports," Nash said in an interview with The Associated Press. "I feel like a little kid."
Tournament officials said the tryout will take place in New Jersey, two days before Inter Milan opens its portion of the Guinness event in Indianapolis against Chelsea. And Nash expects to be feeling a fairly ramped-up level of nervousness when he laces up his cleats for that training session.
"It's going to be a lot higher than it is playing basketball, for sure," Nash said. "I still get nervous for basketball games from time to time. When I get out on the court, I don't get nervous, but before. To go out there with guys that I look up to and watch play, it's definitely going to raise the nerves. I'll be really nervous and really excited."
The tournament begins Saturday when AC Milan visits Valencia. Juventus and Everton meet Wednesday in another first-round game, with the other opening matchups being the Inter-Chelsea game and Real Madrid taking on the L.A. Galaxy on Thursday.
The European clubs are primarily using the event as preseason training and the matches will allow for many more substitutions than normal, as is common with exhibition matches.
"Guinness has kind of taken it to another level by making a tournament out of it," Nash said. "There's stakes involved. For Guinness to bring seven of the world's biggest clubs over and play with the Galaxy, that's phenomenal exposure for the game and it'll help grow the game in North America."
Nash played soccer and hockey as a child before starting his basketball career as an eighth-grader, primarily because most of his friends at the time were spending more time taking corner jumpers than corner kicks. His father, John, played professional soccer in South Africa and England, and Nash remains an avid soccer fan and is part of the ownership group for the Vancouver Whitecaps of Major League Soccer.
As far as his "real job" goes, Nash said he's encouraged for the coming NBA season. He's working his way back to being 100 percent physically. His first season with the Lakers was an injury-filled one, where he was limited to 50 games because of a broken left leg and a strained right hamstring.
"I've had a really good summer of training and rehabilitating," Nash said. "I'm not 100 percent, but I'm pretty close. Good enough to go out there Tuesday. I'm thrilled I've had this time to build myself back up, and I believe I'll have a great year."
Last season was a struggle for the Lakers, and the offseason hasn't exactly been tranquil, either. Dwight Howard left Los Angeles for Houston, Bryant has been working his way through rehabilitation for his Achilles', and the Lakers added new pieces like Chris Kaman, Nick Young and Wesley Johnson.
"We're all just excited for another opportunity," Nash said. "We've got some terrific players coming off of difficult seasons. I know Pau Gasol after his injuries, Kobe's coming off a difficult injury, I was injured for the better part of the season. The three of us are eager to get back out there and there's other guys, Jordan Hill, Steve Blake, who missed a lot of time last year.
"We're excited to see what we can make of ourselves. We really are going to try for the second consecutive year to find chemistry and identity, but we're excited for it, so we'll see."
Nash said he isn't letting go of the bad memories from last season, using them instead as motivation for the coming year. And when the new season starts, he said he wouldn't be at all surprised to see Bryant - who tore his Achilles' tendon in April - not just ready, but raring to go.
"I don't think he'd have it any other way," Nash said. "I know he's very focused and determined and he plans to come back as strong as ever, probably in record time."