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Stoudamire finds home in Memphis
Rockets to look elsewhere for help in their backcourt
By MOISEKAPENDA BOWER
Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle
After reaching an agreement with free-agent power forward Stromile Swift two weeks ago, the Rockets turned their attention to landing a veteran guard for their backcourt.
The player atop their wish list — Houston resident Damon Stoudamire — had expressed an interest in joining the team.
But according to sources, Stoudamire and the Memphis Grizzlies have agreed on a four-year, $17 million deal that will be finished when the NBA lifts its moratorium on signings. The NBA and the players' union finished talks and completed their deal early today, clearing the way for teams to start making deals.
Stoudamire averaged 15.8 points and 5.7 assists with Portland last season.
Stoudamire, 31, appears to be a good fit for the Grizzlies, who are bracing for the loss of Earl Watson. Memphis reportedly is pursuing a sign-and-trade deal for Watson, who spent three seasons backing up point guard Jason Williams.
With Stoudamire having made $12.5 million with the Trail Blazers last season and the Rockets able to offer their salary-cap exemption of only $1.8 million, the teams reportedly were discussing a sign-and-trade deal.
Rockets forwards Clarence Weatherspoon, owed $6.53 million over the final year of his contract, and Juwan Howard, due $26 million over four years, reportedly were dangled as trade bait, but the two clubs failed to reach an agreement, paving the way for Stoudamire to sign with Memphis.
Miami and Cleveland also reportedly were interested. With Stoudamire off the market, the Rockets will alter their search.
Latrell Sprewell, Michael Finley and Gary Payton have been discussed as options.
Coincidentally, Stoudamire is set to participate in a charity softball tournament hosted by Rockets swingman Tracy McGrady this afternoon in League City.
The Rockets also learned free agent forward Scott Padgett has agreed to a multiyear deal with Phoenix. Padgett, 29, averaged 3.8 points and 2.6 rebounds over two seasons with the Rockets. He is expected to back up All-Star Amare Stoudemire.
It wasn't about being the team everyone loved, it was about beating the teams everyone else loved.
Division Champions 1955, 1956, 1988, 1989, 1990, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008
Conference Champions 1955, 1956, 1988, 2005
NBA Champions 1989, 1990, 2004