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Luis Scola: What does it mean to the Thunder?

John Rohde Published: July 14, 2012

Throughout this offseason, we will do our best to keep up with trades and free-agent signings that could have a potential effect on the Thunder.

Today, it’s the Houston Rockets waiving power forward Luis Scola:

What it means to the Rockets:  The Rockets cleared salary cap space by using their lone amnesty clause to rid themselves of Scola’s $21 million guaranteed salary over the next two years. Scola still gets his money, but his salary does not count toward the Rockets’ salary cap or luxury tax. Houston hopes the move will give them enough space to swallow bad contract involved in a trade for center Dwight Howard from Orlando. However, an hour after waiving Scola, the Rockets signed Jeremy Lin to a ridiculous three-year, $25.1 million offer sheet that’s back-loaded for $14.9 million the final year, a figure the New York Knicks likely won’t be able to match. Scola averaged 14.5 points and 7.7 rebounds in five seasons with the Rockets. He was paid $8,591,793 last season.

What it means to the Thunder: Probably nothing. Thunder general manager Sam Presti was with the San Antonio Spurs when they drafted Scola with the 27th pick in the second round of the 2002 NBA Draft. Scola didn’t arrive in the NBA until 2007 and never played one minute for the Spurs, who traded him to the Rockets. Presti has a history with Scola, but Presti evaluates every player put on waivers. Scola is 32 years with only five seasons in the NBA. Before that, he played a decade of international ball. He is considered old with high mileage. Perhaps if Scola would play for minimum wage (around $1 million), Presti might have an interest. Given he will still be paid in full for the next two seasons from the Rockets, perhaps Scola will consider minimum wage, but I doubt it. Cleveland already has shown an interest in Scola.

- John Rohde

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