Luis Scola will remain a Rocket.
According to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, the Rockets have signed the 30-year old power forward to a five-year, $47 million extension. Scola had been a restricted free agent, and his signing means that the Rockets did not lose a single player to free agency this off-season.
The Rockets didn’t manage to win the Chris Bosh sweepstakes, but Scola isn’t a bad consolation prize.
After an extremely successful international career with Spain’s Saski Baskonia and the Argentinian national team, Scola finally made his NBA debut with the Rockets in 2007.
The Spurs traded Scola’s rights to Houston because they feared his game wouldn’t translate to the NBA, but those concerns appear to have been unfounded. Scola was able to contribute to the Rockets right away, and he hasn’t slowed down since; last season, Scola averaged NBA career highs in points, assists, and minutes.
Scola isn’t a great athlete, but there isn’t a skill he doesn’t possess. Scola can score from the low block with a variety of unorthodox moves, is a skilled passer who almost always makes the right decision, can step out and hit the mid-range jumper, knows where to be on both ends of the floor, and knows every legal and semi-legal trick in the book. He’ll be 35 when his contract expires, but his game won’t get much less effective as he loses his athleticism.
With Scola signed, the Rockets will now start an above-average player at all five positions. Health, particularly the health of Yao Ming, will always be the caveat for the Rockets, but they should be a very dangerous team next season if they can keep all their players on the floor.