PHOENIX (AP) -- Luis Scola wasn't particularly
surprised when the Houston Rockets designated him as their
amnesty player. He already knew they were going to go in a
What did catch him off-guard was the team that had the
winning bid for his services.
While numerous teams were interested in Scola, the Phoenix
Suns came from seemingly nowhere and snatched up the rugged
forward, adding to their increasingly crowded frontcourt.
"I kind of knew I was going to be playing somewhere
else," Scola said during a conference call Tuesday.
"And when I found out it was Phoenix, I was a little
surprised because there was a lot of talking with a lot of
other teams that were supposedly going to bid. I didn't
really expect anything from Phoenix and when they called
me, I was a little bit surprised."
Scola was a steady player in five seasons with the Rockets,
providing them with solid scoring, good rebounding and
plenty of scrappiness. The 6-foot-9 forward averaged 15.5
points and 6.4 rebounds last season, but Houston used its
amnesty clause to cut him loose and clear space on the
Scola joins a Suns team that has plenty of depth up front,
with Marcin Gortat, Markieff Morris, Channing Frye and
Hakim Warrick coming back. They also signed Michael Beasley
to a free agent contract and extended a qualifying offer to
restricted free agent center Robin Lopez.
That's a lot of big men, but a player with the skill
and play-hard-all-the-time mentality of Scola should get
plenty of playing time.
"If we're having trouble with really good players
finding minutes, then we're in great shape," Suns
coach Alvin Gentry said. "Things usually work
themselves out and you have a situation where it'll
ultimately work out. I think it's going to be a great
situation, it makes it a competitive situation."
It's been a busy offseason of rebuilding for the Suns.
Phoenix lost point guard Steve Nash, a two-time league MVP
whom they sent to the Los Angeles Lakers in a
sign-and-trade deal instead of allowing him to become a
Free agent forward Grant Hill, still productive late in his
career, signed with the Clippers on Tuesday, leaving the
Suns without their two most recognizable and talented
Phoenix started its rebuilding process quickly, signing
Beasley to a three-year, $18 million deal, and brought back
Goran Dragic, the one-time backup to Nash who signed a
four-year, $30 million contract to return to the desert
after he was traded to the Rockets in 2011.
The Suns lost out on guard Eric Gordon, a restricted free
agent who had his contract with the Suns matched by New
Orleans, but made up for that loss a little by picking up
"He's an incredibly smart player, he's a
tough-minded player, a great guy in the locker room and
plays with great intensity in practice," Gentry said.
"He's been a really good player on the Argentine
Scola admittedly didn't know a whole lot about the
Suns' offseason changes, focusing instead on the
Rockets and the other teams who were reportedly interested
in bidding for him.
Easing his transition to the desert will be his reunion
The Slovenian guard played just a season and a half in
Houston, but had built a good rapport with Scola, who was
disappointed to hear he had signed with the Suns. Now the
two friends are back together again, key components in a
"I was excited I was going to get to play with Goran
again," Scola said. "Goran is a great player. He
helped us win a lot of games and I feel really confident
playing with him."