Found July 17, 2012 on
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New York Knicks
If the writing were not already on the wall for Luis Scolathis offseason, the Houston Rockets confirmed it with a post-NBA Draft phonecall: His days as a Rocket were numbered.
While Scola was surprised to leave Houston via the amnesty clause instead of atrade, he soon received another surprise a pleasant one in learning he'dbeen picked up by the Phoenix Suns.
"When I found out it was Phoenix I was a little surprised because therewas a lot of talking between some other teams that supposedly were going tobid," Scola said during a conference call Tuesday. "I startedthinking, and I think it's a great situation. ... The more I think about it, themore I want to go there and play."
Scola, a 6-foot-9 forward who is currently prepping for the Olympics with theArgentinean national team, had heard most from the Dallas Mavericks andCleveland Cavaliers, with both telling him they would bid for his services. TheSuns never seemed like a possibility, probably in part because they already hada crowded frontcourt.
With a group of big men which includes Markieff Morris, Channing Frye, HakimWarrick and Marcin Gortat, with Michael Beasley soon to join the fold, Scola isnot yet sure where he fits. Suns coach Alvin Gentry isn't certain, either, butwith that kind of depth, he hardly seems concerned.
"If we're having trouble with really good players finding minutes, thenwe're in great shape," Gentry said. "I think it's going to be a greatsituation. It makes a competitive situation."
The return of restricted free agent Robin Lopez, a distinct possibility, wouldmake for even more of a crowd. But Gentry noted that Frye could miss part ofthe early season while recovering from a partially dislocated shoulder sufferedon April 21.
Based on past production, Scola, 32, figures to be among the Suns' top threebig men. Much will obviously be determined once training camp rolls around, butScola, alongside Gortat, could help the Suns establish a scoring presence inthe post not seen since Amare Stoudemire departed in free agency two seasonsago. Scola averaged 15.5 points last season, following a career-high 18.3 theyear before.
Scola admits to some uncertainty about how his playing style meshes with theSuns' famously up-tempo offense.
"I try to adapt to any style that the team wants to play," Scolasaid. "I'm really not sure of the things I need to work on to fit betterwith the team right now."
The adjustment process figures to be shared by the entire roster, which hasundergone a radical transformation with the loss of among others SteveNash and Grant Hill and the addition of Scola, Beasley, Goran Dragic andKendall Marshall. Scola and Dragic played together last year in Houston.
"I've been a Sun for barely two days and its really hard for me to analyzechanges the organization has made this summer," Scola said. "I'm justhappy to be there. I think we have a good situation right now. I think we havea good team. I think we have some work to do, but we have some talent."
Scola has never been known for his defensive prowess, but there seems to be nodelusions on the Suns' part in that regard.
What they are getting is another capable offensive threat, and Gentry also seesin Scola an intangible which recently has been drained from the Suns roster withthe departures of Nash and Hill veteran leadership.
"He's been a really good player on that Argentinean Olympic team,"Gentry said. "If you look at the guys they've surrounded him with there,the fact that he has kind of stood out on that team tells me a lot.
Scola said he plans to do what he's always done once he joins his new Sunsteammates.
"I try to lead by example and work as hard as I can," Scola said."Those things I think always help to be a leader. That's what I did inHouston, and that's what I'll try to do in Phoenix."
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