Cameroonian free agent forward Luc Mbah a Moute has agreed to a one-year NBA deal with the Los Angeles Clippers, ESPN reported on Monday (Tuesday in Manila), pushing the Houston Rockets to pursue Carmelo Anthony.
The Rockets, led by NBA Most Valuable Player and scoring leader James Harden and backcourt partner Chris Paul, advanced within one win of the NBA Finals last season before losing to the eventual champion Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference finals.
Now they are faced with the loss of two forwards in Mbah a Moute, who came to the Rockets last year from the Clippers and will return for $4.3 million, and Trevor Ariza, who signed a one-year deal with Phoenix last week worth $15 million.
The moves add to uncertainty for the Rockets around Swiss free agent center Clint Capela, who has not agreed to a new deal.
Facing a major frontline talent loss, the Rockets are hoping to add four-time US Olympian Carmelo Anthony, who is expected to have his contract bought out by Oklahoma City and become a free agent before the end of next week.
Mbah a Moute, who had a one-year deal worth $2.1 million last season, turns 32 in September. He averaged 7.5 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.2 steals a game last season for the Rockets in his 10th NBA campaign.
Washington gets six-year prison sentence
Former NBA f orward Kermit Washington, best known for a 1977 punch in an on-court fight that nearly killed rival Rudy Tomjanovich, was sentenced to six years in federal prison.
Washington, 66, was sentenced in Kansas City by US District Judge Greg Kays on charges related to an extensive charity fraud scheme and ordered to pay $967,158 in restitution.
“This former NBA player abused his fame and status to promote a charity scam by which he raised hundreds of thousands of dollars that he diverted to personal spending on lavish vacations, shopping sprees, and even plastic surgery for his girlfriend,” said US Attorney Timothy Garrison.
“Although he told his donors that 100 percent of all donations would go to support charitable work in Africa, including a medical clinic for needy families and HIV-positive children, in fact he spent most of the donated funds on himself. His fraud scheme also victimized law-abiding taxpayers by stealing from the public treasury rather than paying taxes owed.”
Washington pleaded guilty last November to two counts of filing a false tax return and one count of aggravated identity theft.