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Is Luis Scola Now Expendable? It's Very Possible.

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Now, before grungedave decides to fire me from the staff for even suggesting this, let me reiterate that I love Luis Scola just as much as any other Rockets fan. But with a team that is clearly going young and has a glut at the power forward position, one has to wonder that if the team can find a suitor that Luis could be moved this offseason.

Naturally, this isn't high on my personal to-do list for the team this Summer. But with several reasons why it could (and some even debate that it should) happen, it's really been on my mind this morning.

We'll take a look at a few reasons after the jump.

Scola is an easy guy to like. He has no ego, rarely ever misses time with an injury and he gives it his all 110% of the time he is on the floor. And the fact that his production is still greater than his contract for players that put up similar numbers doesn't hurt either. But it isn't all pros in reference to Luis. There are some red flags that may make him expendable this Summer if an interested team calls. Let's look at them one at a time.

  • The wrong side of 30 - Unlike the NFL, a lot of players in the NBA see plenty of success after they hit Logan's Run. And Scola's game and style could age pretty well. So this isn't going to be a prime reason to say he should go. But after suffering a recent knee injury, keep an eye out. Injuries tend to linger (especially in the knees) once you're on the wrong side of 30.
  • Contract is back-loaded - Luis is due roughly just under $40 Million over the next four seasons. And, just like in point one, he isn't getting any younger. Especially when you consider he will be a $10 Million plus player the final two season of the deal when he is 33 and 34. Again, not saying he isn't worth that kind of cash. Just something to keep an eye on. Especially when Morey likes to move guys when they're at their peak value.
  • Patrick Patterson - While it is a small sample size, it's kind of hard NOT to be excited about what Patterson has brought to the table the second half of the season. Specifically what he has done since getting inserted into the starting line-up due to Scola's injury. The guy is a double-double machine and, unlike Luis, one heck of a defender that should only get better. 
  • Power Forward glut - In a perfect world, Houston gets a legitimate (or at least competent) Center or two this Summer and is able to have the luxury of moving the Chuckwagon back to his natural position of power forward. Also, as much as Jordan Hill frustrates me on the offensive end, his defense and rebounding have steadily improved all season. Those two, with Patterson starting, make a lofty rotation at the four for now and the future. Hill and Patterson are under team control cheap for the next few years and there is no reason to believe Hayes won't be brought back. Remember, this is a good problem to have.
  • Veteran + draft picks = Moving up in the draft - Imagine on draft day Morey gets the ear of a GM who is willing to trade a player/trade down and Houston has to make the money match. This is where draft picks and Scola's contract could become very useful. 

Now, I could keep going but I'm sure by now you see my point. As I alluded to in the introduction, please refrain from the torches and pitchforks as I'm not suggesting the team just gives Luis away (I still reserve that opinion for Kevin Martin). Absolutely not. But with the emergence of Patterson as a legit impact player, it certainly gives the team plenty of options heading into the draft and free agency this Summer.