Report: Rockets waive Tarik Black
Basketball isn’t just a game in the NBA, it’s also a monumental business — even around the holidays.
Rookie Tarik Black learned that the hard way when Houston waived the center from Kansas the day after Christmas.
Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported the Rockets had to clear a roster spot in order to sign free agent Josh Smith, himself waived days ago by Detroit. Black ended up being the casualty when Houston (20-7) made a title-chasing move.
Undrafted after one year at KU, Black earned himself a Rockets uniform and playing time through hard work. Coach Kevin McHale, in a story from CBS Houston’s Howard Chen, earlier this month pointed to Black’s core values and attitude when talking about how the (allegedly) 6-foot-11 center got a shot in the NBA after all those teams passed on him in the draft.
“That’s what got my attention right away,” McHale said. “I was just very impressed with the kid as far as his willingness to come to work every day. (He) had just a great can-do attitude. Whatever you asked him to do, he did. That went a long way.”
Black started 12 of the 25 games he played for the Rockets, contributing major minutes when they needed him fill in due to injuries and the like. He was averaging 4.2 points and 5.1 rebounds in 15.7 minutes, and shooting .542 from the floor.
The 23-year-old big man’s best performance came Dec. 3 against his hometown Memphis Grizzlies — the team he would’ve faced Friday night with the Rockets.
Black put up a double-double in Houston against the Grizzlies, going for 10 points and 11 rebounds in 23 minutes. What’s more, he put in serious work on the offensive glass, with nine boards on that end of the floor, while playing against the likes of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol.
Following that performance, Black told Chen he has learned much about the NBA through his on-the-court experience.
“There’s a lot of talent, so you have to be on your p’s and q’s night in and night out,” Black said. “You have to listen to what the coach wants. You have to listen to the game plan. And you have to go out there and execute it in order to get wins.”
That quote is an example of what McHale spoke of, and other NBA teams have not only seen evidence Black can contribute, they also have heard good things about him. So even though the rookie had played single-digit minutes in four of Houston’s last five games, he could wind up with another franchise. And soon.
Wojnarowski reported more than one NBA team told him they have interest in claiming Black off waivers.
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