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SCOLA WILL PLAY AT PHOENIX THE NEXT THREE SEASONS
Thu, 19 Jul 2012 09:28 PM EDT

Luis Scola wasn’t especially shocked when the Rockets chosen him as their amnesty player. He already knew they were going to go in a different direction.

What did catch him off-guard was the team that had the winning bid for his services.

While many teams had an interest in Scola, the Suns came from outwardly 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. ”And when I discovered it was Phoenix, I used to be a little surprised seeing as there had been a lot of talking with some other teams that were allegedly going to bid. I didn’t actually expect anything from Suns and when they called me, I used to be a little bit surprised.”

Scola was a steady player in 5 seasons with the Rockets, providing them with solid scoring, good rebounding and lots of scrappiness. The 6-foot-9 forward averaged 15.5 points and 6.4 rebounds last season, but Rockets used its amnesty clause to cut him loose and clear space on the income cap.

Scola joins a Suns team which has lots 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 deal and extended a qualifying offer to limited free agent center Robin Lopez. Football lines

That’s a lot of big men, but a player with the skill and play-hard-all-the-time mind-set of Scola should get lots 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 sometimes work themselves out and you’ve a situation where it’ll finally accomplish. I suspect it will be a great scenario, it makes it a competitive situation.”

It’s been a busy offseason of reconstructing for the Phoenix Suns.

Phoenix lost point guard Steve Nash, a 2-time league MVP whom they sent to the L.A Lakers in a sign-and-trade agreement rather than enabling him to become a free agent.

Free agent forward Grant Hill, still productive late in his career, signed with the Clippers on Tuesday, leaving the Suns without their 2 most distinguishable and proficient players.

Phoenix started its rebuilding process quick signing Beasley to a 3-year, $18 million deal, and brought back Goran Dragic, the one off backup to Nash who confirmed a 4-year, $30 million agreement to come back to the desert after he was traded to the Houston Rockets in 2011.

The Suns lost out on guard Eric Gordon, a limited free agent who had his agreement with the Suns matched by New Orleans, but made up for that loss a little by picking up Scola.

”He’s an extraordinarily smart player, he’s a tough-minded player, a great guy in the locker room and plays with great force in practice,” Gentry declared. ”He’s been a fairly good player on the Argentine Olympic team.”

Scola admittedly didn’t know a lot about the Phoenix Suns’ offseason changes, focusing instead on the Rockets and the other teams who were reportedly keen on bidding for him.


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