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San Antonio's 2002 draft pick Scola signs with Rockets

7/17/2007 - NBA Houston Rockets

HOUSTON -- Five years after being drafted, Luis Scola has
finally signed with an NBA team.

Scola, who was chosen by San Antonio in the 2002 draft but never
played for the Spurs, was introduced as the newest member of the
Houston Rockets on Tuesday.

The Spurs held his rights since 2002 while he continued to play
for Tau Ceramica of the Euroleague. The Rockets obtained the draft
rights to the Argentinian forward and acquired Jackie Butler in
exchange for Vassilis Spanoulis in a trade last week with the
Spurs. Houston also had to give up a second-round pick in the 2009
draft for Scola.

"Luis fills a position of need," Rockets general manager Daryl
Morey said. "We thought he was the best guy out there and we
worked really hard to get him here."

The 6-foot-9, 245-pound Scola helped the Argentinian National
Team to an Olympic Gold Medal in 2004 and was named the Spanish
League regular season most valuable player in both 2005 and 2006.

New coach Rick Adelman thinks Scola will help in the continued
development of Yao Ming.

"I looked at a lot of tape on Luis and how he plays and I think
he's going to be a great attribute to Yao," Adelman said. "He's
very active."

Adelman thinks Scola's style of play will fit nicely into his
system.

"In the offense that we like to run, we like to have a lot of
activity on the floor to make it easier for your better players to
be effective," Adelman said. "I think he can do that as far as
cutting to the basket or passing the ball. I think it's going to be
easy for him. I think he's going to fit right in there."

Scola, 27, said he's excited to play with Yao and All-Star
Tracy McGrady and that they're the first thing he thought of when he
learned he'd be playing for the Rockets.

"It's great to be with them," he said. "I'm sure they're
going to help me much more than I'm going to help them."

He averaged 15.5 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists last
season for Tau Ceramica to earn All-Euroleague first-team honors.

Scola believes the extra time he spent in the Euroleague will
help in his transition to the NBA.

"I grew up not only as a player but as a person," he said. "I
want to take this challenge to see if I can succeed."

Adelman said it was too soon to say if the Rockets expect Scola
to start immediately, but he and Morey agree that Scola will
contribute quickly.

"I think he can step in and be an effective player for us right
away," Adelman said.

Though Scola has signed with the Rockets, his contract will not
be effective until they complete the buyout of his contract with
Tau Ceramica.