Beck to compete for Rockets spot
The Houston Rockets will have four players competing for their final open roster spot when they complete the signing of swingman Romel Beck, which is scheduled to happen Wednesday.
Sources close to the situation say Beck has been lined up to fill the vacancy in Houston's training camp created when the Rockets elected not to go through with their intended signing of Rashad McCants.
McCants is carrying an abdominal injury that limits his immediate availability, so Houston has opted to sign Beck -- who played for San Antonio's summer-league team -- to a non-guaranteed deal.
The Rockets are one of the dwindling number of teams prepared to field a full 15-man roster this season and are expected to choose between leading contender Pops Mensah-Bonsu, Beck and summer-league guards Will Conroy and Garrett Temple for that last spot.
Yet Rockets general manager Daryl Morey made it clear in a statement Tuesday that signing McCants when the former North Carolina star is healthy is still in his thoughts.
"Unfortunately Rashad is still recovering from an abdominal injury that would have made it very difficult for him to earn a spot on our roster," Morey said. "We were looking forward to seeing him compete with the mix of guards we have in camp, but he simply would not have been completely healthy. We are open to taking another look at him down the line when his condition improves."
Although he's a proven NBA scorer, McCants has been looking for work all summer after the Minnesota Timberwolves traded him to Sacramento in February and the Kings passed on re-signing him.
The Rockets need scorers with Yao Ming out for the season and Tracy McGrady still sidelined after knee surgery and were willing to audition McCants -- just as they gambled on Von Wafer last season -- in spite of concerns about McCants' willingness to play a team game and cope with limited playing time.
Beck faced similar criticisms during the summer while playing for Mexico's national team and was ultimately removed from the team during the FIBA Americas Championship.
McCants suffered the abdominal injury a few days before the Rockets opened camp while working out in Miami.
"Both Rashad and I are very disappointed by the timing of his injury," said Jeff Schwartz, McCants' agent. "He worked hard all summer to get ready for camp, was playing well and both of us believed he had an excellent chance with Houston. As soon as the injury heals, Rashad will be ready for his next opportunity."
Marc Stein is a senior NBA writer for ESPN.com.