The Houston Rockets have reportedly acquired forward Arzalan Kazemi. The Iranian-born player earlier signed a training camp deal with the Atlanta Hawks. Over the weekend, the Hawks waived him after appearing in one preseason game.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports first shared the news via Twitter, citing league sources. The 25-year-old power forward was drafted by the Washington Wizards with the 54th pick back in the 2013 NBA draft. His rights were subsequently traded to the Philadelphia 76ers.
He is the first Iranian-born player ever to be drafted by an NBA team. At just 17, Kazemi became the captain of his native country's under-18 national basketball team and has played for Zob Ahan Isfahan team in the Iranian Basketball Super League. He joined Philadelphia for the 2013 NBA Summer League where he delivered an average of 4.6 points and 4.6 rebounds in five games.
The Rockets already have 14 guaranteed contracts and they only have room for one more. The team is believed to fill the 15th spot with a big man for depth reasons in order to start the season efficiently. It means that Kazemi will be competing against Josh Smith, Jeremy Tyler, and Chris Walker for the final spot.
Meanwhile, guard-forward James Harden has sustained a contusion on his right knee during a preseason exhibition game against the Orlando Magic on Sunday. The severity of his injury is still unknown. However, some of the Rockets star's teammates do not expect that it will be a bothersome injury.
According to the Houston Chronicle's Jonathan Feigen, coach Kevin McHale mentioned that he had been given no update on the extent of the player's injury after Orlando had rallied back from a 22-point first-quarter deficit resulting to a 123-119 win. Harden reportedly left without talking but it appears that he had no difficulty walking.
"You kind of know if it's serious. I think he just bumped it a bit. Preseason lasts a long time. He has time to heal." said fellow forward Corey Brewer when asked how he thinks about Harden's injury.
Harden sustained the injury when Orlando Magic guard Evan Fournier collided with him during the second quarter of the said game. The Rockets guard was stripped of the ball on a drive then Fournier's left leg smashed into the side and back side of Harden's right leg and both players went down. Harden was seen limping behind the floor seats, then headed straight to the locker room.
"I'm just going to take my time. It's preseason. I'm just going to make sure I'm healthy for the beginning of the season. I'd like to be on the court, but I'll just focus on what I need to get done and not overdo it right now," Harden said in reference to the bruised knee.