After five months of being locked out, NBA players officially returned to their teams and to their first practice of the shortened season on Friday.
For teams like the Houston Rockets, which tried to move players in a trade — but then had the transaction nixed by NBA commissioner David Stern — there might have been a few awkward moments in the first practice session. But all-in-all it seemed like both players and coaches were excited to be getting back to work.
The NBA owners and players agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement last month but it wasn’t until Thursday that it was overwhelmingly ratified by both sides.
“It was good, a little bit of teaching. It was fun,” said Rockets point guard Kyle Lowry.
The Rockets were one of three teams caught in an odd spot when Stern nixed a three-team trade that would have sent New Orleans' Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers with the Rockets Luis Scola, Kevin Martin and Goran Dragic going to the Hornets.
All three Houston players who thought they were New Orleans-bound on Thursday were at practice with the Rockets Friday.
“I look at it as a business and (general manager Daryl Morey) showed his cards,” Martin said. “You just got to put your teammates first and nothing else after that.
“He felt like the team should move in a different direction (and that’s fine),” Martin said.
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(Photo: EPA/LARRY W. SMITH/LANDOV)