Luis Alberto Scola Balvoa (born April 30, 1980 in Buenos Aires) is an Argentine professional basketball player who currently plays for the Indiana Pacers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He formerly was a Euroleague star with the ACB's Tau Ceramica, as well as a member of the Houston Rockets and Phoenix Suns in the NBA.
Scola started his career with the Buenos Aires youth teams of Ferro Carril Oeste. He made his professional debut with the same club's pro team in the Argentine league during the 1995–96 season. After the 1997–98 basketball season in the Argentine League, Scola moved to Spain and signed with Saski Baskonia. He was loaned to Gijón Baloncesto, where he helped the then Spanish League Second Division club achieve promotion to the Spanish League First Division. He then was loaned back to Gijón through the 1999–2000 season, before arriving at Baskonia, where he played for seven seasons.
With Saski Baskonia, Scola reached the Euroleague final in the 2000–01 season, and three consecutive Euroleague Final Fours, between 2005 and 2007. His outstanding performances earned him an All-Euroleague Second Team selection in 2005, as well as two All-Euroleague First Team selections in 2006 and 2007.
Although Scola did not manage to win the Euroleague championship with Baskonia, he did win with them every major Spanish League title, winning a Spanish ACB League championship in 2002, 3 Spanish King's Cups in 2002, 2004, 2006, and 3 Spanish Supercups in 2005, 2006, 2007.
In the summer of 2005, the San Antonio Spurs of the NBA (who drafted Scola in 2002), attempted to negotiate with Baskonia to buy out his contract. After initially throwing around numbers as large as $15 million, Baskonia eventually settled on a number of over $3 million for the buyout of the contract. This made it difficult for Scola to join fellow Argentina national team member Manu Ginóbili in San Antonio, because of the NBA's rule which limits teams to paying no more than $500,000 of a player's buyout. Scola would have been responsible for paying Baskonia the remaining $2.5 million amount of the buyout. When the deal to buy out Scola's contract fell through, the Spurs instead signed an Argentine national team teammate and friend of Scola's, Fabricio Oberto.
On July 12, 2007, the Spurs traded the rights to Scola, along with center-forward Jackie Butler, to the Houston Rockets, in return for Vassilis Spanoulis, a future second-round draft pick, and cash considerations. He signed with the Rockets soon after and his sticky buyout situation was resolved a few days later. Scola signed a three-year contract with the Rockets, at a salary of $9.5 million. Scola placed third in the NBA 2007–08 Rookie of the Year Award voting and he was also named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team. On March 13, 2010, he scored a career high 44 points against the New Jersey Nets.
On the afternoon of December 8, 2011, the day before the 2011 NBA lockout ended and players could move between teams, the Rockets, the Los Angeles Lakers and the New Orleans Hornets agreed to a trade that would have sent Scola, along with Goran Dragić, Kevin Martin, and Lamar Odom to the Hornets. In exchange, the Rockets would have received Pau Gasol, and the Lakers would have received star point guard Chris Paul. That night, after other team owners voiced their opposition, league commissioner David Stern nullified the trade.
On July 13, 2012, he was waived by the Rockets using the league's amnesty clause to provide salary cap relief. It was widely noted, however, that Scola was not cut due to a lack of performance; rather, the deal was an attempt to clear cap space for the Rockets to trade for former Orlando Magic All-Star center Dwight Howard. Howard was instead traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, but the Rockets used their cap space to gain former Oklahoma City Thunder Sixth Man of the Year shooting guard and Olympic gold medalist James Harden. Howard did sign with Houston in the summer of 2013.
On July 15, 2012, the Phoenix Suns were awarded Luis Scola on amnesty waivers. Reportedly, the Dallas Mavericks and the Cleveland Cavaliers were also interested in acquiring Scola during the amnesty process. On November 22, 2012, Scola was relegated to playing off the bench for the first time in his NBA career since the start of his rookie season. While Luis did become a leader for the Suns, he came out of the season with declining averages. On July 27, 2013, the Suns traded Scola to the Indiana Pacers in exchange for Gerald Green, Miles Plumlee, and a future first round draft pick.
As a member of the senior Argentine national team, Scola has won several medals: the silver medal at the 1999 South American Championship, the bronze medal at the 1999 FIBA Americas Championship, the gold medal at the 2001 FIBA Americas Championship, the silver medal at the 2002 FIBA World Championship, the silver medal at the 2003 FIBA Americas Championship, the gold medal at the 2004 Summer Olympic Games, the silver medal at the 2007 FIBA Americas Championship, the bronze medal at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, the bronze medal at the 2009 FIBA Americas Championship, and the gold medal in the 2011 FIBA Americas Championship, among other titles.