5 Moves the Houston Rockets Could Make During Free Agency
Moves the Houston Rockets Could Make
It has been almost 20 years since the last time the Houston Rockets hoisted the Larry O'Brien trophy in victory as the NBA Champions. Daryl Morey continues to work to bring the Rockets their third championship by assembling one of the more exciting teams in the Western Conference. Last summer he added Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik and followed that up by trading for James Harden on the eve of the 2012-13 season, putting in place a solid core to return the Rockets to the NBA playoffs after a three year absence. Under coach Kevin McHale, Houston looks to build on its first round loss to Harden's former team, the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Rockets could have up to $17 million in cap room this summer, which means that they will look to be players in this summer's free agency class and have a few holes in their team that they would like to fill. Signing some talented players this summer could go a long way toward bringing the franchise their long-awaited, third NBA title.
Big names in the NBA seem to be flocking to the major markets around the league. Do not count Houston out of this conversation. It is the fourth largest city in the United States, have an appealing, humid subtropical climate, where many NBA players make their offseason homes in Houston to base their workouts and, of course, the Rockets have a history of being a championship franchise. There are many attractive reasons that free agents would look to Houston this summer to join Harden and Lin.
Here are five free agents that could be seen in a Rockets uniform next fall.
The 28-year-old Paul Millsap seems primed to finally leave the Utah Jazz through free agency after trade rumors have surrounded him the last couple of seasons. The Rockets could pair the 6'8'' power forward with Asik to create a formidable front line. Millsap would provide the Rockets with another prolific rebounder to build on their position as the seventh best rebounding team last season.
The Rockets could use an athletic wing defender to create key turnovers and fuel the fast break. Houston lead the league in pace last season and are likely to continue that trend. After a one year stopover with the Denver Nuggets, Andre Iguodala could bring his skills to Texas next season, which would give the Rockets yet another play maker in addition to Lin and Harden, as Iguodala averaged over five assists per game last year for the Nuggets.
Josh Smith will be a player the Rockets are interested in. He would help James Harden carry the scoring load, averaging over 17 points per game last season for the Atlanta Hawks, as well as contribute on the glass where he averaged 8.4 rebounds per game. Smith could definitely help Houston take that next step forward in the Western Conference.
The last couple of seasons have been quite the wild ride for Dwight Howard. From the Dwightmare to back surgery to finally getting dealt from the Orlando Magic to the Los Angeles Lakers and the championship expectations that they failed to live up to this past season. Howard may be looking for a change of scenery to a team where the spotlight is not quite so bright and the Houston Rockets, no doubt have interest in bringing D12 to Houston. This franchise has always been known for prolific big men on the roster -- Hakeem Olajuwon, Ralph Sampson and Yao Ming to name a few. The Rockets would easily lead the league in rebounding if they paired Howard and Asik together.
Chris Paul will be the hottest commodity in the NBA this summer. Expect the Houston Rockets to have CP3 on speed dial when the clock strikes 12:01am on July 1. Yes, Houston just acquired Jeremy Lin last summer, but Paul is easily the best point guard of his generation and Lin would be just as easy to move via trade. It is rumored that Paul and Dwight Howard would like to team up together. What better place to make that happen than Houston? Playing for the Los Angeles Clippers will mean always being second banana to the Lakers. They would also have James Harden as a teammate to form their own "Big 3."
You can bet that Daryl Morey is already considering the possibilities. Morey is a big believer in advanced statistics and surely he is salivating over Paul's ridiculous 2012-13 Player Efficiency Rating (PER) of 26.43. Morey has been looking to land a superstar the last few summers and it would not be surprising to see that happen this offseason.