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[SN] Rockets can let Dwight Howard walk and make improvements they actually need

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by Rockets34Legend, Jun 13, 2016.

  1. Rockets34Legend

    Rockets34Legend Contributing Member

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    http://www.sportingnews.com/nba/new...james-harden-future/un2l40n57mg41sgh10mvrb8x9

    A year ago, the Rockets made the Western Conference finals as the No. 2 seed. Now they could be looking at wholesale changes in a pivotal offseason.

    Dwight Howard likely will hit unrestricted free agency for the second time in his career, and two of the Rockets’ other big men will be restricted free agents. These decisions and others centered on how to build around James Harden will make this summer fascinating for one of the NBA’s most active and unique front offices.

    Let’s take a look at their free agents, salary cap space and assets for this summer before breaking down what needs to be done.

    Potential free agents: Dwight Howard ($23 million player option), Donatas Motiejunas (restricted), Terrence Jones (restricted), Josh Smith (unrestricted) and Jason Terry (unrestricted).

    Likely cap space: None.

    Maximum cap space (using $92 million estimate): $44.2 million

    2016 NBA Draft assets: No. 37 and No. 43. (Their first-round pick, No. 15, is owned by the Nuggets.)

    Houston’s offseason can be thought of as different segments that occur at largely the same time.

    The first big piece is Howard. The 30-year-old big man likely will decline his lucrative player option even if he might take a small financial hit next season in favor of the security of a long-term contract in a market flush with cash. It seems unlikely the Rockets would look to bring him back after clashes with Harden and the large long-term committment likely necessary, but opting out would only make it more difficult because it would increase his salary cap spot from $23 million to his maximum salary, likely around $30 million.

    Fortunately for Houston, they have a potential replacement on the team already in Clint Capela, a 22-year-old who impressed in his second NBA season. Howard returning would make this Rockets offseason simple; they would have very few options with his salary on the books. However, that ship may have sailed already.

    Major decision No. 2 features Houston’s restricted free agents. The team started the season with high hopes for big men Motiejunas and Jones but injuries and poor performance have changed each’s value and place in the Rockets’ long-term plans. Houston is fortunate both have low cap holds and qualifying offers as later draft picks, which affords the team the flexibility to assess the market more patiently.

    The decision with Motiejunas, 25, will be especially compelling because the Rockets traded him at the deadline to the Pistons in a deal Detroit eventually voided because of health concerns. Motiejunas then turned around and finished the season with mixed results, but the injuries have turned him from one of the Rockets’ best young assets to another question mark on a roster full of them.

    Jones, 24, has seen his efficiency dip each of the past two seasons while also dealing with major injury issues. However, the Rockets hold match rights on both Motiejunas and Jones so they hold the power in terms of where both play next season. A likely path is that each power forward secures the best offer sheet they can and Houston decides what to do at that point, which also gives the team the entire (shortened) July moratorium to use any cap space since restricted free agents cannot sign before July 7.

    Finally, Houston could be a player on the open market. The Rockets have decent depth, so they could use their cap space on one star if they get the right player. Harden’s ability to run an offense from the shooting guard position and new coach Mike D’Antoni’s tendency to get the most out of role players opens up unique possibilities because that pairing could make stars out of lesser players if the chemistry fits, but expect the Rockets to try to enter the conversations for Kevin Durant and Al Horford, at the least.

    One under-the-radar free agent to consider if Houston has cap space is Boban Marjanovic. The Spurs center is subject to the Gilbert Arenas provision like Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik in 2012. Signing Marjanovic to a lucrative offer would put Houston’s strongest Southwest Division competitor in a tough spot, and a Capela/Marjanovic center rotation could be formidable (and very popular on NBA Twitter!) moving forward if it came to fruition.

    However, all of this comes in the context of a Rockets season that ended in a disappointing 41-41 record, No. 8 seed in the playoffs and first-round loss to the same team that beat them in last year’s West finals, the Warriors. This offseason could be the time to consider a greater overhaul, such as putting out feelers on Harden’s value on the trade market. Last year’s MVP runner-up has two more seasons under contract and has shown how his presence can transform an offense, so the Rockets could look to deal from a position of great strength with a huge payoff if they make a move.

    Either way, the Rockets must view this offseason as franchise-shaping. They likely will lose one of the NBA’s biggest names and be in position to replace him in a variety of ways. One thing we know: A Rockets offseason is never quiet.
     
  2. Chamillionaire

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    Definitely looking forward to getting some improved shooting and better brand of basketball.
     
  3. Madmanmetz

    Madmanmetz Member

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    Boban Marjanovic... really? We can do better.
     
  4. Williamson

    Williamson HARTENSTEIN ONLY FAN
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    It's great to read about the Rockets moving forward post Dwight. I'm ready.
     
  5. jim1961

    jim1961 Member

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    The title is misleading in that its not up to the Rockets whether he walks, its up to Howard.
     
  6. rockets13champs

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    How did this dude get a job as a writer. His article made no sense he basically threw down a few facts and said to sign Boban. Like wtf did i just read
     
  7. bandwagon

    bandwagon Member

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    Exactly this.

    The Rockets are not "letting" Dwight walk. That idea is almost as idiotic as Cyberx's assinine claim that the Rockets signed D'Antoni just to drive Dwight away.

    The Rockets don't want anything to do with Dwight, but that feeling is very much mutual. They don't need to "let" him go. They don't need to drive him away. Dwight has been itching to bail out of Houston for over a year.
     
  8. Vienna Calling

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    Terrible article.
     
  9. Captain Hook

    Captain Hook Member

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    Exactly. Les wants to play fast, but sign a tall, but slow footed Center to a lucritive deal? Got it
     
  10. Madmanmetz

    Madmanmetz Member

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    Boban has skills but not only is he not a fit in MDA, an RFA offer would likely hold up our FA signings for 5 days from the moment the Rockets get the deal in the Spurs hands. The Rockets need to be able to move on established players instantly.

    The writer is entitled to his opinion but I don't think it's a very thought out plan.
     
  11. Haymitch

    Haymitch Contributing Member

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    Let's make it a policy to never have threads dedicated to "Sporting News" "articles"
     
  12. Liberon

    Liberon Rookie

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    Who is a excellent tall shooter? With a fast release and is obtainable?
     
  13. napalm06

    napalm06 #FireBillObrien
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    Scalabrine.
     
  14. CallMeTheDream

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    Mirza Teletovic
     
  15. Zen Tabak

    Zen Tabak Member

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    Boban does have skills but they are verrry sloowww skills. Pop barely played him against teams like the Warriors and any other team that likes to play with pace. Boban is not capable of playing with pace. Boban would be a horrendous fit here. I can believe that idea made its way out of somebody's head, into the article, past an editor and onto the internet. :confused:
     
  16. bulkatron

    bulkatron Member

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    Boban is legit.
     
  17. Deuce

    Deuce Context & Nuance
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    How do we project Boban working in a fast paced MDA offense/defense?
     
  18. rocketsballin

    rocketsballin Member

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    i defended dwight (and the brick bros) all season till the playoffs came and he showed he wants out. hope they dont screw around with their center search.
     
  19. JayZ750

    JayZ750 Contributing Member

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    I like Bobjan, but he'd be an option down the line for sure.
     
  20. MONON

    MONON Member
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    You're right, he is legit. However, as others have stated, he doesn't fit here. He's a big that shoots 76% from the ft line.
     
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