The Houston Rockets have officially announced that they will not pick up the options for Carlos Delfino and Aaron Brooks for next season. The Rockets already announced a month ago that they will not pick up Francisco Garcia’s $6.4 million. Declining all three options will save Houston approximately $12 million of salary cap space for next season, and gives them more flexibility to hopefully sign Dwight Howard and another marquee free agent.
Johnathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reported that if the team signs a big-time free agent this summer, with Dwight Howard as its primary target, it will shift toward an emphasis on veterans. The Rockets would prefer to avoid the luxury tax in coming seasons, but they’re willing to go deep into the tax to keep many of their own players who are set to become free agents after the 2014-2015 season, including Omer Asik, Jeremy Lin, Chandler Parsons and Patrick Beverley.
General manager Daryl Morey and the rest of the front office will pitch to potential free agents that the team has all of its future first-round picks, after having given up this year’s first-rounder. They’ll also point to the mid-level and bi-annual exceptions the team will have once it goes over the cap, meaning the Rockets will still be available to add more veterans. This strategy saw some success in Morey’s early days when Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming were surrounded by a bunch of veteran and journeymen players.