Where They Go Now: The Houston Rockets


The Houston Rockets that management will be keeping to the 2013-2014 season:

  • Jeremy Lin (unless… )
  • James Harden
  • Omer Asik
  • Donatas Motiejunas
  • Terrence Jones
  • Thomas Robinson

They can and should team option

  • Chandler Parsons
  • Aaron Brooks (unless… and I’ll get to that later.)
  • Greg Smith

That gives them $38.718 million salary cap next year.

While shooting 3s is good when it works, when they’re stuck, they need a post up presence. Hence all the power forward Josh Smith talk. I do not know if they need someone that expensive, but their void is what they are looking for, albeit Jeremy Lin should stay away from Carmelo Anthony shooters. I would have rather had that money be used to keep Kevin Durant playoff defender Francisco Garcia. Maybe they can add a David West-type presence like he does for the Indiana Pacers.

Apr 7, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul (3) breaks up a scuffle between center Ryan Hollins (15) and Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard (12) in the second half of the game at the Staples Center. Clippers won 109-95. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

I am also personally iffy on a Dwight Howard signing, unless he is used to attract superstar Chris Paul. Both would require trades of big contracts most likely of current lesser stars, Jeremy Lin, a point guard like Paul, and Omer Asik, a center with similar stars to Dwight Howard (despite a free throw percentage disparity) to keep them from reaching #1 salary cap in the NBA.

They also have two spots remaining on the roster.

Maybe they can use it for a backup center in case they try using Greg Smith as power forward again. J.J.Hickson of the Portland Trailblazers come to mind. While being a decent close up role player, he can become a dominant threat on the boards.

My most highly sought out small forward is scorer Nick Young, formerly of the Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Clippers. Before becoming injured, he had a couple of great 30 point games. He is not well known for his defense however, and his price may be steep for a backup to Chandler Parsons. (Maybe they can score 3s together!) Maybe it was not such an excess use of resources.

Also, I don’t know about OJ Mayo’s willingness to not start anymore after his lonely success in the Dallas Mavericks this season, but I would enjoy having Jeremy Lin and JR Smith team up again. That would probably seal the deal on giving Houston one of the most successful and deep back courts in the NBA next season.

It is sort of early to determine whether the excess of power forwards currently on the roster is ready for better roles. Till, that is determined, I’d say keep them on the roster until you are sure you want to get rid of them.

With a Chris Paul-Dwight Howard lineup, I see the Rockets roster next season being:

(starter, backup)

Point Guard: Chris Paul, Patrick Beverly

Shooting Guard: James Harden, JR Smith

Forwards: Chandler Parsons & Nick Young/Francisco Garcia/Greg Smith, Terrence Jones/D-Mo/Thomas Robinson

Center: Dwight Howard, JJ Hickson

Without Chris Paul-Dwight Howard,

Point Guard: Jeremy Lin, Patrick Beverly/Aaron Brooks

Shooting Guard: James Harden, JR Smith

Forwards: Chandler Parsons & Francisco Garcia/Greg Smith, Terrence Jones/D-Mo/Thomas Robinson

Center: Omer Asik, JJ Hickson