While some Clutch City fans were a little worried Josh Smith chose to turn down the Houston Rockets offer and head over to the competition it opened the door for them to take care of a pressing need … retaining K.J. McDaniels. Several teams had voiced interest in the young talent, but Houston was handcuffed while they dealt with other free agents like Corey Brewer, Patrick Beverley and the pursuit of other free agents.
— HoopsHype (@hoopshype) July 19, 2015
It comes as no surprise then this matter was addressed virtually as soon as Smith’s news broke.
The reported deal is for three years at $10 million. Given how much contracts are escalating and McDaniels possible ceiling this is a veritable steal for the Rockets.
McDaniels hasn’t really been fully tested yet, but he’s a freak athlete, is young and his upside is huge. One great asset the Rockets have demonstrated is developing young talent and this move is an investment in the Rockets’ future.
Though he only played in 10 games after the Rockets acquired him just prior to the trade deadline for another youthful product in Isaiah Canaan Houston wasn’t fully able to utilize his talent set because they were in a dog fight for the ever competitive West playoff seeding.
While with Philadelphia McDaniels averaged 9.2 points per game and put his defensive prowess on full display constantly blocking shots and throwing down thunderous dunks.
Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reported on McDaniels excitement to lock in with Houston for the next 3 seasons:
“I feel great,” McDaniels said. “It’s about time we got it done and I’m just happy to be a part of such a great organization. I felt like this was the right place for me because I’m loyal to the team. I have a great relationship with the players on the team. The city was great to me. I love the organization. I love the history behind the Rockets and the greats that played there. It’s just a blessing.”
It’s expected the rockets will utilize the remainder of their mid level exception on signing Montrezl Harrell who demonstrated his motor in the Vegas Summer League.
By signing McDaniels the team now has a very youthful reserve base with up 6 players being first or second year players:
“ The city was great to me. I love the organization. I love the history behind the Rockets and the greats that played there. It’s just a blessing. – McDaniels”
The most likely assets they would dangle are Papanikolaou and/or Jones. If General Manager Daryl Morey is still intent on upgrading the point guard in the starting line-up some of these assets might tempt a team looking to add some youthful talent.
One thing is certain, many Clutch City fans were anxious to retain McDaniels, so perhaps they might want to send Josh Smith a thank you letter.
Here at Space City Scoop were excited the young 6’6″ forward is now locked in and look forward to seeing him garner more playing time on the court this coming season.
Make sure to visit Space City Scoop for your daily Rockets fix and all your summer free agency news.
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