Earlier this summer the Houston Rockets were prepared to sign Chuck Hayes to fill a need for depth in the front court and 15th roster spot.
At the time many wondered why Hayes was not signed as it was assumed McDaniels was always pinpointed by Morey as a free agent the Rockets wanted to retain. Perhaps McDaniels camp asked for more than what Morey’s team was expecting or potentially the Rockets would have been willing to let him sign elsewhere if Smith had returned.
Regardless, Hayes left and was another of the ex Rockets who initially penned a deal with the Clippers (Prigioni/Smith) prior to the Clippers releasing him.
Now with the Rockets in desperate need to add front court depth it appears Hayes initial wish to return to the team he began his career with are coming to fruition as he signed what is assumed a veteran minimum contract.
Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle offers comments from Coach Kevin McHale, GM Daryl Morey and Chuck Hayes regarding the signing:
McHale Comments (via Feigen):
“Chuck’s another big body,” Rockets coach Kevin McHale said. “He’s smart. He understands the concepts. He’s played in open offenses before where he understands speed from the bigs. He understands how to get smalls open. We needed another big guy on the roster.” – McHale
Daryl Morey Comments (via Feigen):
“He’s a quality player,” Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said. “He knows every offense, every defense, can step in and help a team on short notice which is a big reason we brought him in.” – Morey
KY Sports Radio: Houston Rockets sign Chuck Hayes https://t.co/PUXKMyHJ6B
— River Cities Courier (@rccourier) November 1, 2015
Hayes: on joining the Rockets – (via Feigen)
“It works for me because I’m working,” Hayes said. “It’s good to be back on the team, being back in the season. Sitting at home watching games is not a good feeling. I’m excited. I’m familiar with the organization, familiar with the coaching staff from meeting with them this summer. I’m looking forward to it.” – Hayes
From Hayes on helping the young bigs:
“Just watching them, the bigs are fairly young,” Hayes said. “That’s where my experience can come in and help. Really, being a big in this league, you just have to be vocal. Being vocal, you eliminate a lot of mistakes.” – Hayes
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Several reports surfaced that Hayes had desired a return to where he began his career and played his first 6 seasons in the league. Hayes was instrumental as a leader during his time as a Rocket including during the 22 game win streak of the 07-08 campaign.
Haye’s has also stated his desire to eventually join the Rockets staff as an assistant coach after he finishes playing, which might occur sooner than later if the Rockets end up needing to waive him later this season.
For now he’ll suit up today and offer some much needed help to a depleted front line entering the Miami Heat game with only Montrezl Harrell and Clint Capella available at their natural positions.
Having watched Hayes play in Toronto for the Raptors the past 2 seasons, I can vouch for his high I.Q. as he was the guy coach Casey would bring in to stop bigs who were killing the Raptors and he was more often than not successful (see the Memphis win and Detroit last season). Odds are he’ll use his smarts to get Hassan Whiteside in trouble.
Ultimately if he can be the leader on the court via communicating on defense he could prove to be a great asset and it’s something the Rockets are in desperate need of at the moment without Dwight Howard, Terrence Jones or Donatas Motiejunas available for today’s game.