Rockets News

Houston Rockets: Grading Player Contracts

By Andre Cantalogo
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Oct 30, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) drives to the basket during the fourth quarter as Golden State Warriors guard Andre Iguodala (9) defends at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Best Deals

James Harden – Current Salary: $15,756,438 / Guaranteed Contract: $41,446,282 (Through 2017-2018 season) – Seriously, James Harden could be easily ranked No. 1 overall best contract of the NBA (with the exception of Stephen Curry who is paid even less!). He is paid nowhere near his market value, Daryl Morey pulled a trade for the ages snatching him from the Thunder.

Just as a comparison, the Bearded one is being paid less than highly overpaid Joe Johnson, Enes Kanter, DeAndre Jordan, Brook Lopez and Wesley Matthews. Harden is also closely followed by talented role players like Eric Gordon and Roy Hibbert. Insane, Right?

An interesting side note here is during a recent game TV announcers disclosed it was a mere $1 million dollars that separated Harden and Oklahoma City G.M. Sam Presti. They both stuck to their guns and the result was the trade of Harden to Houston.

Grade: A++ (+)

Ty Lawson – Current Salary: $12,404,495 / Non-Guaranteed (trade clause) 2016-2017: $13,213,482 – This deal is so great because it all relies on Ty Lawson. It’s Ty’s betting on himself. Daryl Morey managed to convince Lawson to give up the guarantee on his last year salary for a shot at the title in the Rockets rotation and the confidence he’ll earn next year’s contract.

It’s a win-win situation. Lawson plays well: we have him locked for another year, plus he’s back on track in a winning team that trusts him.

Grade: B+

Marcus Thornton – Current Salary: $1,186,000 (Veteran’s Minimum) – Sure it’s incredibly early to make a prediction based on just eight games with a new team. It’s just this was so unexpected and surprising. Who would’ve thought when this deal was announced Lil’ Buckets would be a starter registering 16.6 points per game, 4.6 rebounds per game and spending 35.4 minutes on the court?

Now add that with a 40.5% average from the three-point line. His stats will eventually drop with time (I guess) but the Rockets already won a reliable shooter who can contribute as a starter or as a sixth man. Let’s face it, coming with a veteran’s minimum tag, he already paid for himself.

Grade: B+

Patrick Beverley – Current Salary: $6,500,000 / Guaranteed Contract: $18,000,000 (Through 2017-2018 season) / Non-Guaranteed 2018-2019: $5,000,000 – Everybody knows what Patrick Beverley brings to the table: Defense – And intensity. Beverley is a great deal simply because he embraces the role he was given – the tough guy. He gives everything for the team, he scraps, he fights, he is a leader on the court. Overall Beverley is that role player who reminds fans of how the game used to be played and always excites them with his energy.

His contract also scales down (to clarify that means he actually gets paid less each season) and his last season is not guaranteed (meaning the team can chose to end the contract a year early). Speaking generally, we have other point guard examples like Jose Calderon, Greivis Vasquez and Rodney Stuckey all older and with superior deals than Beverley: and not exactly producing that much more and definitely no where near the quality of defender Beverley is.

Grade: B

Clint Capela – Current Salary: $1,242,720 / Guaranteed Salary: $2,538,960 (Through 2016-2017) / Team Option 2017-2018: $2,334,520 – That’s all potential here. We’re paying for potential in Clint Capela. The big man from Switzerland just recently scored his first double-double.

Sure he has a lot of lapses during the game (bad screens, silly fouls) but it’s incredibly fun to watch his development. He seems to get better every-single-game and the Rockets will definitely reap huge benefits down the line. For that reason he lands in this category and gets a high rating.

Grade: A-

Next: Doubtful Contracts