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Will the Rockets Have the Cap Space to Attract Big Name Free Agents?

Nov 29, 2016; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward (20) tries to stop Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) from gettting to the basket during the first quarter at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 29, 2016; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward (20) tries to stop Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) from gettting to the basket during the first quarter at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports
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The Houston Rockets have played well enough this season to where adding a big name in free agency isn’t a must, but there’s still certainly room to improve.

A great argument could, and will, be made that the Houston Rockets should keep their whole roster intact this summer and give it another shot in 2017-2018. They finished this year’s regular season with the third best record in the NBA and will likely make a deep playoff run. There’s value in the saying, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

However, Daryl Morey has never been one to remain idle in the offseason. He’s made free agent acquisitions on a regular basis, both long-term and short-term. This past summer, his work to sign Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson, and Nene put the Rockets at contender status.

For this summer, though, Morey won’t have a ton of wiggle room to lure free agents to Houston. Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale broke down every team’s cap space situation for 2017’s free agency. He wrote that the Rockets will have about $5.7 million to offer without making any moves or releasing anybody. However, if they let go of some of their rookies along with Nene, they could have up to about $12 million.

"Ditch the cap holds on Nene and , plus the non-guarantees on and , and the Rockets forge another $6 million in space after subsequent empty roster charges. Attach that to the $5.7 million already in play, and they’ll have nearly $12 million to shell out for another player. Troy Williams Isaiah Taylor Kyle Wiltjer"

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That’s not quite enough to attract a big name such as Blake Griffin or Gordon Hayward, but it could get someone like Andre Iguodala or Danilo Gallinari interested. With the way Houston has played this year, opting to not shake things up too much might be the best route anyway.

If Morey could snag another stretch four to play behind Anderson, the Rockets would be a real threat next season. For instance, the Jazz have several players entering free agency this offseason and Joe Ingles could fit nicely in Houston.

All things considered, the Rockets are well off with their cap space situation. They sit at 12th in the league in guaranteed money owed next season, a nice spot to be considering their record. We’ll see what kind of tricks Morey has up his sleeve this summer.

Next: 3-on-3: Thoughts From a Rockets and a Thunder Expert

For now, there are more immediate matters to worry about. The Rockets and Thunder tip off for game three in the first round tomorrow night on TNT.  They need to get a couple more wins to move onto phase two of their potential deep playoff run.

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