7 players the Houston Rockets should target on the buyout market

Maurice Harkless (Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images)
Maurice Harkless (Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Houston Rockets
New York Knicks Taj Gibson (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

6. Taj Gibson

At 6-foot-9, Taj Gibson has the size to fit in at center for the Rockets small-ball lineup. Gibson is also the only player on this list who has familiarity with Russell Westbrook, as he briefly played with the Oklahoma City Thunder during Westbrook’s MVP season.

Gibson has fell out of the rotation with the Knicks, as he’s only averaging 16.6 minutes per game, which are the 11th-most minutes on the team. Gibson has averaged 12.8 points and 9.4 rebounds per 36 minutes this season, and is only one year removed from averaging 16.1 points and 9.8 rebounds per 36 minutes.

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He also shot 32.4 percent from deep during the 2018-19 season, but he’s certainly not a reliable 3-point shooter. During that same season, he posted a player efficiency rating of 17.8, which is a career high, and had a true shooting percentage of 61.2 percent, which is also a career-high as well.

Although the 34-year-old is in his 11th season, the fact that he just had a career year last season shows that he still has enough in the tank to contribute for a contender like the Houston Rockets. This season, Gibson has a true shooting percentage of 59.1 percent, which is the third-best of his career.

Gibson has been a part of several deep playoff runs from his tenure with the Chicago Bulls, who were then led by former Houston Rockets assistant coach Tom Thibodeau. This could come in handy for the Rockets down the stretch this season.

Although Gibson is technically under contract through the 2020-21 season, this is the last guaranteed year on his contract. This means as long as he’s released by June 28th, he’ll only receive $1 million.

With the Knicks rebuilding and trying to turn to their younger players, Gibson will certainly not be a part of their future. This makes him a prime buyout candidate, and it would be wise for the Rockets to target him on the buyout market.

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