10 players the Rockets could add with the mid-level exception

D.J. Augustin #14 of the Orlando Magic (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
D.J. Augustin #14 of the Orlando Magic (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /
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Houston Rockets
D.J. Augustin #14 of the Orlando Magic (Photo by Harry Aaron/Getty Images) /

With the Houston Rockets reportedly planning on spending their taxpayer’s mid-level exception, here are ten players they could add by using their $5.7 million.

Although the Houston Rockets have two of the best players in the NBA, in Russell Westbrook and James Harden, it became clear in the 2020 NBA playoffs that they’ll simply need more depth, if they want to be considered legitimate contenders. Many other teams across the league received contributions from role players and key reserves, and the Rockets weren’t exactly as lucky.

The challenge for the Rockets is that they are essentially capped out, as they have $129.3 million invested in nine players already for the 2020-21 season, which could begin as soon as next month. While there has been trade speculation, it could be a lofty expectation to expect newly promoted general manager Rafael Stone, who is in his first season as an executive, to wheel and deal this offseason, which will be a significantly shortened offseason.

What’s far more likely is for the Rockets to add roster depth through free agency, by signing players to the veterans-minimum to round out their roster. The Rockets also have their non-taxpayer mid-level exception to work with, which would give them $9.2 million, although spending the full amount would restrict their ability to add other players.

It’s been reported that the Rockets intend to spend their taxpayer mid-level exception, which would give them $5.7 million to work with, which would allow them to sign a legitimate contributor. But there’s been pessimism about the Rockets actually following through with spending the MLE, as recently stated by ESPN’s Houston Rockets beat writer Tim MacMahon.

“Now, I was told last year that they planned on spending their Mid-Level, and the year before. So, it’s one of those…believe it when you see it. But, that’s what they’re saying.”

Assuming the Rockets spend their $5.7 million mid-level exception, let’s take a look at 10 players they could sign by doing so.

Next: No. 10