10 players the Rockets can add through trade exceptions

Mo Bamba #5 of the Orlando Magic (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Mo Bamba #5 of the Orlando Magic (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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Houston Rockets
Mo Bamba #5 of the Orlando Magic (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

The 2020-21 NBA season has been filled with ups and downs for the Houston Rockets, to say the least. From one of the franchise all-time greats in James Harden asking out to an eventual six-game winning streak, Rockets fans have found themselves on a never-ending roller coaster.

What has been evident is the Rockets’ need to bolster their roster, as they’ve dealt with a bevy of injuries and haven’t had the roster depth to overcome said woes. The Rockets find themselves below. 500 and outside of the playoff picture in the Western Conference, which is further proof of the dire situation that the team finds themselves in.

The good news is that newly promoted general manager Rafael Stone could add to the roster without having to get rid of any key pieces, as the Rockets possess a bevy of trade exceptions, which allow the team to acquire additional salary without giving up any outgoing salary.

10 players the Houston Rockets could land through trade exceptions

In case you’re unfamiliar with exactly how a trade exception works, it allows a team to trade for any player (or players) so long as the total incoming salary doesn’t surpass a specific amount.

The amount depends on whether the team is a taxpaying team. The Rockets have several trade exceptions, from several trades they’ve made within the last 12 months, which are outlined below:

  • James Harden trade exception-$10.65 million (expires January 16th of 2022)
  • Clint Capela trade exception-$3.5 million (expires March 19th)
  • Austin Rivers trade exception-$3.5 million (expires November 27th)
  • Nene trade exception-$2.6 million (expires March 19th)
  • Gerald Green trade exception-$1.6 million (expires March 19th)
  • Jordan Bell trade exception-$1.6 million (expires March 20th)

The amount of the trade exception plus $100,000 is the amount of salary that can be brought back in return. For example, in the Harden trade, the Rockets cleared a path for them to acquire a player who is making upto $10.75 million (10.65 million plus $100k).

Per the Collective Bargaining Rules, these exceptions cannot be combined to create more salary, nor can a player be sent away from the team with the exception, in an attempt to add more incoming salary. In other words, the amount of the trade exception plus 100,000 is the hard cap, meaning no other avenues exist to add more salary room when using a trade exception.

As the Harden exception is the largest, the Rockets can acquire any player with a salary of south of $10.75 million, which gives the team several options. Let’s take a look at some of those options.

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