3. LeVert’s contract would limit the Houston Rockets’ flexibility
Perhaps the most consistent message that Houston Rockets general manager Rafael Stone has preached this season has been regarding the importance of roster flexibility. And rightfully so, as the Rockets are at the bottom of the Western Conference and are undergoing a reset of sorts, so it’s highly beneficial for a team in their situation to be wise regarding their payroll.
LeVert impedes on that goal, as he’s owed $52.5 million through 2023, with LeVert receiving $16.2 this season, $17.5 million in 2021-22, and $18.8 million in 2022-23. This premise will likely re-create the premise that the Rockets are cheap (which is far from the truth, but a conversation for another day), but there’s a legitimate reason why this Rockets front office wouldn’t want that contract on the books.
For one, they already have John Wall’s supermax contract on the books, as Wall is still owed $91.7 million through 2023. If this past trade deadline is any gauge of Wall’s market, it’ll be difficult for the Rockets to move Wall, and his nagging injuries and missed time on the floor doesn’t help his cause.
Aside from Wall, the Rockets still have Eric Gordon’s contract on the books, with the reserve guard being owed a remaining $75.6 million through 2024. Sure, the final $20.9 million is 2023-24 is non-guaranteed, but he’s still owed $54.7 million through 2023, which is when LeVert’s deal is set to expire.
Wall and Gordon’s contracts already make it seemingly impossible to maintain salary cap flexibility, as the duo combines for $61.7 million on average, so where is the logic of bringing in another player, like LeVert, who makes another $17.5 million on average? Unless you’re of the belief that the Rockets should pay the luxury tax for this current iteration of the roster (which they shouldn’t), then bringing in LeVert doesn’t make much financial sense.
Next: No. 2