With the season almost and the playoffs long since out of the picture, the Houston Rockets will turn their attention to the NBA draft and free agency. Until the NBA draft lottery commences, the Rockets’ draft future will remain up in the air, but their free agency plans are much clearer right now.
The franchise endured one of its worst seasons ever as injury and league-worst shooting plagued them every step of the way. The Rockets set an NBA record this season when Cam Oliver’s debut saw him become the 29th player to have played for the team, and it’s near impossible that the Rockets will endure another season with so much roster upheaval.
The number one priority for Rockets’ General Manager Rafael Stone is to add shooting. This past season saw players and teams score at historic levels, while the Rockets shot the ball like it was 1997.
Outside of shooting, the Rockets should pursue players that have a real future with the team and aren’t simply stopgap solutions. This isn’t to say that if a solid veteran is available they should turn him away, but that their main focus needs to be on younger players who can be a part of the team in three to four years.
The NBA salary cap is projected to be at around $112 million with the luxury tax threshold at $136.6 million for the 2021-22 season. The Rockets currently have $99.9 million in salary commitments for next season but can shed $7.6 million if they decline Avery Bradley and DaQuan Jeffries’s team options to have close to $20 million to play with before the salary cap and $44 million before the luxury tax.
The Rockets are set to have enough cap space to add significant pieces this offseason and they need to be aggressive if they want to get out of the league basement. While their draft might change their needs at certain positions, any team that loses the most games in the league needs talent pretty much everywhere.
The Rockets have their center of the future in Christian Wood but outside of him their frontcourt rotation going forward is up in the air. The team needs more depth and talent at the forward position no matter who they draft this year. These are the top-four free agent forwards to keep an eye on.