3 sleepers for the Rockets to pursue in free agency

Bobby Portis #9 of the Milwaukee Bucks (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Bobby Portis #9 of the Milwaukee Bucks (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /
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Houston Rockets
Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

With the Houston Rockets‘ season ending before the playoffs even started, all the attention has turned to the off-season for the Rockets and their fans. Most of the attention has been fixated on where the Rockets’ draft pick will land once the draft lottery happens on June 22nd.

Even recently the focus has been on the coin toss that determined the Rockets’ late first-round picks. There is, however, another aspect of this offseason that could potentially go a long way towards determining how the next few seasons will play out for the Rockets: free agency.

We all know the top possible free agents this summer, such as Kawhi Leonard, DeMar DeRozan, and Kyle Lowry, who most would agree aren’t the type of players that the Rockets will be targeting this summer.

Of course, if Leonard were to move on from the LA Clippers, the Rockets wouldn’t pass on a chance to bring him to Houston, so long as he had the desire and interest.

In this article, I will be focusing more on the lower-tier looming free agents who are often overlooked as it pertains to NBA free agency of 2021. As a disclaimer, I am going to make some assumptions.

For example, I will assume that the Houston Rockets land one of the top-4 picks in the 2021 NBA Draft, while also assuming that players like Kelly Olynyk and David Nwaba will move on to other teams.

Also, for this article, we are assuming that the Rockets will have enough cap space to make any of these deals.

They will have their Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level Exception, which will be worth $9,536,000. This may very well not be enough, and in that case, the Rockets would have around $8 million if they decided to bypass Avery Bradley’s team option for 2021-22.

After adding Jae’Sean Tate and Kenyon Martin Jr.’s non-guaranteed contracts plus the salary of a potential top draft pick, it would easily start to get dicey.

The team could look to move on from Eric Gordon, who is slated to make a little over $18 million in 2021-22. If the Rockets open up cap space or use the mid-level exception, they should target three lesser-known players.

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