Houston Rockets’ biggest offseason Question #2: What to do about the veteran backcourt?
As the Rockets engage in a youth movement they’ll have to figure out a solution to their aging backcourt. The question of what do the Rockets do about John Wall, Eric Gordon, and D.J. Augustin could have serious implications over the short term.
Wall turns 31 in September, Gordon turns 33 on Christmas Day, and Augustin will be 34 in November. The trio will earn a combined $69.6 million this upcoming season and, depending on who the Rockets draft, none of them could be starters.
Augustin’s deal is only for $7 million this season and a not fully guaranteed $7.3 million in 2022-23 so moving him through trade or eating his salary won’t be difficult if the Rockets want to move on from him. However, Wall and Gordon are a completely different mess.
Wall is owed $44.3 million this season and has a player option for $47.3 million in 2022-23 and after suffering through a litany of injuries over the past four seasons that have sapped his availability and production he is likely on the worst contract in the league. Unless Wall rebounds early next year, he looks to be an unmovable object.
Gordon’s deal isn’t nearly as large, averaging around $19 million over the next three seasons, but he is older and just missed a substantial amount of time to a groin injury. The final year of his deal is not guaranteed so the Rockets could move off of him, like Wall, in two seasons.
Do the Rockets play the waiting game and hope that their veterans aren’t upset backing up and mentoring a young backcourt? Or are they proactive and look to move them and their salary to open up options and playing time?
There are no good answers to this question and these two deals are the final reminders of the fallout of competing for titles year in and year out. The Rockets have a veteran backcourt mess and it needs answers now.
Next: Question #1