This offseason, the Houston Rockets sought to add one of the league's best centers in free agency. Newly-hired Rockets coach Ime Udoka made it a point to add reinforcements on the defensive end of the floor and Milwaukee Bucks center Brook Lopez was the runner-up Defensive Player of the Year in 2022-23.
Udoka and Rockets GM Rafael Stone heavily pursued Lopez and thought they had a deal lined up for the championship center, until Lopez backed away at the ninth hour. The Rockets had a trade lined up, which they decided against retracting, that shipped off 2021 first-round pick Usman Garuba, who was the Rockets' best defender at the center position.
The Rockets were clearly caught off guard by Lopez's decision to remain in Milwaukee, as they didn't have any back-up plans at the center spot. The Rockets tried to sign Dallas Mavericks center Dwight Powell, but ultimately swung and missed on the 32-year-old big man.
3 big man options for the Rockets on the free agent market
Stone and Udoka ultimately brought in Jock Landale and Jeff Green, who will operate as secondary bigs in 2023-24. But it's clear that both players will not have significant roles with the franchise.
Green and the Rockets initially agreed to a one-year deal worth $6 million, but the Rockets ultimately gave him a two-year deal worth $16 million, with the second-year containing a team option. This will obviously give the Rockets more salary filler in a potential trade.
As for Landale, the Rockets gave him a four-year deal worth $32 million, although the deal only includes $8 million in guarantees. In other words, more salary filler in a trade.
As the Rockets are surely in need of a legitimate reserve big man, let's take a look at three players that could be options on the free agent market.