4 Free agents the Houston Rockets should avoid at all costs this summer

The Houston Rockets should avoid D'Angelo Russell in free agency
The Houston Rockets should avoid D'Angelo Russell in free agency / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages
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Free agency in the NBA is not what it used to be. In the era of player empowerment, the league's best players are always, in a sense, "free". They'll request a trade if they're not satisfied with their situation.

As it should be. The league's superstars are the most important people in the NBA. Without them, nobody is making any money. Player empowerment has changed the league's landscape, but general managers will have to navigate accordingly.

Either way, it's a moot point for the Houston Rockets. Sure, some big names will hit the open market. The Rockets can't afford them whether they want them or not.

Still, with some clever maneuvering, the Rockets could free up space for some mid-to-upper-tier free agents. That doesn't mean they should pounce on the first available big name. Here are four free agents we think they should avoid this summer.

4. Gordon Hayward

At one time, Hayward was a star. Let's be honest - those days have long passed.

When the Oklahoma City Thunder acquired him at this year's deadline, they thought they were moving the needle. Instead, they hardly seem to trust him. Hayward has mustered a meager 9.5 minutes per game throughout two playoff games against the New Orleans Pelicans.

In all likelihood, Hayward's next deal will be one that the Rockets can afford. They should spend their money elsewhere. Rafael Stone's goal should be to get value out of contracts. Hayward is likely to continue declining:

Let him do it somewhere else.