Houston Rockets: 3 reasons letting Kelly Olynyk go was smart

N.B. Lindberg
Los Angeles Clippers v Houston Rockets
Los Angeles Clippers v Houston Rockets / Carmen Mandato/Getty Images
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The Houston Rockets have kept a low profile in NBA free agency. Thus far, they’ve committed a combined $51 million to keep David Nwaba and bring Daniel Theis into the fold. While both moves should improve the Rockets in 2021, they’re not the type of paradigm-altering transactions that garner serious media coverage. 

In general, an inordinate amount of focus is placed upon roster additions, while subtractions are completely ignored. Sometimes, losing a single role player can cost a team, and other times it can be a blessing in disguise. 

It took Lakers fans a first-round playoff exit to realize that Dwight Howard was a crucial cog in their success. However, not all roster subtractions are negative. There is the saying, “addition by subtraction,” for a reason. 

The Houston Rockets were unable to re-sign Kelly Olynyk

The Rockets were unable to retain Kelly Olynyk. Instead of staying in Houston, he signed for three-years, $37 million with the Detroit Pistons. There is a serious argument that Olynyk was the Rockets' best player last season. Which makes it all the more baffling that letting him go was a great decision. 

After coming over midseason via the Victor Oladipo trade, Olynyk set the world on fire for the Rockets. He averaged 19 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 4.1 assists on 54.5-percent shooting and 39.2-percent 3-point shooting. 

Olynyk had a career year in Houston, except it wasn’t actually a year. His tenure in Houston was a shade more than a third of a season. While his time with the Rockets was undoubtedly superb, in the 43 games he played for the Heat, he posted his lowest field goal and 3-point shooting percentages in his career. 

For anyone that solely watched Olynyk as a Rocket, letting him go must feel like a punch to the gut. However, the decision was smart, and here are three reasons why.