Houston Rockets’ top-5 Free agency needs #2: Flexibility
The Rockets have needs throughout their roster but they cannot lose sight of the future. Before they sign their rookie class, the Rockets are projected to have no guaranteed salary for the 2023-24 season.
While cap space is only as good as the players you use it on, the Rockets cannot tie themselves to average veterans if it robs them of cap space in the summer of 2023. John Wall will be coming off the books, Eric Gordon won’t have any more guaranteed money, and Christian Wood, Jae’Sean Tate, and Kevin Porter Jr will be in line for extensions.
The Rockets will need cap space in 2023 to keep their young core together and being short-sighted could impact their ability to do so. With the uncertain growth of NBA revenue streams brought upon by the coronavirus pandemic expecting the cap to continue to grow would be a mistake.
Looking to land guys on one or two-year deals this summer is fine but guaranteeing money beyond 2023 would be a massive mistake. Cap space comes as fast as it goes and for rebuilding teams, it can be their ace in the hole in free agency.
Financial flexibility heading into 2023 needs to be a priority for the Rockets. If that means the team is a little worse in 2021-22 and 2022-23 then so be it. The rebuilds that work are the rebuilds that have a plan.