At 6 pm ET on June 30 NBA free agency kicks off, and it offers the Houston Rockets to scour the landscape and look for some free agent deals. Free agency can be a landmine for overzealous front offices and a gold mine for shrewd organizations. Two offseasons ago, the Rockets snagged Christian Wood for a cut-rate deal in one of the better moves of the offseason. Their next go-around they signed Daniel Theis, who didn’t make it through one year of his four-year deal with the Rockets.
After the $41 million buyout of John Wall, which will save the Rockets close to $6 million, they will still have to sign their rookie class, which, per Spotrac, will add another $12 million in salary. The salary cap is expected to come in at $123.6 million, and the luxury tax threshold will be around $150 million. Add it all up, and the Rockets will enter free agency with close to $135 million in salary commitments.
Without mountains of cap space, the Rockets will either have to offload Eric Gordon’s $19.5 million deal or orchestrate a sign and trade to be active in the free agent market, but there are sure to be a few interesting options.
The 2022 free agent class is light on star power, especially if Bradley Beal, James Harden, and Zach LaVine quickly sign extensions, but the center market is full of quality options. Deandre Ayton will also be available, but contract demands would make it very difficult for the Rockets to realistically bring him in.
The Rockets currently have Alperen Sengun, Usman Garuba, and Boban Marjanovic as their center rotation. However, Marjanovic is on an expiring contract, and Garuba may need more seasoning in the G-League, so looking for value at the center position wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world. These are the top-five centers for the Houston Rockets to target.