Free Agency

Houston Rockets: Top-5 2022 free agent centers 

N.B. Lindberg
Phoenix Suns v New Orleans Pelicans - Game Four
Phoenix Suns v New Orleans Pelicans - Game Four / Jonathan Bachman/GettyImages
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Mo Bamba
Toronto Raptors v Orlando Magic / Mike Ehrmann/GettyImages

Houston Rockets Free Agent Center #2 Mohamed Bamba

The idea of Mohamed Bamba has frustratingly been more tantalizing than the real thing. Bamba is a 7ft shot blocking center that can survive switches, stretch the floor with 3-point shooting, and rim run with the best of them, at least that’s the idea. In practice, Bamba has been in and out of the lineup with aliments and never put everything together for an extended run. 

Volatility brings risk, and Bamba’s career has essentially been four seasons of volatility. His 3-point shooting has bounced between 30% and 38.1%, and his defense has gone from near-elite to well below average from season to season. If he could put it all together, he would be an All-Star. However, it’s a risk the Rockets should explore. 

The cost of acquiring Bamba won’t be cheap, but there’s a real chance that it could end up a bargain. Due to his pedigree and performance, a deal with an average annual salary between $12 and $16 million would be a fair deal. As a restricted free agent, there’s a chance that the Rockets will have to overpay to pry him from Orlando. However, the Magic just drafted Paolo Banchero and still have Jonathan Isaac, so they may be fine letting him walk. 

Bringing in Bamba could also push Alperen Sengun down the pecking order. It would not be a surprise if he is a better player than Sengun next season. Would the Rockets be willing to risk another season of Sengun coming off the bench? And, if Sengun can’t win the starting job, what does that tell us about his future?

Mohamed Bamba is a good player that could be great. The Rockets look ready to roll with Alperen Sengun as their starting center, but if they think Bamba could be a long term piece, it wouldn’t be crazy to target him. He’s still young, he has shown flashes, and if he puts it all together, the Rockets could have an All-Star. 

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