Multiple reports have linked the Houston Rockets to Daniel Theis. The 29-year-old center from Germany spent the first three and half seasons of his career with the Boston Celtics before being traded to the Chicago Bulls at the NBA’s trade deadline.
The Houston Rockets tricky salary cap situation
The Rockets already have $98.2 million in salary commitments for the 2021-22 season and with their 2021 NBA Draft class expected to earn a combined $14 million they’re already pushing up against the $112.4 million salary cap for the 2021-22 season. It is hypothesized that the Rockets will look to acquire Theis through a sign-and-trade and an $8 million trade exception.
Daniel Theis' fit with the Houston Rockets
Rafael Stone has indicated that he is comfortable with the Rockets operating above the salary cap and adding Theis through a trade exception will still allow the Rockets to be active in free agency. Outside of the financial implications of signing Theis, he is an excellent small-ball center who should be able to play next to Christian Wood.
Theis thrives as a rim runner and is an efficient shooter within the arc. While not a knockdown 3-point shooter with a career 33.5-percent conversion rate from behind the acr, he is credible enough that he can help space the floor. There is a lot to like about Theis in Houston but it does raise some questions about the Rockets plans.
What a Daniel Theis signing might mean about the Houston Rockets plans
The Rockets drafted two frontcourt players, Alperun Sengun and Usman Garuba, in the 2021 NBA Draft. Both players are international prospects, so there is a chance that one or both stay overseas for a season. There also remains the possibility that the Rockets are looking to trade Christian Wood and see Theis as an insurance policy if that should happen.
The final question revolves around the size of the Rockets frontcourt should they bring in Theis. Usman Garuba and Theis are both listed at 6’8 and Christian Wood and Alperun Sengun are 6’10. The Rockets will have one of the smaller front courts in the NBA. However, it will be one of the more mobile ones.
Daniel Theis would make a great low-cost addition to the Rockets’ frontcourt. If he flourishes in Houston he’ll be an excellent mid-season trade chip. The Rockets are right to target Theis on a one-year deal and he should become a fan favorite in no time.