Rockets agree to 4-year deal with Bruno Fernando
The Houston Rockets and Bruno Fernando have agreed to a four-year $10.9 million deal, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Fernando signed a non-guaranteed deal to compete for a roster spot at training camp earlier in the offseason and converted that deal to a two-way contract on October 2.
The Rockets inking Fernando to a four-year deal further solidifies their front court rotation and could portend another trade. Fernando has predominantly played the center position in his NBA career, Alperen Sengun is expected to be the Rockets starting center, Usman Garuba is more of a center than power forward, Boban Marjanovic is exclusively a center, and the recently acquired Derrick Favors is also a center.
With only 15 NBA roster spots, the Rockets currently have five centers on the roster. It's unclear if the Rockets are going to cut or trade one or two of their excess centers.
Fernando had a short stint with the Rockets last season and performed admirably. In 10 games, he averaged 6.9 points, 4 rebounds, and 0.8 blocks in 9.4 minutes per game. On a per 36 minute basis, those numbers extrapolate to 26.4 points, 15.3 rebounds, and 3.1 blocks. Fernando isn't secretly peak-Hakeem Olajuwon, but he showed that in limited spells he can impact winning.
The exact details of the deal have not been reported. It is unclear if every season is fully guaranteed and/or if there are any team or player options. However, at an annual average value of $2.725 million, the deal is incredibly team-friendly regardless of the details.
The decision to guarantee Fernando a roster spot on a four-year deal does raise questions over Usman Garuba's future with the franchise. Fernando and Garuba are both defense-first centers with limited offensive skill sets. The two are unlikely to be able to share the floor, which means one will be the third-string center. A four-year deal doesn't make Fernando the backup to Sengun, but it does signify a strong faith in his abilities.
The signing also creates an impending roster crunch. The Rockets have 15 roster spots and 19 players currently at training camp. Boban Marjanovic looks like the most likely player to be cut, as he has less trade value than Derrick Favors.