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NBA salary cap guru sees high variance for Rockets with 2023 offseason figures

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The Rockets should have salary cap flexibility in the 2023 offseason, and it comes at a good time. After all, the ensuing 2023-24 year is when Houston’s future draft-pick obligations to Oklahoma City come back into play, so the Rockets will likely want to put a winning team on the floor.

But when it comes to free agent options and trades in that 2023 offseason to upgrade the roster, exactly how much space will they have? That depends on decisions Houston makes regarding its current players.

Yossi Gozlan, NBA salary cap guru for HoopsHype, explains:

The Rockets have a high variance of cap space projections depending on their decisions. They will have their own first-round pick which could be in the Top 7, as well as the Bucks’ first-rounder this season which should be somewhere in the 20s.

Assuming those pick projections stand, they could generate around $75 million in cap space if they renounce all cap holds, including Kevin Porter Jr., and waive all their non-guaranteed players, including Eric Gordon’s $20.9 million salary. If they keep all those players, they could be looking at $45 million in space. They might be realistically looking at around $60 million in cap space by keeping Porter Jr.’s $9.7 million cap hold on the books, if he’s not extended, and waiving Gordon.

One possible silver lining, per Gozlan, is that most of the other teams projected to have salary cap space in 2023 are in the middle of rebuilds and with an organizational focus on accumulating draft picks and developing young players. “It’s possible we just get more teams rolling over their (2023) cap space, like this (2022) offseason,” Gozlan writes.

If that’s the case, it could work to Houston’s benefit, since general manager Rafael Stone (in contrast to many rebuilding rivals) would appear to have a much greater incentive to be financially aggressive in 2023, owing to those future draft-pick obligations with the Thunder.

A complete rundown of Houston’s current player salaries is available below. A preliminary look at top 2023 free agents is available here.

Related

Podcast: August 2022 Rockets financial update with David Weiner

Report: Rockets, Kevin Porter Jr. share mutual interest in contract extension

List

Player salaries for Houston Rockets after 2022 NBA draft, free agency

Story originally appeared on Rockets Wire