Summer rewind: Houston Rockets

Bobby Marks of The Vertical

Previous teams in the series: Hawks | Nets | Clippers | Timberwolves | Jazz | Hornets | Kings | Pacers | Magic | Suns | Knicks | Grizzlies | Raptors | Mavericks | Celtics | Pelicans | 76ers | Spurs | Blazers | Bucks | Nuggets

A look at the key offseason moves and changes for every team in the league. Next up are the Houston Rockets.

OFFSEASON ADDITIONS
Draft
Chinanu Onuaku

Scroll to continue with content
Ad

Renegotiation
James Harden

Free Agents
Ryan Anderson
Eric Gordon
Nene
Pablo Prigioni

THE REWIND
The question of durability
The biggest impact might not be from new coach Mike D’Antoni, but from the Rockets’ medical team.

Free-agent additions Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson and Nene should make the Rockets better – if they can steay healthy.

Since entering the league in 2008, Gordon and Anderson have combined to play 78 games or more in a season twice.

Nene, 33, also has not been able to stay on the court, missing 15 games or more the past five seasons.

The big deal
The Rockets’ best move of the offseason was renegotiating James Harden’s contract.

In ripping up Harden’s 2012 rookie extension, the All-Star’s salary now reflects the current max.

Though the Rockets now have an extra $10 million cap hit in each of the next two seasons, the benefits are worth it.

Harden, who was set to be a free agent in 2018 before the renegotiation, is now under contract until 2019, with a player option for the 2019-20 season.

The deal gives the Rockets some stability, which is crucial for D’Antoni in his first season with Houston.

James Harden got a nice raise this offseason. (Getty)
James Harden got a nice raise this offseason. (Getty)

CAP BREAKDOWN
Player                                                   2016
1. James Harden                             $26,540,100
2. Ryan Anderson                           $18,735,364
3. Eric Gordon                                 $12,385,364
4. Trevor Ariza                                  $7,806,971
5. Corey Brewer                                $7,612,172
6. Patrick Beverly                             $6,000,000
7. K.J. McDaniels                              $3,333,333
8. Nene                                             $2,898,000
9. Sam Dekker                                  $1,720,560
10. Michael Beasley                         $1,403,611
11. Clint Capela                                $1,296,240
12. Pablo Prigioni                             $1,050,961
13. Montrezl Harrell                          $1,045,000
14. Chinanu Onuaku                          $543,471

Restricted free-agent cap hold           2016
15. Donatas Motiejunas                   $5,720,513

Salary table                                          2016
Guaranteed salaries                        $92,371,147
Dead money                                           $0
Non-guaranteed                                     $0
Tax variance                                           $0
Free-agent cap holds                      $5,720,513
Incomplete roster charge                       $0
Salaries: cap                                   $98,091,660
Salaries: tax                                    $98,091,660
Salary cap                                       $94,143,000
Luxury tax                                       $113,287,000
Cap space                              None ($3,948,660 over)
Tax room                                           $15,195,340

Dwight Howard’s contract status played a pivotal role in the Rockets’ off-season plans.

Because of Howard’s player option, Houston would not have cap flexibility until the former All-Star opted out of his contract. Once Howard became a free agent, Houston – right at the cap when free agency started – gained $40 million in room.

With the cap room, Houston signed Anderson and Gordon to long-term contracts and used the balance of the space to renegotiate Harden’s contract.

RESTRICTIONS
Free agents signed in the offseason cannot be traded until either Dec. 15, Jan. 15 or for three months if they signed after Sept. 15.

Anderson, Gordon, Nene and Pablo Prigioni cannot be traded until Dec. 15.

Harden cannot be traded until Jan. 9 because players who renegotiate or extend their contracts aren’t eligible to be traded for six months.

Harden also has a 15 percent trade bonus in his contract but because his salary is the maximum allowed, the bonus would be voided if he were traded this season.

EXTENSION CANDIDATES
Rookie
None

Veteran
None

DEPTH CHART
Starter                                       Bench                         Bench
PG James Harden              Patrick Beverly              Pablo Prigioni
SG Eric Gordon                   K.J. McDaniels
SF Trevor Ariza                    Corey Brewer                 Sam Dekker
PF Ryan Anderson            Michael Beasley           Montrezl Harrell
C Nene                                  Clint Capela               Chinanu Onuaku

Houston has 14 guaranteed contracts with the final roster spot reserved for restricted free agent Donatas Motiejunas.

The Rockets only have the minimum exception to use to sign players, but have Bird rights on Motiejunas.

SNEAK PEEK TO NEXT SUMMER
Even with the big salaries of Harden, Anderson and Gordon, Houston will have cap flexibility next July.

Though Houston will only have $12 million in room, the expiring contracts of Trevor Ariza and Corey Brewer give the Rockets flexibility in free agency.

KEEP AN EYE ON
Clint Capela
Though the Rockets signed Nene in the off-season, the continued development of the former first-round pick will be the focus season.

With a lack of depth in the frontcourt, Capela is coming off a nice season (seven points and 6.4 rebounds in 19.1 minutes per game) and has only begun to scratch the surface of his potential.

Expect the 22-year-old to be a key piece off the bench.

More NBA coverage from The Vertical:

What to Read Next