Houston Rockets Primed To Explore The Buyout Market

The Houston Rockets opened two roster spots and some room under the salary cap with their trade deadline moves. With the buyout market approaching, they are primed to land one or two more veteran pieces for their playoff push.

The Houston Rockets landed a major piece in Lou Williams before the trade deadline, but did not stop there. They sent Tyler Ennis to the Los Angeles Lakers for Marcelo Huertas (who they plan to waive per Adrian Wojnarowski).

Houston also shipped K.J. McDaniels to the Brooklyn Nets for cash considerations, per the Nets’ website.

Those two moves cleared some salary for the Rockets. More importantly, they created two open roster spots. The Rockets now have 13 players on their roster and five more days to sign veterans before they become ineligible for their playoff roster.

Now that the trade deadline has passed, teams with veterans on expiring contracts will be looking to buy out those players. Houston is currently the third seed in the West and will be looking for additional help as they enter the playoffs.

As veteran players begin to enter the buyout market, the Rockets are primed to strike.

Andrew Bogut

After being sent to the Philadelphia 76ers as part of the Nerlens Noel trade, Andrew Bogut will be one of the first players to enter the buyout market. The Rockets appear to be one of the teams pursuing his services.

The Rockets should try to keep Bogut in Texas, as he would be a great fit. He rarely looks to score, but will not be relied on to do that for the Rockets. He is a canny passer who grew used to feeding three-point shooters for the Golden State Warriors.

Additionally, he is one of the best screen setters in the league–even if some people question their legality.

On the defensive end, Bogut is still an elite rim protector. Opponents shoot just 52.6 percent against Bogut within six feet of the rim per NBA.com. That number is 9.4 percent lower than what his opponents typically shoot on those looks.

Andrew Bogut will also help the Rockets on the glass. He is averaging 8.3 rebounds per game in 22.4 minutes per game this season. Furthermore, his defensive rebounding rate of 34.3 percent would be fourth in the league if he met the minutes requirement.

That issue with the minutes requirement is indicative of Bogut’s greatest weakness–he simply cannot stay healthy. After playing all 82 games in his rookie year, Bogut has only played 70 or more games twice in 12 seasons.

He will not reach that mark this year either, as he has played only 26 games in 2016-17.

If the Rockets were to acquire Bogut, he would likely come off the bench behind Clint Capela. Although his health concerns are troubling, Houston has the pieces to compensate if he goes down. Despite some potential concerns, Bogut would provide a huge boost to the Rockets.

Other Targets

The other big name on the buyout market is Deron Williams. Although Stein reported that the Rockets are not a candidate for the former Mavs point guard, they might be looking at more under-the-radar buyout candidates.

Former Rocket Terrence Jones will be on the buyout market as well per Justin Verrier. However, the Rockets almost certainly have no interest in re-acquiring him. Beyond that, there may be other players who are waived in the days to come that could pique Houston’s interest.

For now, however, the Houston Rockets will focus on Bogut. They have the flexibility to add another player if the opportunity presents itself. With cap space to spare, they will be a large part of any buyout discussions in the days to come.

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