Though free agent point guard Marcus Banks was set to sign a five-year deal with the Phoenix Suns Wednesday, the Rockets had already turned to a past second round pick to help shore up their backcourt.
No longer will fans have to ask when Vassilis Spanoulis will be coming over -- that time is now. The Rockets have agreed to terms with the Greek guard on a three-year deal worth between $5-6 million.
(NOTE: Major props to Amel of the Clutch BBS. Amel had posted on Monday that the Rockets had extended a 3-year offer worth $6 million to Spanoulis. It was right on the money.)
The Rockets had acquired the rights to Spanoulis on draft night 2004. Houston swapped picks with the Dallas Mavericks, who took the Greek guard with the 50th overall pick with the Rockets taking Luis Flores at #55.
The 6-foot-4 Spanoulis progressed faster than the Rockets expected. He was bumped up from Maroussi to the Greek powerhouse squad of Panathinaikos in the Euroleague, and in 2005-06 he put up 14.5 points on nearly 54% shooting, 3.1 assists and 1.4 steals. He also hit 78% from the stripe and 36.7% from long range.
He's an aggressive guard who likes to drive and go to the hole. Back in January, Rockets VP Dennis Lindsey likened his style of play to that of a fullback in football.
I like this move as I think Spanoulis could possibly provide a balance at the position as he's able to do some things that Rafer Alston can't (and vice versa). It remains to be seen if the Rockets have true NBA players in Spanoulis and Kirk Snyder, but their last two additions certainly make this squad younger.
If Mike James joins the Rockets does this happen? Even though we were hoping for it, I'm not so sure -- I think Spanoulis may stay in Greece for one more year of seasoning in that event.
Right now it looks like the Rockets will enter the season with Alston, Spanoulis and possibly John Lucas III manning the point. One source has told me for weeks that Jeff Van Gundy is not a big Spanoulis fan and can't figure out why Rockets brass is, so the "one" is going to be an interesting position to watch this year.