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Houston Rockets Salary Cap Update: 2021 Post-Draft Edition

Breaking down the Houston Rockets complete salary cap situation as they finish the draft and head towards free agency

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Rafael Stone Houston Rockets general manager

Well, … it’s been a while.

Since my last Salary Cap Update, the Houston Rockets re-structured their team (and mortgaged part of their future) for Russell Westbrook and then – after a one-year failed experiment – blew it all up by trading Westbrook, P.J. Tucker and franchise cornerstone James Harden.

What was left was a hodgepodge of veterans and a few intriguing young players that stumbled to the league’s worst record in 2020-21 (17-55). But with a little lottery luck, the Rockets dodged a potentially disastrous pick swap with the Oklahoma City Thunder and landed the #2 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.

On Thursday night, Houston drafted Jalen Green (#2), Alperen Sengun (#16), Usman Garuba (#23) and Josh Christopher (#24). The whopping FOUR first round picks were largely the product of a series of trades negotiated by Rockets GM Rafael Stone and his front office.

So, with the draft now over, let’s take a look at the Rockets’ cap situation heading into free agency.

Player Salary, Exceptions and Available Cap Room

The Houston Rockets currently have the following player salary commitments, cap holds and salary cap exceptions available for the 2020-21 season (assuming that the league’s current projection of a $112.4 million salary cap is accurate and that the rookies all get 120% of their rookie scale salaries):

Player salary commitments: John Wall ($44.3 million), Eric Gordon (18.2 million), Christian Wood ($13.7 million), Green ($9.0 million), D.J. Augustin ($7.0 million), Danuel House ($3.9 million), Sengun ($3.2 million), Garuba ($2.4 million), Christopher ($2.3 million), Kevin Porter, Jr. ($1.8 million), Khyri Thomas ($1.8 million, non-guaranteed), Jae’Sean Tate ($1.5 million, non-guaranteed), K.J. Martin ($1.5 million, expected to be guaranteed shortly after this publishes) and the long-since-waived Troy Williams ($122,741, like clockwork).

Cap holds: Kelly Olynyk ($18.9 million – Rockets hold full Bird rights), Dante Exum ($18.2 million – Rockets hold full Bird rights), D.J. Wilson (potential restricted free agent; $13.6 million – Rockets hold full Bird rights), Avery Bradley ($5.9 million team option; $11.2 million cap hold if option is not exercised – Rockets hold Early Bird rights), David Nwaba ($1.7 million – Rockets hold Early Bird rights), Sterling Brown ($1.7 million – Rockets only have Non-Bird rights), Armoni Brooks (potential restricted free agent; $1.5 million – coming off a two-way contract) and Anthony Lamb (potential restricted free agent – coming off a two-way contract).

Other Salary Cap Exceptions: If Houston operates over the salary cap this summer (extremely likely), the Rockets will have access to the Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level Exception (NT-MLE, expected to be around $9.5 million, the use of which would impose a hard cap at the “apron” level – currently projected at about $136.6 million). Although it would also impose a hard cap at the apron level, Houston could possibly use the Bi-Annual Exception (BAE, expected to be around $3.7 million), since they did not use it last summer. In the unlikely event that the Rockets use cap room this summer, they could instead have the Room Exception of around $4.9 million at their disposal. Assuming they operate over the salary cap, the Rockets will also have a few traded player exceptions (TPEs) left over from earlier trades, most notably for $8.2 million (from the Victor Oladipo trade) and $5.0 million (left over from the Harden trade).

Given their salary commitments, Bird rights to their free agents and additional cap exceptions available to them, the Rockets should operate over the cap for the 2021-22 season. Barring trades (or cheaping out on the rookie scale contracts), the Rockets could only create around $4 million in cap room in the alternative.

Preliminary Internal Decisions

KJ Martin Ahead of the NBA’s free agent season, Stone and his team will need to address some internal matters.

Most immediately, Houston needs to decide whether to extend qualifying offers to its younger free agents. The largest qualifying offer would go to Wilson, but given the prohibitive amount ($6.4 million), it is unlikely they will give him one. They will still retain his Bird rights, however.

The Rockets can make each of Brooks and Lamb – coming off a two-way contract – a restricted free agent by extending him another two-way contract for next year (with $50,000 guaranteed) as a qualifying offer. Given their relative performances last season, it seems more likely that Brooks would receive a qualifying offer than Lamb.

The Rockets also need to decide whether to fully guarantee Martin’s salary for the coming season. As noted above – and given his terrific play last season – this one is a no-brainer.

Lastly, the Rockets need to decide whether to exercise their team option on Bradley. Given his less-than-stellar play last season, that option will likely go unexercised.

Internal Free Agent Decisions

Houston will have some decisions to make with their own free agents heading into August, including how to prioritize which free agents to bring back.

Kelly Olynyk Kelly Olynyk: Olynyk shocked most Rockets fans when he played at a near All-Star caliber level after arriving in the much-maligned Oladipo trade. He should be one of the more coveted free agent big men this summer. However, in today’s NBA landscape, non-elite big men are not necessarily commanding top-dollar. If a playoff contender isn’t offering Olynyk more than the NT-MLE, Houston may be able to retain him on a short-term (one- or two-year) deal at a premium. Figure something in the $12 million to $16 million range per season, possibly even more.

David Nwaba: In one of his final roster moves as Rockets GM, Daryl Morey (probably with input from Stone) signed a then-injured Nwaba to a two-year deal, likely envisioning the very scenario that the Rockets face now. Because he was signed to a two-year deal, Houston retains Early Bird rights to Nwaba and is able to offer him a multi-year deal in the $10 million per season range. While Nwaba played extremely well for the Rockets before injuries forced him to shut down his season, it is unlikely that he will command that much on the open market. Still, at least one smart GM of a playoff contender should make Nwaba a competitive offer this summer. And given the Rockets’ recent glut of guards/wings, it appears less likely now that Houston will have room on the roster for Nwaba.

Sterling Brown: Brown ended up being a terrific value for the Rockets, playing on a one-year veteran’s minimum deal. He shot the ball well from 3-point range and displayed some ballhandling and defensive skill. However, between the glut of guards on Houston’s roster, the Rockets’ lack of meaningful Bird rights and his obvious appeal to playoff teams as a nice bench addition, it seems likely that Brown will not return. Expect Brown to get offers in excess of the veteran’s minimum.

Avery Bradley: Bradley never found his shooting touch in Houston after coming over in the Oladipo trade. It is highly unlikely his team option will be picked up or that the Rockets will make him a serious offer in free agency. He is expected to latch on with a contender, perhaps on a veteran’s minimum deal or for the BAE.

D.J. Wilson: While not expected to receive a qualifying offer, Wilson did show some flashes of why the Milwaukee Bucks used a first-round pick on him four years ago. Depending on what other roster moves the Rockets make this summer, the door may be open for Wilson to return, albeit likely on a veteran’s minimum deal.

Dante Exum: Much to this author’s chagrin, Exum never played a minute for the Rockets after coming over as salary filler in the Harden trade. Once a highly-touted lottery pick, Exum has been ravaged by injuries in his career and relegated to being a defensive stopper on the perimeter rather than the star he was supposed to be. While he may still have enough intriguing skills to entice the Rockets to want him back, that prospect seems unlikely at this point.

Armoni Brooks and Anthony Lamb: As noted above, Brooks has a chance to receive a qualifying offer, while Lamb probably won’t. Depending on their performance in summer league, one or both could receive a training camp invite in September. Their prospects remain cloudy.

Michael Frazier: Believe it or not, the Rockets still retain Frazier’s free agent rights. Houston had to renounce all their other “old” free agent rights in order to complete the Tucker trade in a cap-favorable manner, but Frazier’s cap hold was negligible and could be kept on the books. That said, don’t expect him to make a triumphant return to Houston.

Sergio Llull Issuf Sanon (a/k/a the Sergio Llull Memorial Draft Rights Held Spot): You didn’t think this author would allow a Salary Cap Update to go by without a Llull reference, did you? While Llull’s draft rights now sit with the New York Knicks, they received the draft rights to Sanon in that same trade. Admittedly, Sanon’s game is fairly unremarkable, so his prospects of being a Houston Rocket are slim.

Outside Free Agents

Unlike in prior offseasons during the Harden Era, Houston is unlikely to be an attractive destination for many of the league’s veteran free agents. With only the NT-MLE to offer, the Rockets won’t be able to afford any of the top free agents, nor will they be able to compete with comparable offers from playoff contenders. Most likely, the best players to agree to sign in Houston would probably be on overpays, something that seems antithetical to the Rockets’ current philosophy.

While it seemed likely a week ago that the Rockets would have at least one frontcourt opening to fill in free agency, the drafting of Sengun and Garuba – both of whom should receive frontcourt minutes next season along with Martin – and the fit of bringing back Olynyk (who is probably better than any outside free agent willing to sign in Houston this summer) now make it less likely that such a signing is needed. But for argument’s sake, the Rockets could possibly have interest in a player like JaMychal Green if he can’t come to terms with the Denver Nuggets on a new deal.

Like in recent years’ past, it may be good practice for the Rockets to hold onto at least a portion of their NT-MLE in order to either play the buyout market or sign a young free agent to a multi-year deal (as they did with Thomas this past season).

This author will leave it to others (or at least won’t cover it here) as to which particular free agents the Rockets will pursue this summer.

The Taxman Won’t Cometh

With the trade of Harden also went any chance of Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta paying any luxury tax for the foreseeable future. Contrary to popular belief, this author is still convinced that Fertitta would have been willing to pay the tax had the Harden-Westbrook pairing been more successful in 2019-20. But alas, it was not and he did not.

Barring any trades or free agent signings, and assuming that Bradley’s option is declined and the rookies get 120% of their rookie scale, the Houston Rockets should have around $25 million in room below the luxury tax threshold to spend next season. (Keep in mind, however, that the Rockets are still limited on what they can offer outside free agents in an outright signing to the NT-MLE amount.) But Houston already has 13 players on its roster, and with two-way players once again allowed to stay with their NBA teams all season, it is quite possible the Rockets will only carry 14 players on their 15-man roster for much of the season. If they re-sign Olynyk, that’s 14 players.

One possible strategy for a team hoping to develop its young core with as many minutes as possible is to keep that 15th roster spot open for future trades, utilizing its TPEs to take on other teams’ unwanted salary for the price of future draft picks.

While this article primarily focuses on the 2021 offseason, there is a chance that the Rockets could open up a massive amount of cap room in the summer of 2023, when Wall and Gordon come off the books. Hence, any dead money taken on in trades this summer should probably not extend beyond 2023. But 2023 plans are a topic for another article.

Conclusion

After blowing up a contender, the Houston Rockets now find themselves picking up the pieces. While they found a few pieces last season and just added up to four more (including Green, the biggest piece of all), there is still much work to do. Armed with cap exceptions, TPEs and a treasure trove of future picks, the Rockets should be able to further bolster their roster in the coming years to create another contender.

Until then, we wait.

Wait, and enjoy the ride.

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Mike D’Antoni: The Rockets isolation offense wasn’t pretty, but it was effective

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Mike D'Antoni Houston Rockets

Former Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni made an appearance on the Thinking Basketball podcast to discuss his career, and he went into his stretch with the Houston Rockets (2016-2020).

One of the big topics discussed was the isolation sets that the Rockets ran often and why they did it.

“If that one-on-one was not efficient, we wouldn’t do it,” said D’Antoni. “But it was doing, if I’m not mistaken, 1.2-something (points per possession) ridiculous. 1.16, for a long time, was the standard of the best offense an NBA team had. We kind of blew that out of the water a little bit (at) 1.20, but our isolation game was like 1.25, 1.24, so it was like — why wouldn’t we isolate?”

The former Rockets coach admitted it was not the most pleasing offense to the eye.

“People don’t like it,” said D’Antoni. “Aesthetically it’s not good. I don’t love it. I would rather pass the ball around. And if I had a team that didn’t have James Harden, guess what? We’d be passing the ball around… It wasn’t pretty. People can complain. But when you have the most efficient offense in NBA history, or close to it, why wouldn’t you do it? Just because you want to look pretty?”

D’Antoni talked about how good the Rockets second units were in the 2017-18 season because of Chris Paul, citing how often the Rockets boosted their lead or turned a deficit into an advantage when they turned to the bench.

“Chris was just a maestro at running our offense, and doing it a little bit (Steve) Nash-like,” said D’Antoni. “Harden had to do it like Harden did it, but both of them were good. Both of them were perfect.”

D’Antoni said part of the reason for the iso sets was he wanted to maximize James Harden and make him “the best player he can possibly be.”

“James is one of the smartest players — and there are a bunch of them — that I ever coached,” said D’Antoni. “I thought probably two or three years there, he had a complete mastery of the game. He went over 50 I don’t know how many times in a row. We were banged up one night and I said, ‘James, you might have to get 50 tonight for us to even have a chance to win.’ He gets 60 and we win. Stuff like that. He was able to do stuff (that)… just a mastery of the game.”

On how close the Rockets were to winning a title, said D’Antoni, “I thought we had it, the third year until Chris went down. Maybe not. Who knows, because Golden State had hearts of champions. Those guys are hard to beat. But I thought we had a good chance at it, that’s for sure.”

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Why Alperen Sengun will come off the bench

With Bruno Fernando expected to start, here’s the plan for the Rockets second-year center

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Alperen Sengun Houston Rockets

When the Rockets traded Christian Wood, it was crystal clear that Alperen Şengün was the new starting center for the Houston Rockets.

As we’re on the cusp of the Rockets 2022-23 season opener, there’s only one problem — he’s not.

Bruno Fernando is expected to get the starting nod at the five for the Rockets, leaving many to wonder why the second-year center out of Turkey is coming off the bench.

There are a couple reasons why.

First, the Rockets are trying to optimize their prospects, putting them each in the best position to succeed. In the case of Sengun, they want to leverage his passing skillset by making him an offensive hub. That’s difficult to do when you have ball-dominant guards in Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr., who thrive out of isolation and are trying to make progress leading pick-and-rolls.

Fernando is a much more limited player, but he fits better right now with the starters because he screens/rolls hard and plays above the rim as an alleyoop threat — it’s been fairly apparent in the preseason how the guards use him. While not a great defender, Fernando also is more of a rim protector than Sengun.

Secondly, Sengun needs to adapt more to the NBA game. The Rockets very much believe in his prospects — he’s only 20 years old — and they still consider him the best five on the roster. But the NBA is a much different game than EuroBasket, which is where he spent more of his offseason focus. The days of just dumping the ball into a post player seem to be dwindling in the NBA. He’s got to get quicker, stronger, tougher — but most important of all, he’s got to shoot the ball better from range.

In a culture where coming off the “bench” is considered a demerit (it shouldn’t be), you have to explain the reasons why — but keep in mind, his minutes will still be significant. I expect he will likely get in the 24-26 range this year, an increase over the 20.7 he got last season. He’s still going to have plenty of opportunity to develop.

My two cents: I give the Rockets props for doing this so early. It’s been apparent to me that the Rockets have multiple players who would be considered secondary playmakers, and to maximize their skills, they need the ball in their hands (imagine if the Rockets drafted Paolo Banchero … grateful every day that Jabari fell to #3!). This hopefully allows for that. Playing Sengun off the bench gives you an opportunity to play a variety of ways and also covers up a current deficiency at backup point guard.

I don’t want to watch Sengun follow the guards around — I want to watch peak Sengun running offensive sets.

Overall, I like it — let’s get the season going.

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Rockets extend Kevin Porter Jr. to incredibly team-friendly deal

What’s being reported as a four-year, $82M extension is actually a one-year, $15.8M extension with full club control

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Kevin Porter Jr. signs Rockets extension

Today was the deadline for the Rockets to extend Kevin Porter Jr. The Rockets have had an offer extended to KPJ for some time and the word behind the scenes was it was likely this day would come and go without a deal.

That changed in a hurry Monday morning.

The Rockets and KPJ agreed on a reported four-year, $82 million extension — at least, that was the initial report.

In truth, the deal is not that at all and is more the spin of an agent. Only the first year of the deal, at just $15.9 million, is guaranteed. The Rockets have until June 30, 2024 to decide if they want to pick up the two following years (2024-25 and 2025-26).

It’s clear KPJ accepted the Rockets longstanding offer because it is one extremely team-friendly deal.

“We value the player and the person that Scoot is becoming and are eager to invest in him and his journey,” said Rockets General Manager Rafael Stone.  “He’s expressed how happy he is to be with this organization and has shown his commitment to putting in the work both on and off the court. We are excited for the opportunity to continue to build something special with him.”

In essence, the structure of this contract fully acknowledges the risks associated with betting on KPJ. It’s not the money you’re giving him — it’s the years. If you give him a long-term deal with fully guaranteed money and things go south, that is an unmovable contract — a cardinal sin to give out when your rebuild is going so phenomenally well after the drafting of Jalen Green and Jabari Smith Jr.

This deal reflects that risk and comes close to eliminating it. The Rockets control all the upside. If KPJ pans out beautifully, they can extend him — it’s 100% their decision. If he doesn’t pan out or the roster/core shifts in an unexpected way — such as being in position to draft Scoot Henderson — KPJ could be a large expiring contract next season.

The Rockets basically signed KPJ to the Sam Hinkie Special (contracts you saw with Chandler Parsons, Jae’Sean Tate and KJ Martin), but with much bigger dollar figures.

For KPJ’s part, there is a small win — he’s gets almost $16 million next season and is signed for this season ($3.2M) and next. He doesn’t have to worry about the finances as much while still staying highly motivated to play well. He didn’t fully bet on himself and take this to restricted free agency, but he did still take a deal that incentivizes him to earn it. But this deal isn’t in the same stratosphere as the ones you saw signed by Tyler Herro and Jordan Poole.

The bottom line: There are risks to signing KPJ that were mitigated by this unique contract structure. If you are a fan of the Rockets remaining flexible as they strive to build a contender, you should be thrilled with this. Big win for Stone and the Houston front office.

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KJ Martin reportedly drawing interest on trade market

Rockets have had “ongoing talks” with Phoenix Suns about the third-year forward

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KJ Martin Houston Rockets

According to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, the Phoenix Suns have had “ongoing talks” about acquiring Rockets forward KJ Martin while Portland and Miami are “two other known teams with interest in Martin.”

There has been talk of trading KJ since before the summer when his father, former NBA All-Star Kenyon Martin, reportedly sought a trade for his son. With the Rockets holding multiple picks in the draft, it appeared the writing was on the wall for reduced minutes for KJ.

Martin has looked like a trusted member of Stephen Silas’ rotation so far in preseason. KJ has played in all three games, averaging 11.0 points and 4.0 rebounds in 26.0 minutes, hitting 5-11 from deep.

At the same time, Jabari Smith Jr. is the future, Jae’Sean Tate seems to be the coaching staff darling and Tari Eason has exploded onto the scene. Minutes for KJ could be available but they will be hard to come by.

If the Rockets are going to trade KJ, what should be the asking price? My feeling is a “good” second-round pick (one that could be expected to be in the 31-42 range) would be the goal. If the Rockets were offered a lottery-protected first-round pick, I think that would be a steal right now for Houston.

What could make more sense is if the Rockets combined KJ Martin with a player like Eric Gordon, especially given the goals of suitors like the Suns, Blazers and Heat.

 

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Jabari Smith steals show in Rockets preseason opener

The Rockets rookie is legit as we take a look at what else stood out in Houston’s preseason rout of the Spurs

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Jabari Smith Jr Houston Rockets

Finally, Rocketball is back — the Rockets destroyed the San Antonio Spurs 134-96 in the preseason opener Sunday night.

Granted, the Spurs look flat out terrible (the top contender for Wembanyama?) and may finish dead last (and it showed), but there were a number of things that played out in this game that should get Houston fans excited.

But before I get into that, I want to give a huge shout out to everyone who supported RocketsWatch Sunday night. We are watching and discussing Rockets games in realtime this season and the debut was overwhelming. There were over 700+ fans watching the game with Roosh Williams and I in what might be the largest online watch party ever for a Rockets game. The live reactions from the fans were priceless!

Let’s talk about what stood out in this game:

Jabari is the real deal

Going into Sunday night’s preseason opener for the Rockets, the biggest question on the minds of fans was simple — how will #3 overall pick Jabari Smith Jr. look in his first NBA action?

The answer is good. Really good.

Jabari threw down a dunk out of the gate and then locked in on high-energy defense on the other end and right away you knew — the Christian Wood Era was over. Jabari’s impact was immediate on both ends of the floor. Smith finished with 21 points on 8-15 shooting, including a blistering 5-8 from deep, to go with eight rebounds in 24 minutes.

Jabari described himself as “a lot more loose” than he was at Summer League, when he struggled to knock down his shots.

“It was easy,” said Jabari. “My teammates made it easy for me, finding me when I was open. The rest just came from knocking down shots, running the floor, trusting the offense and trusting my teammates.”

What most impressed me was how quick of a trigger Jabari had on the catch-and-shoot. He would receive a pass out of the post or a cross-court pass in the corner and would instantly let it fly, shooting easily over his defender’s reach. This trait stood out and was very Klay Thompson-esque. In the second half, Jabari hit a pull-up triple in transition (his fourth) that was very enticing, then absolutely slayed those of us in the RocketsWatch room when he took two long strides back from the free throw line to drain another triple.

At that point, it was official — the rookie was clowning the Spurs. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am that the Rockets drafted Jabari. This man is going to fit like a glove and will be a ridiculous two-way weapon for the Rockets long term.

https://twitter.com/brhoops/status/1576753965730889729?s=20&t=X5YfCfDU5HwynBnvqoicSQ

Defense. They’re actually playing it. It’s true.

I don’t need to repeat that the Rockets were dead last in defense last year, but… the Rockets were dead last in defense last year. Although, maybe I need to turn that frown upside down.

https://twitter.com/FraudeauxNBA/status/1576358215406989312?s=20&t=X5YfCfDU5HwynBnvqoicSQ

Sunday, however, was a different animal and you could tell immediately. The Rockets were hustling, moving quickly on rotations and closeouts.

“It’s the defense, obviously, that we’ve been concentrating on,” said Stephen Silas. “Our help was good tonight. Our multiple efforts were really good… I’m super encouraged by our intensity on the defensive end.”

Jabari was a big part of that. He made some clear mistakes, sure — I’m not going to say he was perfect — but he seemed to set the tone. Still, it’s not just Jabari — it’s clear to me the mindset of this team is in stark contrast to what we’ve seen the past two seasons. Maybe it’s the Jabari Effect or maybe Lionel Hollins is making his presence felt, but this does not look like the 2021-22 Rockets on this side of the ball.

Tari Eason is pretty much plug-and-play

I had my doubts that Tari Eason would get a ton of run in this game, but Silas played him early (note: Jae’Sean Tate sat this game out). Without having any clear plays run for him, Tari fought and scrapped for 21 points and 10 rebounds (six offensive!) in just 21 minutes. He hit 9-13 from the floor.

“My mentality never changes,” said Eason. “I’m always going to be in the right spot, get after it defensively and be one of the hardest playing dudes on the court. I think that translates at any level and I’m just going to continue to do that.”

He plays like his hair is on fire and has tremendous potential as a two-way demon. Throw him out there when things get stagnant and he’s going to make things happen.

I’ve felt that the Rockets will likely bring Tari along slowly until they figure out what the long-term solution is for guys like KJ Martin, but Operation Patience isn’t going to work if he keeps putting up lines like this. You can’t keep him to the bench or send him to the G-League.

Is Bruno Fernando the backup center?

It sure seems that way. After news broke that the Rockets had signed Fernando to a four-year, nearly $11 million deal, Bruno was the first big off the bench, subbing in for Alperen Sengun.

I’ll be honest — this really surprised me. I expected that Usman Garuba would have the clear inside track to the spot. Fernando also seemed like a good bet to be on a two-way contract, but now with this new deal, Fernando is going to be on the 15-man roster and barring a trade, someone has to be cut (Boban? Favors?) that isn’t expected to be.

But Fernando, who sources say has been terrific in camp, showed why he got that contract, finishing 3-3 from the field and was a +18 in just 11 minutes. He was very effective on rolls, capping a pair of alleyoop passes from Kevin Porter Jr. I would be lying if I said I saw this coming, but it’s a welcome development.

Rotation Notes

It’s only one preseason game, but we still can draw a lot from how Silas sees the rotation.

Bruno looking like a good bet for the backup center role was not the only surprise. KJ Martin and Daishen Nix, along with Bruno, were the first subs of the night. That indicates what we expected, that Nix is in the lead for the backup PG spot over TyTy Washington, who I would guess will run the show with the RGV Vipers early on. I like TyTy as the better bet for this spot long term, but right now the job appears to be Nix’s to lose.

But KJ is a little surprising, given he reportedly wanted out this past offseason with the Rockets slated to bring in a couple bigger prospects (Jabari and Tari) at his position.

Garrison Mathews played only five minutes. The prediction many have made that Silas would play him 15+ minutes this year is not looking so hot.

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