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Houston Rockets Salary Cap Update: 2013 Training Camp Edition

David Weiner breaks down the Rockets’ new salary cap reality and ways they can still improve the team.



What a difference a year makes.

Chandler Parsons Dwight Howard James Harden and Jeremy Lin

Those two guys in the middle weren’t with the Rockets this time last year

At this time last year, the Houston Rockets sported a young roster long on trade assets but short on star talent.  The marquee name on the roster was the recently-acquired Jeremy Lin (whose track record consisted of a few short weeks of “Lin-sanity” and not much else), and the roster was otherwise headed by the likes of Kevin Martin (scorer extraordinaire and “everything else” not-so-extraordinaire), Chandler Parsons (a solid second round pick with “quality role player” potential) and new starting center Omer Asik (he of the 3.1 point-per-game average the prior season in Chicago).  Add in a slew of young power forwards, including one (Royce White) making news for not showing up to training camp, and the Rockets weren’t exactly looking like playoff contenders, let alone title contenders.

Then, everything changed.

Rockets GM Daryl Morey pulled off a blockbuster trade with Oklahoma City for James Harden (cashing in several of those aforementioned trade assets) and immediately signed Harden to a five-year maximum salary extension (by no means a “no-brainer” to all at the time but an educated gamble on Harden’s upside).  Morey and the Rockets were rewarded for their faith in Harden, as he put together an All-Star season and repeatedly flashed the offensive talents that will keep him in the All-Star Game for years to come.  Parsons continued to exceed expectations and established himself as a young player on the rise with potential to become far more than just a role player.  Asik also surpassed all expectations, averaging a double-double and providing the Rockets’ defense with the anchor it so badly needed.  Lin, after a rough start while trying to recover from off-season knee surgery, gradually improved and played at a high level during the final few months of the season.

Add all that up, and the Rockets–with one superstar already in tow and the salary cap flexibility that Morey and his staff worked so hard to maintain–established themselves as a desirable free agent destination for other star players.

After a recruiting effort the likes of which has never been seen in Houston pro sports history, the Rockets successfully landed Dwight Howard to continue the franchise’s long line of dominant centers.

With the Rockets now sporting two superstars and legitimate title hopes for the first time since those two weeks when both Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming were healthy way back when, let’s take a look at the team’s current salary cap situation.

The Rockets’ Latest Moves
Since my last update, the Rockets have made the following roster moves (which include updated details from my last blog post on July maneuvers):

  • Traded Thomas Robinson to the Portland Trailblazers in exchange for the draft rights to Kostas Papanikolaou (regarded by many as a first round talent) and Marko Todorovic, a 2015 second round pick being the lesser of Minnesota’s or Denver’s, and essentially Portland’s 2017 second round pick.
  • Dumped… er, traded Royce White, the draft rights to Furkan Aldemir and enough cash to cover White’s 2013-14 salary to Sam Hinkie and the Philadelphia 76ers for a 2014 second round pick (not-so-shockingly, that pick is top-55 protected and has pretty much zero chance of amounting to anything).
  • Renounced the rights to free agents Francisco Garcia ($9.15 million cap hold) and Earl Boykins ($884,293 cap hold).
  • Waived James Anderson and Tim Ohlbrecht, both of whom were claimed off waivers by Hinkie and the 76ers.
  • Signed that Howard guy to a four-year, $87.6 million deal with a player option in Year 4.  You may have heard about the signing.
  • With respect to the three remaining incomplete roster charges, Houston used an equivalent amount of room ($490,180) to sign each of Robert Covington, B.J. Young and Jordan Henriquez to three-year contracts, each starting at the rookie minimum.  Covington’s deal is reportedly fully guaranteed in Year 1 and partially guaranteed in Year 2 for $150,000; Young’s deal has a $40,000 partial guarantee in Year 1; and Henriquez’s deal is totally non-guaranteed.
  • Signed 2013 second round draft pick Isaiah Canaan to a three-year deal using every last penny of cap room remaining after the Howard signing.  Canaan’s deal pays him $570,515 in Year 1 (paying the league minimum thereafter), is fully guaranteed in Years 1 and 2, and is 80% guaranteed in Year 3.
  • Signed Omri Casspi to a two-year league minimum deal.  Year 1 is fully guaranteed; Year 2 is non-guaranteed if Casspi is waived by August 5, 2014.
  • Signed Reggie Williams to a two-year league minimum deal.  Year 1 is 50% guaranteed (until January 10, 2014); Year 2 is non-guaranteed if Williams is waived by September 1, 2014.
  • Re-signed Garcia to a two-year, fully guaranteed league minimum deal, with a (gulp!) player option for Year 2.  The player option was presumably to reward Garcia for not demanding that the team use its Room Exception to re-sign him.  The Rockets will have full Bird rights to Garcia after this season if he does not exercise his player option; and, as a player playing on a (potential) one-year deal who could lose his Bird rights if traded, Garcia possesses the right to veto any trade involving him this season.
  • Re-signed Aaron Brooks to a one-year, fully guaranteed league minimum deal.  Brooks will be paid $1,027,424 this season.  However, as a veteran with more than two years of service playing on a one-year deal, the Rockets will only pay Brooks–and he will only count against the cap for–the two-year veteran’s minimum ($884,293).  The NBA will pick up the rest of the tab.  Also, the Rockets will have Early Bird rights to Brooks after this season; and, just like Garcia, Brooks has the right to veto any trade involving him this season.
  • Signed Marcus Camby to a one-year, fully guaranteed league minimum deal.  Camby will be paid $1,399,507 this season.  However, as with Brooks, the Rockets’ payment and cap hit for Camby will only be $884,293, with the league picking up the rest.
  • Signed Ronnie Brewer to a two-year league minimum deal.  Year 1 is partially guaranteed for $100,000, and Year 2 is presumably non-guaranteed (with the guarantee date not yet known).

Salary Commitments and Available Cap Room
(All salaries and contract information courtesy of

The short answer here is that the Rockets do not currently have any remaining cap room this season and are unlikely to have much (if any) cap room this season or next (unless a trade involving either Lin or Asik is made that brings back little to no salary, an unlikely proposition).

Barring any further roster moves (which we will see as players are cut and the team finalizes the 15-man roster), and with the maximum team salary cap set this season at $58.679 million, the Houston Rockets now have nearly $64.8 million in team salary committed for the 2013-14 season: Howard ($20.51 million), Harden ($13.70 million), Lin ($8.37 million cap hit), Asik ($8.37 million cap hit), Terrence Jones ($1.55 million), Donatas Motiejunas ($1.42 million), Garcia ($1,265,977), Brewer ($1,186,459, partially guaranteed), Casspi ($947,907), Williams ($947,907, partially guaranteed), Parsons ($926,250), Camby ($884,293 cap hit), Brooks ($884,293 cap hit), Greg Smith ($884,293, non-guaranteed), Patrick Beverley ($788,872, non-guaranteed), Canaan ($570,515), Covington ($490,180), Young ($490,180, partially guaranteed), Henriquez ($490,180, non-guaranteed), and Tyler Honeycutt (waived – $100,000 partial guarantee).

Note that the Rockets were able to exceed the salary cap to sign Garcia, Brewer, Casspi, Williams, Camby and Brooks, in each case using the Minimum Player Salary Exception.  Remarkably, Morey and company have been able to assemble this roster without dipping into their Room Exception.

The Rockets are well below the luxury tax threshold and should be able to acquire additional salary this season (within the salary cap rules) without fear of the new punitive tax (which now starts at 150% and escalates quickly).

The Room Exception
There is one type of Mid-Level Exception (MLE)–commonly referred to as the Room Exception–available to teams that get below the salary cap and subsequently use most or all of that room.  This salary cap exception rewards those teams able to manage their cap situations effectively.  Under the prior CBA, only teams operating above the cap (and which did not open up any cap room that season) were entitled to use the MLE.

The amount of the Room Exception for the 2013-14 season is $2.652 million; and teams using the Room Exception can sign players to contracts up to two years in length (with a 4.5% raise for Year 2).  Starting on January 10, the MLE (all types) begins to reduce in value by 1/170th (there are 170 days in the NBA regular season).  Unlike the veteran’s minimum salary (which prorates from the beginning of the regular season), the MLE allows a team to provide a disproportionately larger salary to players if signed in the middle of the season.

Given the sheer number of players under contract this summer (19 out of the maximum 20 allowed) and the need to cut down to 15 players by the start of the regular season, it is unlikely that the Rockets will add a player with the Room Exception this month.  However, expect Morey to keep close tabs on the top remaining free agents and any talented players waived or released by their teams during the season.  For instance, if a team fails to dump salary by the February trade deadline and subsequently negotiates a buyout with a solid veteran, the Rockets could use the Room Exception to sign such player on March 1 for a starting salary of $1,887,600 (compared to a prorated amount of less than 28% of the veteran’s minimum salary with teams over the cap and/or seeking to mitigate luxury tax payments).

To play on a contending Rockets club featuring Harden and Howard, almost any of the top available players will have to strongly consider Houston as a destination come February or March.

Cap Consequences Immaterial to Roster Decisions
Due to the Rockets’ aforementioned cap situation (being above the cap, with no expectation of having much cap room through the 2014-15 season), it is not expected that salary cap consequences will play much of a factor in trimming the roster from the current 19 players in camp down to the required 15-man maximum by the start of the regular season.  Other than Howard, Harden, Asik and Lin, Houston has no real cap reason (irrespective of talent) to keep any of its players on the roster over any other.

Daryl Morey

Daryl Morey grins about the Rockets once again being in “WIN NOW” mode

Unlike in years past–such as in 2011, when Jonny Flynn was kept on the roster over Lin and Hasheem Thabeet made the team over Smith–the Rockets will not be hamstrung by the need to preserve/optimize salary cap flexibility in making its roster decisions.  In 2011, the Rockets were primarily motivated to keep Flynn and Thabeet (both of whom had mid- to large-sized expiring salaries) on the roster in order to facilitate–for salary-matching purposes–a major trade for that star player Houston so desperately needed.  (Flynn and Thabeet ended up being packaged at the February 2012 trade deadline for Camby, a valuable rotation piece who helped the Rockets nearly make the playoffs.)

The following is a list of the amounts of guaranteed salary that would be owed to each Rockets player in camp (other than the Howard/Harden/Asik/Lin quartet) if that player were to be cut prior to the start of the regular season:

Garcia – $2,582,786 (including $1,316,809 after this season)

Canaan – $2,144,818 (including $1,574,303 after this season)

Jones – $1,551,840

Motiejunas – $1,422,720

Casspi – $947,907

Parsons – $926,500

Brooks – $884,293

Camby – $884,293

Covington – $640,180 (including $150,000 after this season)

Williams – $473,954

Brewer – $100,000

Young – $40,000

Smith – $0

Beverley – $0

Henriquez – $0

Cutting any of these players would not materially impact the Rockets’ cap situation.  Of these players, only Garcia, Canaan and Covington would even count against the cap beyond this season.  (If the Rockets so elected, the portions of Garcia’s and Covington’s salaries owed after this season could be stretched over 3 seasons, and the portion of Canaan’s salary owed after this season could be stretched over 5 seasons.)  Obviously, there is no way the Rockets would cut a key rotation piece like Parsons or Beverley; but talent aside, there is little financial reason to keep any of these 15 players over any other.

The result of all this is that the Rockets’ front office and coaching staff are liberated, in a sense, in making the roster decisions that will most greatly benefit the organization and the team on the floor, for this season and beyond.

From “rag-tag band of young kids and trade assets” to “title contender with two superstars,” the Houston Rockets have undergone a remarkable transformation over the past year.  What makes this transformation even better is that the Rockets still sport all of their future first round picks, several additional future second round picks from other teams, and the rights to at least two players currently playing overseas (Sergio Llull and Papanikolaou) who could potentially be rotation pieces.  The Rockets also have the ability to offer free agents the full Non-Taxpayer MLE next summer (for up to four years, $22.65 million) if they choose not to wait to use the potentially significant cap room they could have in 2015.

Add it all up, and the Houston Rockets are primed to contend for the next several seasons.

Houston Rockets

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




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




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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Houston Rockets

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




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




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




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.

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.

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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