What to do about the salary cap albatross known as "Brian Cook"?

As of this morning, the Houston Rockets roster looks like this:


Houston Rockets Roster

# Pos. DOB W H College
David Andersen 13 C 6.23.80 245 6-11 None
Trevor Ariza 1 F 6.30.85 210 6-8 U-C-L-A
Brent Barry 17 G 12.31.71 210 6-7 Oregon State
Shane Battier 31 F 9.9.78 220 6-8 Duke
Aaron Brooks - G 1.14.85 161 6-0 Oregon
Chase Budinger 10 F 5.22.88 218 6-7 Arizona
Brian Cook 43 F 12.4.80 250 6-9 Illinois
Joey Dorsey 15 F 12.16.83 268 6-8 Memphis
Chuck Hayes 44 C 6.11.83 238 6-6 Kentucky
Carl Landry 14 C 9.19.83 248 6-9 Purdue
Kyle Lowry 7 G 3.25.86 205 6-0 Villanova
Tracy McGrady 3 G 5.24.79 223 6-8 None
Pops Mensah-Bonsu - F 8.7.83 240 6-10 George Washington
Yao Ming 11 C 9.12.80 310 7-6 None
Luis Scola 4 F 4.30.80 245 6-9 None
Jermaine Taylor 5 G 12.8.86 210 6-4 U-C-F
James White 8 G 10.21.82 200 6-7 Cincinnati


Going line-by-line, we can see that one of these things is not like the other.  David Andersen is new and our "center" for next season (miss ya already, Yao).  Trevor Ariza is not going anywhere after being the big splash signing in our offseason (miss ya already, Crazy Pills).  Brent Barry may or may not be going to the Clippers or some other potential playoff team (miss ya already, Von) - but at least teams are interested in his services. 

Shane Battier is our glue guy, and if a trade involving him hasn't happened yet, it probably won't happen this year.  This is a good thing.  We kinda like Shane here.  Even if he is a Dukie.

Aaron Brooks was mentioned in a lot of trade rumors in June/July, but he remains our starting point guard.  This is a good thing.  Since Ricky Rubio can't be acquired from Barney Fife for a couple years, I'm content to let Aaron continue to develop under the watchful eyes of Daryl Morey and Rick Adelman.  He may be our leading scorer this year, after all.

Chase Budinger is a rookie.  He also likes to party.  Joey Dorsey may have a friend... Chase is also inexpensive and can actually contribute.  In kinda the way we wanted Steve Novak to contribute. 

Joey Dorsey better not be going anywhere.  I need the material.

Chuck Hayes has many fans in his corner.  Most importantly Adelman and Morey.  He may be the shortest starting center in the history of the NBA, but he's amazingly solid for his limited athletic abilities.  He's even slightly improved his awful free throw shooting stroke.

Carl Landry is good enough for me to have bought his jersey.  While I recognize that he's been a rumor of many trades - that just means that other people respect his game, too.  Plus, he is one tough S.O.B. 

Kyle Lowry is one hell of a good backup point guard.  He's a freakin' bulldog on defense and he has a knack for getting to the free throw line.  I know I'm not the only person who has at times advocated for him to be the starting point guard for this team.  He could be that important to our roster.  Thanks, Memphis!

Tracy McGrady.  Uhhh, yeah, I'll just leave this one to Tom.  But I don't expect McGrady to go anywhere until this summer when he can go be some other team's "LeBron backup plan."

Pops Mensah-Bonsu just signed last week.  So it would be highly unlikely that he is just some pawn in Daryl Morey's plan to trade half the team to clear cap space.  I'm not sure Pops is as good as Carl Landry, but he is another big body we can use for defense and rebounding next year.  With the shortage of tall people on the roster, Pops must feel like a giant for the first time since college.

Yao Ming.  F--k.  Let's just move on.

Luis Scola.  Luis Scola is a badass.  He's going to be a 20/10 guy this year and no one outside of Houston will even notice it.  That's how awesome he is.  I also have his jersey and wear it to damn near every game.  If we trade him, I will be rioting.  Consider yourselves warned.

Jermaine Taylor.  Not the boxer, though I do hope our version has "bad intentions" when he takes the ball to the basket.  Another rookie who signed a multi-year deal.  He isn't going anywhere.

James White has a contract, but it is not guaranteed, so there is an ever-increasing chance that he gets released before the season starts.  This will save the Rockets about $1 million and change if they make this decision.  It's not much, but in a luxury tax world, it's money Les Alexander would rather not spend since it looks like White just isn't going to develop into a legit NBA player anytime soon.  Which is sad, because he had many chances.

Who does that leave?

This guy:

I don't even want to show a picture of him in a Rockets jersey.  That's how much of an albatross to our salary cap he is.  Now, granted, there is some part of me that is happy we have Brian Cook on our roster.  I mean, without his contract and hollow shell talent -- Rafer freakin' Alston might still be a Rocket.  Perish the thought.

That said:  Brian Cook is more worthless than Alec Baldwin.  He had the chance to do the honorable thing, fall on his sword and not pick up his player option for 2010.  But nooooooo.... he had to go and pick up the option that will force us to pay him an insane $3.5M ths year.  Do you realize that makes Brian Cook the fifthhighest paid Rocket this year?  And since McGrady and Yao don't really count - Cook is our third highest paid "active" player.  He's making more money than Luis Scola!!!  How messed up is that?!?

The worst part?  I have no idea what to do about this.

No one (not even Memphis) is dumb enough to trade for Cook and his contract.  On the flip side, because Brian Cook is afraid to step inside the three point line - on offense or defense - the fact that he's 6'10" is completely negated.  Hell, Aaron Brooks plays more above the rim than Brian Cook.  That's just sad.  Worst of all, Cook is taking up a roster spot that could belong to Robert Horry.  This fact just pisses me off.  Brian Cook is still in the NBA while Robert Horry is reduced to being on lame reality TV shows with Terrell Owens and Joanna Krupa.  That's just wrong.  Horribly, horribly wrong.

Then again, with Rafer Alston exiled, Tracy McGrady still hanging out in the trainer's room and Luther Head gone and never to be heard from again....... at least Brian Cook gives me a target to pick on on all season.  So I have that going for me, which is nice. 

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