Since signing Dwight Howard to his contract and adding a flurry of wings for the veteran's minimum, the Rockets have taken it easy the past few days, sitting back and wait for the market to develop. Now that Marcus Camby and Mike Miller are free agents, Daryl Morey is back to work, and he has his eyes set on landing both of them.
Camby played for the Rockets in 2012, coming over in a midseason trade and averaging 7 and 9 in part time minutes. Last year, he put on some weight and looked like his age was finally catching up with him, falling out of the rotation in New York before being shipped to Toronto and bought out.
The beauty of landing Camby is that the Rockets really don't need him. At this point in his career, Camby should not be counted on to provide significant minutes, and on the Rockets, he'd be the third center and simply a sage veteran. He can still rebound and block shots, and he could very easily step in for Omer Asik or Dwight Howard should either go down with an injury.
It is important to note that Camby's signing or non-signing should have little bearing on Omer Asik's future. The Rockets might trade Omer Asik, but they damn sure aren't going to base their decision off of whether they signed a 39 year old Marcus Camby to replace. He's purely insurance, and expecting anything more would be unreasonable.
Miller, however, would likely be counted on in a more significant role. The Rockets have been seeking out deals for the last 10 months to find a quality backup for James Harden, and to this point, they've been unsuccessful. Miller, with his sweet stroke from deep, could give the Rockets 15-20 quality minutes a night to space the floor and grab some rebounds.
The only question remaining is are these players willing to come to the Rockets? For Camby, the path to Houston is fairly simple. His agent indicated that the Rockets are the favorites to land him, and he would likely take the veteran's minimum to come to Houston. Camby lives in Houston and has a family, and as he enters the twilight of his career, his location is undoubtedly more important to him. Miami and Chicago are chasing him and have a shot at landing him, but the Rockets seem likely to secure Camby's signature.
Mike Miller's signature might be a bit more difficult to get. The Thunder and Grizzlies both made convincing pitches to Miller with their star players getting in on the action, and those two teams were widely considered the favorites to sign him. Marc Stein, however, is reporting that the Rockets have gotten back in the conversation:
Hearing Houston inching its way up there alongside Grizz/Thunder in Mike Miller hunt. @mconley11: "We're obviously trying everything we can"— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 23, 2013
To sign Miller, the Rockets will likely be forced to use the room exception, an exception available to teams that have used their cap room. Such a deal would likely be a two year pact starting at $2.6 million, allowing Miller something of a payday while preserving the Rockets' flexibility moving forward. And though Miller is less likely, he represents something far more important to the Rockets at a fairly weak position off the bench.
If Camby doesn't sign in Houston, the Rockets still have Omer Asik backing up Dwight Howard. If Miller doesn't, Omri Casspi, Reggie Williams, and Francisco Garcia have to backup James Harden and Chandler Parsons between the three of them. Williams was terrible last year for Charlotte and Casspi is quite the enigma. Counting on those three to backup two positions is a risk I just don't think Morey would be willing to take.
If the Rockets can land either of Camby or Miller, it would also be a boon for the team off the court. Francisco Garcia is the only player 28 or older on the roster, and having a pair of playoff tested veterans who can show the young Rockets how to be successful pros could be very important as this team tries to gel and get off the ground quickly.
Doing so would instant take the Rockets bench and turn it from a genuine concern to possible strength. Make it happen, Daryl.