The Rockets signed Dwight Howard yesterday, and are now beginning to fit the pieces around him. Today, they have reportedly agreed to a two-year agreement with Francisco Garcia to keep him in Rockets red in the coming season.
Marc Stein was the first to report it, with Spears of Y! Sports giving us the details:
Rockets to re-sign their free agent guard Francisco Garcia to a two-year deal paying $2.6 million, a source tell Y! Sports.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 6, 2013
After coming over from Sacramento in the Thomas Robinson-Patrick Patterson deal, Garcia established himself as the team's most consistent shooter, buoying the bench with strong defense and clutch scoring as the season went along. When the playoffs came along and the Rockets decided to go small, Garcia started three out of six games against Oklahoma City and averaged nearly 11 points on 46% shooting from behind the arc.
On a team that now has a centerpiece in the middle in Dwight Howard, bringing in as many shooters as possible is of absolute importance. That's why the Rockets reached out to Mike Dunleavy at the beginning of free agency and had interest in Jose Calderon until the Mavericks gave him $29 million yesterday. And now, playing on the best team he's ever been on, Garcia should have a chance to flourish, getting open shots and leading a bench that will likely still have a number of young players.
Most importantly, the contract maintains the Rockets' flexibility moving forward to continue to improve the roster. As a team under the cap, the Rockets can spend up until they reach the cap and then use an exception known as the "room exception," which allows a team to pay a free agent a salary just below $3 million a year. In signing for the veteran's minimum, Garcia has allowed the Rockets to preserve that exception for another free agent that might demand more money.
With the moves the Rockets have made in recent weeks to clear space for Howard, a once deep bench was looking a little bit thin. Now, the bench's look good with Garcia, Patrick Beverley, and a bastion of young power forwards anchoring it.