When the Rockets unveiled their new locker room, seventeen players had lockers. There were nineteen players on the roster. In the last 24 hours, the Rockets announced what had been written on the wall all summer, releasing center Jordan Henriquez and shooting guard BJ Young, a pair of undrafted rookies who had always been been on the outside looking in in a roster crunch.
Henriquez was always going to be a project, and despite a 7' frame, he doesn't project to bring much to the table on either end of the floor at the NBA level. He has poor hands, and because of his lanky frame, he struggles to hold his position in the post. Given that he was sitting behind four different centers who all are upgrades over him in almost aspect, it makes sense that he was always seen as just a camp body.
B.J. Young was seen as more of a talent, but he too was facing a numbers game in camp. The Rockets signed Francisco Garcia, Reggie Williams, and Ronnie Brewer in free agency to backup James Harden, and with the team moving toward a win-now mentality, they will likely count more heavily on veterans than unproven young players.
At the end of the day, the Rockets were likely never going to keep Henriquez or Young, and so cutting them now is a nice courtesy. Now, they'll have another shot to try and catch on at a training camp or with a European or Chinese team.
Now, the real roster crunch begins, as everyone remaining on the roster excluding Greg Smith (who would be a shocking cut) has guaranteed money in their contract. Two down, two to go.