The Rockets will stand pat (so far) with only 14 players on the roster. On Saturday, the team went ahead and released power forwards Arsalan Kazemi and center Joshua Smith.
Smith had seemed to be the favorite to stick around based on the health and size of the team. He would have added frontcourt depth and an almost comically big body to the big man rotation.
Maybe the Rockets all along have been telling us that they were only going to keep 14 players. After all, replacing a billboard is super expensive.
In all seriousness, what will happen with the 14th roster spot? There are few different routes the Rockets can go with.
A) Sign the best-waived player from another team.
B) Make a trade for someone.
C) Just keep the roster spot for later.
Honestly speaking, the Rockets aren't very likely to play the 15th player on the roster anyway. Head coach Kevin McHale has mentioned in the preseason he doesn't really feel like going very deep into his bench, players 12-14 (or 15 whenever he gets here) aren't going to see the floor often. Of course, injuries derail everything, it's a big reason guys like Clint Capela and Nick Johnson played minutes last season. If the team had been healthy, they would have spent the entire year in the D-League.
So let's break down the three options.
Who are some good names that have been waived or are going to get waived.
- Josh Powell (Waived by the Bucks) - A best friend of Dwight Howard's, he could be a deep veteran option (or a coach again).
- Perry Jones (Waived by the Celtics) - A young and athletic guy with lots of length.
- Samuel Dalembert (Waived by the Mavericks) - Getting up there in age but is still block shots and dunk, what else do you need?
- Jeff Adrien (Waived by the Pelicans) - Rockets have already tried to go down this road before, he's just too short.
Those are just some of the names, a few teams still have a cut or two to go. Someone to watch out for: Christian Wood who could be whacked by the 76ers. We will see if any names intrigue Daryl Morey.
The latter two options seem more likely for the Rockets, after all what kind of basketball season would it be if Morey doesn't make a trade for someone at some point.
Assets and more assets are what the Rockets have to offer NBA teams across the league. Moving someone to pick up depth in another place is something that could happen. The Rockets have a TON of wing players; moving one for a front-court piece is not out of the question.
The Rockets could also just stand pat. As mentioned earlier, whoever gets the 15th roster spot is NOT going play often unless McHale is forced to use him.
Crazy things happen in the NBA: case in point, Josh Smith was randomly waived by the Pistons last year. Holding that spot open for emergencies isn't out of the question.
I am not a capologist, but I have talked with a few different people. I do believe the Rockets still have the money left for a veteran minimum deal without getting thrust into the HARD CAP. So finding a player later in the season and signing him isn't out of the question. What about kicking the tires on Greg Oden — he's playing in China — if he can prove he can still play?
The point is there is flexibility with the Rockets not keeping Kazemi and Smith. And the one thing Morey loves more than numbers is flexibility.