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Rockets Strike Out on Buyout Market

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Houston cleared cap space at the trade deadline which now seems unusable.

NBA: Houston Rockets at Dallas Mavericks Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Rockets struck gold when they landed three point bomber Lou Williams from the Los Angeles Lakers with a few days of NBA dealing left to do. Williams is averaging 24 points a game while shooting 50% from three. The addition seems perfect with Mike D’Antoni declaring the Rockets should average 50 three point attempts a game.

Morey wasn’t done dealing after acquiring Williams. The Rockets then sent K.J. McDaniels to the Brooklyn Nets for cash and shipped Tyler Ennis to the Lakers for Marcelo Huertas. After waiving Huertas the two moves brought the Rockets $3.4 million under the salary cap.

The Williams signing makes sense right now. The round-bounce-ball man is throwing half of his three point scores through the basketball ring. Anyone with a passing knowledge of basketball who is willing to desperately pander to people who like basketball can see the value of Williams.

On the other page, even the best Rockets fans can’t see the value of the cap space yet. Morey is well known for having the longest view in the room. The short term expectation is that the cap room will be used to sign a player bought out of his contract with another team.

But... Andrew Bogut is signing with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Deron Williams is signing with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Brandon Jennings is signing with the Washington Wizards. Jose Calderon is signing with the Golden State Warriors. See all the rumors here

This leaves the conversation of veteran candidates to Matt Barnes, Jared Sullinger and former Rockets Terrence Jones and Luis Scola. Not a single player that would move the needle for the Rockets in the 2017 playoffs is available.

A morose analysis of the cap space would see the Rockets trading young players K.J. McDaniels and Tyler Ennis along with some cash solely for the ability to sign Matt Barnes or Terrence Jones. Not exactly a sequence to write home about.

There’s likely more at play. A long view of the deals and cap space give Morey more flexibility going into the draft. Having cap space will allow him to absorb the bad contracts required to get a desirable draft pick from a team in a bind or allow Morey to sneak his way into a three or four team trade as a broker.

Only time will tell if the cap space is meant to bolster the Rockets playoff run or help them acquire offseason assets.