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Rockets to sign James Nunnally to 10-day contract

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After failing to reach an agreement with Danuel House, the Rockets have reportedly scooped up 28 year-old sharpshooter James Nunnally.

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves-Media Day Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

According to a report from The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the Rockets plan to sign free agent forward James Nunnally to a 10-day contract.

Nunnally began this season with the Minnesota Timberwolves, averaging 2.1 points per game in limited court time. Prior to 2018-19 season, Nunnally’s had a few cups of coffee with the Atlanta Hawks and Philadelphia 76ers in 2013-14, never appearing in more than nine games for either club.

Nunnally has spent most of his career in European leagues, most recently spending two seasons with the historic Turkish club Fenerbahce. In the 2017-18, Nunnally averaged 9.3 points on a scorching 55 percent from behind the three-point line. Nunnally reportedly left a lot of money on the table from European teams to sign with the Rockets, suggesting he could earn a full roster spot should his shooting translate.

The Nunnally news comes in the wake of the Rockets failing to reach an agreement with Danuel House, as his two-way contract’s 45 days of NBA service expired, forcing them to send him down to the G-League to keep him under team control.

The Rockets reportedly offered House a three-year non-guaranteed minimum deal (one year short of what is referred to as the “Hinkie Special”) before upping their offer to a three-year guaranteed minimum deal, which House and his agent, Raymond Brothers, ultimately declined as well.

Brothers has been adamant that the Rockets convert his two-way contract to an NBA minimum deal for the remainder of the season so he can become a restricted free agent this summer and cash in on his recent success (10.6 points on 48.1 percent 3-point shooting in his 12 games as a starter).

Should the Rockets do as House wishes, they would likely be unable to retain him this summer, as they wouldn’t have his Bird Rights. This means they can only offer him 120 percent of his minimum salary unless they dip into their mid-level exception, which they presumably would like to use to sign or retain a player of a higher caliber such as Austin Rivers.

This is a bold play for House, as when the Rockets waived him to clear a roster spot to upgrade Gary Clark to an NBA deal, every NBA team could have claimed him, but no one bit. There’s almost certainly greater interest around the league now, but it’s hard to believe he’d turn down three years of guaranteed money after spending the last 2 seasons trying to break into the league.

For now, House will return to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, where he began this season, until one side blinks. If the Rockets start to miss House at any point, they have the power to convert his two-way to an NBA deal for the remainder of the season, acquiescing to his wishes and making him a restricted free agent this summer.

After going undrafted in 2016, House played a total of 24 NBA games with the Washington Wizards and Phoenix Suns before this season.

At this point, House can only hope the return of Eric Gordon and the addition of Nunnally don’t make him expendable.