There’s been a lot out there in recent days about the Houston Rockets and estranged wing Danuel House Jr. He was playing some solid basketball in H-town, averaging 9 points and 3.6 boards on 46 percent shooting from the field and 39 percent from deep in 25 games before he elected to decline the Rockets’ 3-year, $4.2 million offer and head back down the the G-League.
He really seemed to fit from a chemistry perspective, so it may seem strange that neither side has made any major overtures to find some common ground. After all, Houston star guard James Harden spoke highly of House to the press just this past weekend, saying:
“They’ll figure that out. That’s out of my control. We know how important Danuel is. We know how good he is, especially for our team, so I’m sure they’ll [figure] something out.”
But according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, both sides are pretty “dug in” at the moment. Representatives for House want Houston to simply convert his two-way contract for the remainder of the year. However, according to Feigen, the Rockets are:
“...not wanting to work on developing a player just to help his stock as a free agent that would leave, or to set that precedent with future players on two-way contracts.”
So for now, House is still playing on his two-way deal, and is back in action playing for the Rio Grande Valley G-League affiliate, where he had 24 points, 7 assists, and 4 rebounds last week in his first game back with the Vipers.
There are those out there, according to Feigen, who feel that House may be anticipating a big offer in restricted free agency this summer, which would explain his willingness to take less money in the G-League over $4.2 million guaranteed in the big leagues. The Rockets initially offered an un-guaranteed deal, but upped it to fully guaranteed when House’s team balked at their initial offer.
Still, it could be that the Rockets are just biding their time. The team does only have 12 players on the roster at the moment (two-way deals do not count), and they need to be at a league-minimum 14 NBA salaries within two weeks. And with the Rockets apparently concerned this season with staying under the luxury tax threshold, The Athletics’s Kelly Iko laid out two options for bringing House back into the fold while still following the NBA rules on 14 contracts (subscription required).
Both scenarios allow the Rockets to stay under the luxury tax and include Clint Capela’s potential bonuses, also leaving room for a buyout acquisition like Markieff Morris. Scenario one, according to Iko, is for the Rockets to:
“...sign two 10-days on February 20, then sign Morris on March 4 to a rest-of-season contract. They could then sign another 10-day two weeks after the first two expired — on March 14 — then two weeks after that expires, sign House to a rest-of-season contract,”
Scenario two is:
“...sign two 10-days, then wait two more weeks, sign two more 10-days, then sign Morris and House two weeks after that (on April 5) for the rest of the season.”
Morris would have to be bought out before March 1 in order to be playoff eligible, but agree not to sign with Houston for the remainder of the year until March 4 (scenario one) or April 5 (scenario two) in order to fit contract-wise.
A third option for House also exists. The Rockets could wait until the G-League season ends on March 23 and then bring House back on his current two-way deal. The two-way clock ends when the G-League season does, much how it didn’t start at the beginning of the year with Gary Clark until the G-League season officially kicked off on November 2. The Rockets would then have to convert House before season’s end if they wanted him for the playoffs, otherwise he would not be playoff eligible.
So if you’ve been following along, the only way the Rockets can bring House back in any of these scenarios and still remain under the luxury tax and still be able to sign someone like Morris is to wait.
It’s also technically possible the Rockets don’t bring House back at all. The newly acquired Iman Shumpert brings a lot of the same traits as House, and if he can find his three-point stroke as he gets more comfortable, his presence could make House redundant, especially if House’s side is serious about playing hardball as Feigen suggests. It also depends on how robust the buyout market becomes as we inch closer to the end of the season. Might the Rockets find something better? We’re just going to have to wait and see.
Will the Rockets bring Danuel House back before the end of the year?
This poll is closed
I hope so, but I have no idea