The Houston Rockets enter this offseason with a lot of cap space (north of $60 million), a new head coach in Ime Udoka, and a need to take some strides forward after three straight seasons near the bottom of the NBA standings.
For months, James Harden returning to Houston has been a topic of conversation, with reports of there being very real interest from both sides in a reunion. Still, Houston needs a lot more than just Harden to vault into the West playoff picture, and they’ll need to add talent throughout the roster to do so. Luckily, they have lots of money to make a splash, but as for who could end up being the recipient of all that money, The Athletic’s Kelly Iko has a long list of names they’re considering.
Former franchise player and current 76ers guard James Harden is the top target for Houston in free agency, according to league sources, representing the veteran leadership and elite point guard needed to establish structure and offensive cohesion. Outside of Harden, other high-ranking targets for Houston include Brook Lopez, Dillon Brooks and restricted free agents Cam Johnson and Austin Reaves, league sources said. They also said acquiring a veteran point guard is Houston’s primary objective, meaning even if a move for Harden didn’t materialize, names like Mike Conley, Jordan Clarkson, Donte DiVincenzo and even former Rockets player Chris Paul could be considered should they become available.
That is a lot of names at just about every possible position, so good luck figuring out what Houston’s actual plan is other than “bring in some better players.” You have bigs, 3-and-D wings, point guards, defensive specialists, and scoring guards all on the list, which makes sense because Houston could use literally everything to make their roster better.
Personally, I don’t think that initial list casts a wide enough net, so here are some other free agents and potential free agents they may just consider:
Gary Trent Jr.
Christian Wood (actually, probably not Christian Wood)
Kelly Oubre Jr.
Lonnie Walker IV
Danuel House Jr.
Dennis Smith Jr.
Troy Brown Jr.
Just to name a few.