NBA rumors: Rockets free agent targets revealed, headlined by pair of All-Stars

Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton reacts in the second quarter during game against the New Orleans Pelicans at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton reacts in the second quarter during game against the New Orleans Pelicans at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports /

The Houston Rockets are expected to be major players in NBA Free Agency, but who will they target?

According to Jonathan Feigan, the Rockets’ free-agent targets have been revealed. Houston has around $60 million in cap space this season. The list does include a bunch of younger players, still, the team is looking to add a bunch of win-now players.

Houston is looking to target Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez, Fred VanVleet, Bruce Brown, Cam Johnson (RFA), Jordan Clarkson, Austin Reaves (RFA), Dillon Brooks, Rui Hachimura (RFA) Donte DiVincenzo, Jakob Poeltl.

James Harden and Dwight Powell are the two other options. After hiring Ime Udoka as their head coach, rumors about the Rockets trying to speed up their timeline seem very true. Their roster is extremely young but the team is looking to get back to the playoffs for the first time since the James Harden era.

What are the likelihoods for the Rockets to sign each free agent?

Very quickly, Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura are probably off the table due to the fact that the Lakers will most likely match any offer sheet. Poeltl is in the same boat even though he is an unrestricted free agent due to the fact that the Raptors trade a first-round pick for the player.

DiVincenzo has been heavily connected to the New York Knicks this offseason and it seems like he will end up with the team if they are able to figure out Josh Hart’s contract situation.

Of the options that Fred VanVleet has, it seems like he will not end up with the Rockets. The Raptors would rather keep him as a member of their core. Gary Trent Jr accept his player option with an extension on the way possibly. This could mean that the team could pay extra to keep VanVleet on the roster.

Cam Johnson could be a very interesting option for Houston if they end up offering a lot for the player. The Rockets would have to overpay for Johnson, but he does fit with their team’s timeline. Jordan Clarkson would be a very interesting bench fit for Houston, as well.

Dillon Brooks is another option for Houston due to the fact that he doesn’t have a lot of suitors. Harden’s free agent saga has already been documented and Dwight Powell will most likely be back on the Mavs due to the fact that he can fit well with Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic.

Bruce Brown could end up a Rocket if they are willing to open up their wallets for the player. Brown is coming off a title and is looking to get paid this offseason. He has said that “money isn’t everything” and that he wants to stay in Denver, but a huge contract offer in a no-tax state could be something that removes Brown from a title defense.

Brook Lopez and Khris Middleton are very interesting options for the Rockets. Middleton will most likely get offered a huge offer from the Rockets. The Bucks will likely be offering Middleton the full max, but the fact that Houston is a no-tax state gives them an advantage.

Due to U.S tax law, taxes can end up taking about half of any player’s paycheck. Lopez is the more likely option. He will not get offered a max contract by any team this offseason but the Bucks will offer him a suitable offer in order to keep their aging core together.

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