Free Agents The Houston Rockets Should Target This Offseason

By Harden's Intellect on May 18, 2016

You'd be hard pressed to find someone who wasn't disappointed in the Rockets' 2016 season. A mixture of average talent and poor effort was a theme apparent in almost every game. In a year with regression all across the board, the general consensus is that it's time to re-tool. Let Dwight Howard walk (assuming he opts out) get that cap space, and go upgrade the roster around Harden. Obviously, upgrading the roster is easier said than done, and without a draft pick, the Rockets will be in a tight spot to make any game changing deals via trade.

However, as mentioned before, the Rockets do have a ton of cap space and there is more room to be creative than ever. This year's free agent class is considered to be weak, but there are plenty of guys that could make more than a notable impact on this team. The trick will be luring these free agents after coming off of a catastrophe of a season. Fortunately, money, the city of Houston, and the opportunity to play alongside James Harden should be enough to gain some interest.

Without further ado, here's a wishlist of the free agents the Rockets should go after

Tier 1: The Ultralight Beam

Kevin Durant

The former teammate of James Harden is one of the 3 best players in the world and his resume speaks for itself. He stands in a class of his own. This a God dream. Getting the all time great scorer would be worth moving the sun and moon for. He'd be a great fit with Harden. Both are elite spot up shooters, and in a theoretical world, could split the ball handling duties. Unfortunately, this is extremely unlikely, as OKC upset the Spurs in the second round, making his re-signing with OKC more likely than ever.

Tier 2: The Robins

Al Horford

While still not quite realistic, but not out of the question, Horford is the ideal fit next to Harden. His playmaking as a roll man and versatility as a big man makes him a top priority this summer. Horford is a quiet guy, and doesn't grab attention quite like Dwight, so you have to believe that he'd be a better personality fit with Harden.

Having two big egos to have to balance in the locker room last year in Dwight and James did a lot more harm than good. Harden loves to give the ball up to his big men when trapped, and Horford slips screens about as well as any big in the league. Watch him expertly read the defense on this possession:

You could plug Horford in at center or power forward.  he'd be extremely capable next to Capela. His versatility separates him from Dwight.

Mike Conley

Conley is the perfect point guard for Harden. He can spilt the ball handling duties, but also can spot up for jumpers extremely effectively as well as gets after it on the defensive end of the floor.

Like Horford, Conley also isn't particularly high maintenance, and likely won't rub Harden the wrong way.

Tier 3: "3&D" wings

Nic Batum

Batum is at the top of this tier. He's above average at everything. He can defend. He can make plays:

He can come off dribble handoffs and shoot like you won't believe:

He's basically as good as it gets for a 3 and D guy. He opens up so much with his ability to shoot off of dribble handoffs. If the defensive big sags down on these, it's trouble. Batum deserves the max, and would be worth every penny. He, along with a good coach, would probably be enough to make this a 52+ win team.

Kent Bazemore

Bazemore is not great at a lot of things, but he's adequate at many things. He has few glaring weaknesses, which is not something that you can say about anyone on the Rockets. Bazemore hustles like you won't believe in transition, which is again something you can't say about anyone on this current roster.

Providing character and good locker room guys is as important as talent, and Bazemore brings everything. He's also quietly a very solid secondary creator.

Watch this nifty move here:

Allen Crabbe

Allen Crabbe is  one of my favorite under the radar players in the league. On offense, he provides exceptional shooting on the move, with a lighting quick release. Sometimes having adequate standstill shooters(Ariza and Beverley) just isn't enough. You need guys that make defenders think twice about helping off of you. Crabbe does that. While his defense isn't good at the moment, his potential on that end his solid. He makes up for his lackluster feet with exceptional hands and exceptional length with his 6'11 wingspan. He also might have the highest ceiling as a scorer in this group. The thought of Crabbe becoming an efficient 18-20 points per game guy is not an implausible one. his shooting heatmap  is a thing to behold:

Look at this beauty,  there's no below average shooting area. He's efficient from every area of the court. Don't be surprised if Morey offers Crabbe close to 15 million a year. There's a lot to like about him.

Courtney Lee

Former Rocket Courtney Lee is quite simply a solid NBA player. He can attack closeouts, he can do a little bit of creation when needed, he shoots well from 3, and he's deadly from mid range.

Those offensive  attributes attributes, along with solid defense, would make him a superior addition to the Rockets. Lee is a safe bet, but also has a low ceiling on this deal.

However, signing Lee alone will not make the Rockets a good team. They would have to sign someone else to go along with him.

Chandler Parsons

Yeah, I know, but he's a great shooter and provides some much needed creativity on offense. The concern is the price and his knees.

Tier 4: The aging Power Forwards

Marvin Williams

Williams provides excellent versatility on offense and defense. His ability to play make and shoot after setting screens complements Harden extremely well.

He's an awesome positional defender, and is by no means a liability despite being undersized at the power forward spot. The issue is, Williams has aged, and likely won't be worth the money by the end of his contract

Ryan Anderson

While past his prime, Ryan Anderson is still a lethal threat as a pick and pop player(1.07 PPP on pick-and-rolls per synergy) and floor spacer. Anderson and his 40+% three point shooting would be a great luxury to have for Harden on offense.

On the other hand, I'm not sure that a team could function with Anderson and Harden on the floor at the same time without elite defenders surrounding them.

He also has injury history, which should give Morey pause.

Tier 5: The good deals

Jeremy Lin, Gerald Henderson, and Solomon Hill all make for very good medium level signings.


  1. Allen Crabbe!
    I was watching the blazers give the warriors some trouble and i couldnt help but notice how allen was the reason for a few long stretches. He evened the score and made bucket after bucket. The writer suggest he has okay defense but i remember his defense to be spot on. Ariza replacement please