The Houston Rockets have been pretty successful with free agency over the last few summers. They were able to sign Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik away from their teams by being creative with the contracts in 2012. They signed Dwight Howard in the summer of 2013 away from the Los Angeles Lakers. They did a sign-and-trade for Trevor Ariza in the summer of 2014. In 2015, they executed a trade for Ty Lawson, which turned out to be a disaster, but was promising at the time.
So what does Daryl Morey have in store for the summer of 2016? He’ll reportedly target big men Al Horford and Hassan Whiteside. He’ll have stretch-4 extraordinaire Ryan Anderson on his list of guys he’d like to sign. And of course, he’s going to go after the biggest free agent of them all, Kevin Durant. Grabbing any one of those guys this summer will be a pretty big success in a summer in which they’re expected to lose Howard in free agency.
From Calvin Watkins of ESPN:
According to a source the Houston Rockets are looking at the following high-level free agents: Al Horford, Kevin Durant, Hassan Whiteside and Ryan Anderson. The team’s search to upgrading the roster will be wide and not just strictly with these four players.
The Durant pursuit may not be a fruitful venture. There have already been reports that the Rockets won’t be serious contenders for Durant’s services, but James Harden is still trying to recruit one of his best friends. If they don’t get Durant but can pivot to bringing Al Horford aboard, that would be a huge win for the Rockets this summer. Horford is a much better fit for what Houston wants to do than Howard was, and he’s a good defender to help solve that end of the floor.
Whiteside would be an interesting addition to the Rockets, but his personality coupled with the chaos we saw in that locker room last year when they barely made the playoffs could be a powder keg waiting to go off. Unless Mike D’Antoni is able to bring everybody together by creating some career highs in offensive production. Ryan Anderson may be the most realistic option, simply because he’s the lowest profile of those four guys. He’s also a stretch-4 with one of the best 3-point shooting strokes in the NBA, so adding that firepower to D’Antoni’s offense could be pretty enticing for all parties involved.
Courtesy: CBS Sports