JUNE 30TH: Houston has waived Delfino and Brooks, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, taking his cue from Rockets GM Daryl Morey, who bid them farewell via Twitter. The Rockets were reportedly trying to trade both of them before their contracts became guaranteed at the end of today, but apparently found no takers.
JUNE 16TH: The Rockets have told the agents for Carlos Delfino and Aaron Brooks that the team will not pick up the options on their contracts for next season, reports Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. The same is true for Francisco Garcia, as Mark Berman of Fox 26 Houston reported last month that the team will decline his option as well. The result is a savings of $11.908MM that the Rockets plan to put toward their pursuit of a marquee free agent.
Technically, Delfino and Brooks have non-guaranteed contracts for next season that would become fully guaranteed if they're not waived by June 30th, according to ShamSports.com. Essentially, that amounts to a team option on both. Delfino was set to make $3MM and Brooks $2.508MM, while Garcia's team option is worth $6.4MM next season.
The moves could be some of the last under the current phase of the team's roster construction, as Feigen details. If the team signs a big-time free agent this summer, with Dwight Howard as its primary target, it will shift toward an emphasis on veterans. The Rockets would prefer to avoid the luxury tax in coming seasons, but they're willing to go deep into the tax to keep many of their own players who are set to hit free agency in 2015, including Omer Asik, Jeremy Lin, Chandler Parsons and Patrick Beverley.
GM Daryl Morey and company will emphasize to free agents that the team has all of its future first-round picks, after having given up this year's first-rounder, and note that those draft choices can be traded for veterans. They'll also point to the mid-level and bi-annual exceptions the team will have once it goes over the cap as a means to acquire additional veterans.
In the past few seasons, Houston has turned over its roster in pursuit of superstars, but the team appears confident it will soon have a core it can build around for the long haul. The team pursued a similar veterans-first strategy in the early days of Morey's leadership, when Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming were star players.