At this time of year, most players who sign contracts with the NBA teams will settle for non-guaranteed or partially-guaranteed deals, unless they’re notable free agents like J.R. Smith or Donatas Motiejunas, who simply haven’t reached common ground with their current teams yet. However, according to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link), undrafted free agent Gary Payton II got a fully guaranteed salary from the Rockets on his new deal with the team.
Payton’s contract is believed to be for two years, and it’s not clear whether both years are guaranteed or just his 2016/17 salary. Either way, it gives the Rockets a 15th guaranteed salary for this season, even before taking into account Motiejunas, who remains a restricted free agent and is expected to return to the Rockets eventually.
Of course, Payton’s guaranteed salary doesn’t preclude the team from re-signing Motiejunas. But if that happens, it will leave the club with 16 fully guaranteed players, with at least one of them needing to be traded or waived before the regular season gets underway. That should make training camp and the preseason more interesting in Houston, even for players whose roster spots had appeared reasonably secure.
More on the Rockets:
- In a follow-up tweet, Pincus notes that Kyle Wiltjer, another undrafted rookie who was signed along with Payton, got a “nice partial guarantee” on his contract. The Rockets may have included that partial guarantee in order to convince Wiltjer to accept an assignment to the D-League if and when he’s cut by Houston.
- As expected, Bobby Brown‘s deal with the Rockets is a non-guaranteed summer contract, tweets Pincus.
- Head coach Mike D’Antoni has been impressed by recently acquired point guard Tyler Ennis, suggesting he’s “expecting good things out of him,” per Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Houston acquired Ennis from the Bucks last week in exchange for Michael Beasley.