The Rockets And Money Owed To Waived Players

The Rockets are expected to sign Patrick Beverley soon, and when they do, they'll have to waive someone, since they're at the 15-man roster limit. Everyone on the team has at least a partially guaranteed contract, so the Rockets will be on the hook for money to another guy who won't be playing for them the rest of this year. That will be on top of seven other players they've already let go despite guaranteed money on their contracts. Houston paid three players after releasing them last year, but this year they're obligated to a much larger group of ex-Rockets.

Because of the set-off provision, which I explain on a case-by-case basis below, they won't have to dole out quite as much money as the guarantees stipulate, but they're still racking up quite a bill. Of course, they have plenty of flexibility to do so, since their payroll is only about $51MM, well below the cap. Here are all seven players who are no longer Rockets but still receiving money from the team, with their salary from Houston in parentheses.

  • Daequan Cook ($3,090,942) — He was waived January 2nd, on the 65th day of the 170-day season, so he was due $1,181,380 for the rest of the season. However, a portion of that would be set off by his new salary with the Bulls once he officially signs with Chicago, as expected. Per the set-off rules, the Rockets would deduct one half the difference between his new salary and $762,195 from their deal with Cook. However, since Cook is likely to sign for the prorated minimum salary, there won't be enough money for set-off, since his Bulls salary will be less than $762,195. 
  • Gary Forbes ($1,500,000) —Waived October 29th. He signed in November with a Chinese team, and last night we heard he's moved on to a team in Puerto Rico. His salaries overseas aren't known, but if they're more than $762,195, they count toward the set-off provision, too — set-off applies if a player signs any professional basketball contract, whether it's in the NBA or another league. So the Rockets could be on the hook for less than $1.5MM.
  • Lazar Hayward ($1,174,080) — Waived October 29th. He signed with the Wolves on December 31st, but since he's likely to be placed on waivers by Monday so his minimum-salary contract isn't guaranteed for the rest of the season, his take from Minnesota will likely be too small for the Rockets to recoup any set-off, unless Hayward catches on somewhere else this season.
  • JaJuan Johnson ($1,089,240) — Waived October 29th. He signed to play in the D-League, but his salary is likely too small for the Rockets to take back any money through set-off.
  • Jon Brockman ($1,000,000) — Waived October 29th. The Rockets likely take back a set-off based on his salary in France, where he signed to play in November.
  • Shaun Livingston ($1,000,000) — Waived October 29th. His contract was originally for $3.5MM, but only $1MM was guaranteed. He signed with the Wizards on November 15th, and the Cavs inherited his minimum-salary contract when they claimed him off waivers from Washington on Christmas. If the Cavs keep him past Monday, the Rockets take back $138,126, based on his prorated seven-year veteran's minimum salary of $1,038,446.
  • E'Twaun Moore ($381,098) — Waived July 25th. He was originally due the one-year veteran's minimum of $762,195, but his deal was only 50% guaranteed. He signed a minimum-salary deal with the Magic on September 6th, but the Rockets won't take any set-off, since the difference between his salary with the Magic and $762,195 is zero.

Derek Fisher is frequently listed as being in line for $644,005 from the Rockets this year. It's not entirely clear whether Fisher receives this money or not. The Rockets bought him out March 18th, but Marc Stein of reported that the buyout occurred before Fisher had exercised his player option for 2012/13. That made him eligible to sign with the Lakers this season, but it also presumably means he'd have been off Houston's books by the end of last season. In any case, the small prorated minimum-salary amount of money he received from the Mavericks this season is not enough to trigger set-off.

The Rockets also continue to pay Luis Scola, whom they waived via the amnesty provision this summer. Because they amnestied him, the money they owe Scola doesn't count against the salary cap, and since the Suns claimed him with a partial bid, the Rockets aren't obligated to pay off the entirety of Scola's contract. Houston is paying Scola $17,148,353 from this season through 2015, while the Suns are picking up the other $13,525,513 on his deal.

ShamSports was used in the creation of this post.

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