The Rockets are willing to give draft-and-stash point guard Sergio Llull a three-year deal worth a total of at least $17MM, according to Javier Maestro of Encestando.es (translation via HoopsHype). Such an offer would add up to the rough equivalent of the non-taxpayer’s mid-level exception. Presumably, the team’s interest in Llull is for next season, since Houston is limited to offering only the minimum salary for the balance of 2014/15. The 27-year-old is under contract with Real Madrid of Spain until 2019, as Mark Porcaro shows on our Draft Rights Held Players database, but apparently there are ways for him to get out of the deal via buyout.
Llull seemed disinterested in playing in the NBA as of a year ago, when Marc Stein of ESPN.com wrote that Houston believed the mainstay of the powerful Spanish national team could become an NBA rotation player. The Rockets acquired Llull’s NBA rights on draft night in 2009, shortly after the Nuggets took him 34th overall. He said two years ago that he was thinking about heading to the NBA at some point but spoke of unfinished business with Real Madrid. He’s averaged 10.5 points, 4.0 assists and 1.0 turnovers in 25.4 minutes per game for the club this season.
The only point guard under contract for the Rockets next year is Pablo Prigioni, who has a partially guaranteed deal, as we noted Wednesday night. Houston has nearly $54.5MM in guaranteed salary for next season, as Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders shows, against a salary cap that’s projected to come in at $67.4MM and an estimated $81MM tax threshold. Patrick Beverley, whose wrist injury has a decent chance of knocking him out for the rest of this season, is set to hit restricted free agency, and the Rockets have long been linked to soon-to-be free agent point guard Goran Dragic.