3:04pm: The Rockets’ plans have changed, according to Charania, who reports (via Twitter) that – after both sides had further discussions – the team now intends to hang onto Williams. Houston will still have to waive another player before officially signing Johnson. The team continues to work through that decision, per Charania.
10:50am: The Rockets intend to waive second-year swingman Troy Williams in order to clear a roster spot, reports Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Houston will need that roster opening to officially sign Joe Johnson once he clears waivers later today.
Williams, 23, began his NBA career with the Grizzlies last season before being waived a little over a year ago. The former Hoosier finished the 2016/17 campaign with the Rockets, then signed a new three-year contract with Houston during the offseason. However, only the first year of that deal was fully guaranteed, which made him a candidate to be cut this week when the team needed to open up a spot on its roster.
In 34 total NBA games, Williams has averaged 5.6 PPG and 2.1 RPG. He’s expected to receive interest as a free agent, per Charania. Assuming Williams goes unclaimed on waivers, Houston would still owe him the rest of his minimum salary for this season, along with about $614K in guaranteed money for 2018/19, according to Basketball Insiders’ data. The Rockets would have the option of spreading that ’18/19 cap charge across three seasons.
The Rockets carried 14 players on their roster through the trade deadline, but then signed Bobby Brown to a rest-of-season deal after the deadline, having made a commitment to bring him back after waiving him last month. That meant that Houston had to cut Brown and one other player in order to sign newly-bought-out veterans Johnson and Brandan Wright. Gerald Green and Chinanu Onuaku were among the other Rockets whose roster spots appeared to be in danger, but they should be safe now that the team has decided to part ways with Williams.