2019 NBA Offseason Salary Cap Digest: Houston Rockets

After an early-season slump that was widely attributed to the loss of key role players during the 2018 offseason, the Rockets bounced back in a big way, adding new contributors to the rotation and roaring into the postseason with a ton of momentum. For a second straight year, however, Houston saw its momentum halted in the playoffs by the Warriors, sending Daryl Morey and the front office back to the drawing board.

Here’s where things currently stand for the Rockets financially, as we continue our Offseason Salary Cap Digest series for 2019:

Guaranteed Salary

Player Options

  • Nene ($3,825,360)
  • Total: $3,825,360

Team Options

  • None

Non-Guaranteed Salary

Restricted Free Agents

Unrestricted Free Agents / Other Cap Holds

Projected Salary Cap: $109,000,000
Projected Tax Line: $132,000,000

Offseason Cap Outlook

  • Realistic cap room projection: $0
  • The Rockets won’t be in position to create cap room this summer. They’re more likely to end up over the tax line rather than below the cap, unless they fill out the back half of their roster on the cheap.

Cap Exceptions Available

  • Trade exception: $1,544,951 (expires 8/2/19)
  • Trade exception: $2,584,136 (expires 9/2/19)
  • Trade exception: $955,172 (expires 1/7/20)
  • Trade exception: $1,512,601 (expires 1/22/20)
  • Trade exception: $3,620,016 (expires 2/7/20)
  • Trade exception: $3,206,160 (expires 2/7/20)
  • Trade exception: $1,621,415 (expires 2/7/20)
  • Trade exception: $1,544,951 (expires 2/7/20)
  • Trade exception: $1,512,601 (expires 2/7/20)
  • Taxpayer mid-level exception: $5,711,000 5


  1. This is a projected value.
  2. Hartenstein’s salary becomes fully guaranteed after July 15.
  3. The salaries for two-way players don’t count against a team’s cap, but their cap holds do during the offseason.
  4. The cap holds for Black, Johnson, and Brown remain on the Rockets’ books because they haven’t been renounced after going unsigned in 2018/19. They can’t be used in a sign-and-trade deal.
  5. This is a projected value. If the Rockets stay below the tax apron, they’d instead have access to the full mid-level exception ($9,246,000) and the bi-annual exception ($3,619,000).

Note: Minimum-salary and rookie-scale cap holds are estimates based on salary cap projections and could increase or decrease depending on where the cap lands.

Salary information from Basketball Insiders and RealGM was used in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

newest oldest

9 thoughts on “2019 NBA Offseason Salary Cap Digest: Houston Rockets

  1. Senioreditor

    3 more seasons of CP3 costing 120 million? Yikes! That’s not a recipe for success IMO.

  2. rxbrgr

    Isn’t Clark’s salary fully guaranteed? I know it was a tricky guarantee calculation, but I thought it had triggered to a full guarantee.

    • Luke Adams

      According to Bobby Marks, it’s not: link to espn.com

      I think the confusion stems from the fact that he apparently needed to play in 36+ games AFTER the deal was converted to lock in the guarantee, rather than 36+ games overall.

  3. InvalidUserID

    So basically they’re screwed for a while. But remember: they’re built to beat the Warriors!!!

  4. Archie M.

    With how this latest playoffs turned out for these 2 teams and without me going to lengthy detailed explanation, a win-win trade for these 2 teams would be CP3 & Capela for Kyrie (sign & trade) plus Horford plus a 1st round pick this 2019.

    • Luke Adams

      Two-way players have to spend at least 15 days on their team’s NBA roster to be eligible for a QO. I’m kind of flying by the seat of my pants with a lot of the two-way guys since the transfer data for them has been much harder to track than assignments/recalls, so I can’t guarantee that all of my classifications are right. But my understanding is that Duval didn’t reach that 15-day threshold.

Leave a Reply