A source with knowledge of the Rockets’ plans tells Amick that Danny Green, Jeremy Lamb, Al-Farouq Aminu, DeAndre Jordan, Brook Lopez, and Kevon Looney are among the veteran free agents that have piqued the club’s interest.
General manager Daryl Morey has indicated that the Rockets would like to add a third star to complement James Harden and Chris Paul, whose supposedly “unsalvageable” relationship was referred to as “fake news” by P.J. Tucker within Amick’s story. Multiple reports have identified Butler as the team’s most likely target.
However, there are a number of roadblocks standing in the way of acquiring Butler — the Sixers would have to agree to a sign-and-trade, a third team would likely have to be involved due to Base Year Compensation rules, and Houston’s ability to fill out a roster around Harden, Paul, and Butler would be extremely limited due to a hard cap. And, of course, Butler would have to want to go to Houston badly enough to try to make it all work.
If the Rockets strike out on Butler, they’re more likely to simply operate as an over-the-cap team and make use of the mid-level exception to add another rotation player to their core. Depending on the club’s proximity to the tax apron, that mid-level could either be worth about $9.25MM (full) or $5.71MM (taxpayer).
That’s where the free agents listed above would come in to play, though even some of those guys – including Green, Lamb, and Lopez – may be out of reach with the mid-level (especially the taxpayer MLE) unless they’re willing to take a bit of a discount. All the players named by Amick will be unrestricted free agents this summer.