Rockets Claim Garrison Mathews, Waive Anthony Lamb

The Rockets have made a change to one of their two-way contract slots, waiving forward Anthony Lamb and replacing him with guard Garrison Mathews, reports Kelly Iko of The Athletic (Twitter links). According to Iko, Houston claimed Mathews off waivers and converted his Exhibit 10 contract to a two-way deal.

Mathews, who was on a two-way contract with Washington for each of the past two seasons after going undrafted out of Lipscomb in 2019, emerged as a regular rotation player for Washington in 2020/21, averaging 5.5 PPG in 64 games (16.2 MPG). The 24-year-old shooting guard has displayed a reliable outside shot since entering the NBA, making 38.9% of 244 total three-point attempts.

The Celtics signed Mathews to a training camp contract this offseason and he was a candidate to be converted to a two-way deal in Boston, but he reportedly asked the team not to do so. According to Jared Weiss of The Athletic, Mathews thought it was unlikely he’d be promoted to the Celtics’ standard roster during the season if he were on a two-way deal with the team. There’s a better path to a 15-man roster spot in Houston, where the Rockets will likely try to trade some veterans this season.

As for Lamb, he played in the G League bubble with the Canton Charge and Rio Grande Valley Vipers earlier this year after going undrafted out of Vermont in 2020. His solid showing for Houston’s G League affiliate (the Vipers) earned him a two-way deal with the Rockets in March. He averaged 5.5 PPG and 2.9 RPG in 24 games (17.3 MPG) for Houston, then accepted his two-way qualifying offer this offseason. He’s a candidate to return to the Vipers.

The Rockets also completed another minor transaction, quietly signing and waiving big man Mfiondu Kabengele, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. The sign-and-waive move ensures that Houston can make Kabengele an affiliate player for Rio Grande Valley, assuming he signs a G League contract.

Kabengele, 24, was the 27th overall pick in the 2019 draft, but barely played for the Clippers in his rookie year and had his rookie scale team option for the 2021/22 season turned down. He was traded to the Kings at the 2021 deadline, then caught on with the Cavaliers after being cut by Sacramento. The 6’9″ Canadian played in 16 games for the Cavs down the stretch, averaging 4.3 PPG and 2.9 RPG in 11.6 minutes per contest.

Because Kabengele signed his Exhibit 10 contract with Houston on Sunday and wasn’t cut until Monday, he’ll still be on waivers when the regular season begins. That means the Rockets will take on a small cap hit for a couple days worth of his minimum salary.

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