Rockets Rumors

Rockets To Re-Sign Jae’Sean Tate To Three-Year Deal

The Rockets have reached an agreement to re-sign forward Jae’Sean Tate to a three-year contract, agents E.J. Kusnyer and Jordan Cornish tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Tate’s new deal will be worth $22.1MM.

Houston made the unusual decision to turn down Tate’s minimum-salary team option for 2022/23 this week, despite the fact that he still would have been a restricted free agent a year from now if that option had been exercised.

The move signaled that the Rockets were confident in their ability to lock up Tate to a new multiyear deal — tonight’s news confirms it.

The former Ohio State standout began his professional career overseas in Antwerp in 2018 after going undrafted, then joined the Sydney Kings in 2019 before eventually making his way to Houston in 2020.

While Tate’s three-point shot (31.0%) could use some work, he has showed an impressive ability to score (11.6 PPG on 50.1% shooting), rebound (5.4 RPG), set up teammates (2.8 APG), and defend during his two years with the Rockets and appears to have a place in the club’s plans going forward.

Free Agent Rumors: Brunson, Oladipo, Ingles, Rockets

Jalen Brunson appears ready to leave the Mavericks and sign with the Knicks for a reported $110MM over four years, but money may not be the only factor, writes Tim Cato of The Athletic. Sources tell Cato that Brunson might not be willing to re-sign with the Mavs even if they agree to match New York’s offer, which has led to pessimism in Dallas about keeping the 25-year-old guard.

Cato adds that as of Tuesday, there’s no indication that the Mavericks are considering making a larger offer to Brunson.

In the same story, Cato examines Dallas’ system for evaluating how much players are worth and explains why the team decided not to offer Brunson a four-year, $55MM extension last summer.

There’s more on the free agent market:

  • The Kings are expected to be one of the teams reaching out to Victor Oladipo, according to Ian Begley of Injuries limited Oladipo to eight games during the regular season, but he was part of the rotation during the Heat’s playoff run. Oladipo is looking for a starting position and a salary in the $10MM range, tweets John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7.
  • The Grizzlies are interested in Joe Ingles, Begley adds in the same piece. Ingles is rehabbing after his season was ended by a torn ACL in late January.
  • Rumors have linked the Rockets to several centers in free agency, but Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle isn’t convinced that it’s a position of need. Second-year center Alperen Sengun is projected to be the starter and the team plans to use a small-ball approach, with no traditional center, for eight to 10 minutes per game. Feigen notes that the Rockets want to be careful with their cap space beyond this season and suggests they may not make a large offer to a free agent this year.

QO Decisions: Nwora, T. Brown, Rockets, Moon, More

The Bucks have tendered a qualifying offer to Jordan Nwora, making the 23-year-old a restricted free agent, a league source tells Eric Nehm of The Athletic (Twitter link). Nwora’s QO for 2022/23 is worth a projected $2,036,090.

The 45th pick of the 2020 draft, Nwora saw his role expand in his second season with Milwaukee, appearing in 63 games (19.1 MPG) with averages of 7.9 PPG and 3.6 RPG on .403/.348/.837 shooting. He’s No. 43 on our list of top 50 free agents.

Let’s round-up some more qualifying offer decisions…

  • The Bulls won’t extend a QO to Troy Brown ($7,228,448), making him an unrestricted free agent, reports Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (via Twitter). Brown, who turns 23 on July 28, was the 15th pick of the 2018 draft but didn’t leave much of an impression with Chicago, averaging 4.3 PPG and 3.1 RPG on .419/.353/.769 shooting in 66 games (16 MPG) in ’21/22.
  • The Rockets aren’t giving qualifying offers to either Bruno Fernando ($2,228,276) or Anthony Lamb (two-way), according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Fernando, the 34th pick of the 2019 draft, has seen scant NBA minutes, appearing in 119 contests with an average of 9.2 MPG over his three seasons with Atlanta, Houston and Boston. His QO was worth more than the minimum and the Rockets have lots of players already under contract next season after sending Christian Wood to Dallas for the No. 26 pick and four veterans.
  • Xavier Moon (two-way) won’t receive a qualifying offer from the Clippers, as Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times relays (via Twitter). Moon will be an unrestricted free agent after reaching the NBA as a 27-year-old rookie last season. He has plenty of international experience, having made stops in France, England, Israel and Canada before earning three 10-day hardship deals and later a two-way contract with L.A. in ’21/22.
  • A couple of two-way players received QOs from their respective clubs, sources tell Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter links). Nathan Knight received his offer from the Timberwolves, while the Magic extended a QO to Admiral Schofield. Both players will be restricted free agents.

Lonnie Walker, Anfernee Simons Get QOs; Kevin Knox Doesn’t

The Spurs have issued a qualifying offer to guard Lonnie Walker, making him a restricted free agent, according to Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News (Twitter link). The qualifying offer will be worth $6,311,564.

Unlike some of this summer’s top restricted free agents, Walker wasn’t a lock to receive that qualifying offer, given the up-and-down season the 23-year-old had in 2021/22. He averaged a career-high 12.1 PPG and 2.2 APG, but saw his shooting percentages dip to 40.7% from the floor and 31.4% on threes, well below his career rates. Furthermore, a report earlier today stated that Walker was unlikely to remain in San Antonio.

By issuing the qualifying offer, the Spurs are at least opening up a path for Walker to return, either by accepting the one-year QO or by negotiating a new deal with the team. However, McDonald says there’s an expectation that Walker will “fully” test the market.

Spurs swingman Joe Wieskamp also received a qualifying offer, making him a restricted free agent, tweets McDonald. Because Wieskamp was promoted from his two-way deal to a standard contract last season, his qualifying offer will be worth approximately $1.8MM ($200K more than his minimum salary).

Here are a few more qualifying offer updates from around the NBA:

  • The Trail Blazers have formally issued a qualifying offer to guard Anfernee Simons, making him a restricted free agent, the team announced in a press release. Simons’ QO is worth $5,758,552, but the 23-year-old is expected to negotiate a far more lucrative long-term deal. Multiple reports have suggested a four-year contract worth in the neighborhood of $80MM is possible.
  • Hawks forward Kevin Knox isn’t getting a qualifying offer and will become an unrestricted free agent, tweets Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. Knox didn’t get regular minutes last season and his qualifying offer would have been worth $7,228,448, so it comes as no surprise that Atlanta is passing.
  • The Warriors aren’t giving qualifying offers to either Juan Toscano-Anderson ($2,126,991) or Chris Chiozza ($1,968,175), according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter link). Both players will be unrestricted free agents and are unlikely to remain in Golden State, Slater adds.
  • The Celtics have tendered a two-way qualifying offer to guard Brodric Thomas, making him a restricted free agent, a source tells our JD Shaw (Twitter link). Boston hasn’t reached a deal to fill either of its two-way slots for next season yet, so Thomas could end up taking one of them.
  • Two-way players Jay Scrubb (Clippers) and Trevelin Queen (Rockets) won’t receive qualifying offers and will become unrestricted free agents, according to reports from Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times and Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter links). Queen, the 2021/22 NBA G League MVP, is expected to receive interest on the open market, per Haynes.

Rockets Decline Jae’Sean Tate’s Option, Issue QO

JUNE 29: The Rockets have declined their option on Tate and issued him a qualifying offer, making him a restricted free agent, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

It’s an unexpected move, given that Tate would have been extension-eligible if Houston had picked up his option and would still have been on track for restricted free agency in 2023 if the two sides hadn’t agreed to a new deal.

Presumably, the decision signals the Rockets are confident they’ll be able to lock up Tate to a new multiyear contract on terms they like. Charania says the two sides have “mutual interest” in reaching an agreement.

JUNE 25: As anticipated, the Rockets are picking up the option on Jae’Sean Tate‘s contract for next season, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.

Tate will earn $1,782,621 next season, according to Spotrac.

It was a mere formality that Houston would exercise that option on a rotation player. Tate started 77 of 78 games in which he appeared last season, averaging 11.8 PPG, 5.4 RPG and 2.8 APG.

Tate will now be a restricted free agent next summer.


Free Agent Rumors: Ayton, Batum, Hartenstein, Clippers, Wizards

There has been no progress between the Suns and Deandre Ayton on a new contract, and a sign-and-trade appears to be the most likely outcome, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on Sports Center (video link).

Ayton is a restricted free agent, giving Phoenix the opportunity to match any offer he receives, but that’s unlikely to happen, according to Woj. He explains that the Suns don’t value Ayton as a max contract player, but other teams do, which means that’s what he’ll likely receive when free agency begins Thursday afternoon.

Although he doesn’t mention any specific teams, Wojnarowski cites “several” potential destinations for Ayton on a max deal, with the Suns receiving some combination of players, draft picks and cap flexibility in return.

There’s more on the free agent market:

  • With Ivica Zubac‘s extension and an expected deal with John Wall out of the way, re-signing Nicolas Batum will be a priority for the Clippers, writes Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. Greif notes that Batum is very loyal to the organization and has turned down offers from other teams over the past two years to stay in L.A.
  • Jay Scrubb and Xavier Moon will likely compete for a two-way contract if the Clippers decide to re-sign them, Greif adds in the same piece. The team plans to give one of its two-way slots to second-round pick Moussa Diabate.
  • The Rockets have interest in bringing back free agent center Isaiah Hartenstein, according to Kelly Iko of The Athletic. Iko notes that Hartenstein, who started his career in Houston in 2018, is only 24 and fits well with the team’s current roster.
  • Kris Dunn and Pierriá Henry attended a Wizards mini-camp this week in hopes of winning a roster spot on a team searching for point guards, per Josh Robbins of The Athletic. Henry is an accomplished player in the EuroLeague, while Dunn, a lottery pick in 2016, is hoping to prove that he’s healthy after missing most of the past two seasons with injuries. “I feel like over the last two years, I didn’t have a leg, almost,” Dunn said. “Over the last couple of months, I’ve been doing a lot of rehab, and everything’s starting to work out perfectly.”

Magic Aren’t Expected To Tender QO To Bamba

It appears the Magic will let Mo Bamba become an unrestricted free agent, writes Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel.

A source tells Price that the team isn’t expected to submit a qualifying offer to Bamba before today’s deadline. That would make the fourth-year center unrestricted and take away the Magic’s opportunity to match any offer he receives in free agency.

Bamba’s qualifying offer would be $10.1MM and it would provide him with the option of signing it and returning to the Magic next season. He has been with Orlando since being selected with the sixth pick in the 2018 draft.

The team remains interested in keeping Bamba when free agency begins, Price adds, but presumably at a lower figure. A sign-and-trade deal also remains a possibility.

Several teams are expected to pursue Bamba on the free agent market, with a source telling Price that the Raptors, Knicks, Lakers, Bulls, Rockets, Heat and Timberwolves have all shown interest.

Bamba is coming off his best NBA season, posting career highs with 10.6 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.7 blocks and 1.2 assists per game. He became a full-time starter for the first time in his career, starting 69 of the 71 games that he played.

John Wall Finalizes Buyout, Intends To Join Clippers

JUNE 28: The Rockets have officially announced their buyout agreement with Wall, issuing a statement thanking him for his professionalism and wishing him the best. The point guard is now on track to clear waivers on Thursday.

JUNE 27: John Wall is finalizing a buyout with the Rockets and will become an unrestricted free agent, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

Wall’s agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sports is meeting with Rockets GM Rafael Stone on Tuesday to complete the buyout, sources told Haynes.

Wall intends to joins the Clippers once he clears waivers, though other teams are also calling, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets.

There had been momentum toward a buyout or trade after Wall picked up his $47.4MM player option for the 2022/23 season last week. The size of Wall’s contract made it very difficult to find a suitable trade partner.

Wall is giving back $6.5MM in order to part ways with Houston and sign with the team of his choice, Tim MacMahon of ESPN tweets. That’s approximately the same amount as a taxpayer mid-level exception, which suggests that’s likely what he’ll get from the Clippers, MacMahon adds (via Twitter).

Wall has played in just 72 regular season contests since the 2017/2018 season. He put up solid numbers during 40 games with Houston in ’20/21, averaging 20.6 PPG and 6.9 APG, though he shot a career-worst 40.4% from the field. His production peaked in ’16/17, when he averaged 23.1 and 10.7 APG for Washington. His career was sidetracked by heel surgery and a ruptured Achilles tendon.

Last season, the rebuilding Rockets, who were intent on starting a young starting backcourt of Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr., reached an agreement with Wall to allow him to remain away from the team. Wall collected $44.3MM during his agreed-upon exile.

Wall Buyout Keeps Rockets Well Below Tax

  • By reaching a buyout agreement with John Wall, the Rockets now have 18 players on the roster, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. They’re $30MM below the luxury tax threshold, with Eric Gordon — a prime trade candidate — as the lone player earning more than $10MM.

Rockets Rumors: Draft, Gordon, Wall, Martin

The Rockets mulled the idea of trying to trade up from No. 3 in last Thursday’s draft, but given that the draft class featured three prospects (Jabari Smith, Paolo Banchero, and Chet Holmgren) considered top-tier options, they didn’t feel the need to give up the assets necessary to move up a spot or two, general manager Rafael Stone tells Kelly Iko of The Athletic.

“We thought about it a lot,” Stone said. “But it wasn’t clear who we’d be moving up to. You think about moving up in every spot of the draft. You always think about that, that’s part of the job. But one of the nice things — and we knew on lottery night — was that we were going to get somebody that we thought could be part of our organization for a long time and really help us take the next step in this process we’re trying to build.

“That doesn’t mean you foreclose conversations; you talk to everybody about everything, but we always felt comfortable picking where we were picking and were really excited.”

Here are several more Rockets-related notes and rumors from Iko:

  • The Rockets received calls when they were on the clock at No. 17 from teams looking to acquire the pick and would have been more inclined to entertain those offers if Tari Eason hadn’t been on the board, according to Iko.
  • Iko describes trade interest in Eric Gordon as having gotten more “fervent” within the last couple weeks and notes that teams were making offers during last week’s draft that included 2022 picks. The Sixers were one of the clubs that made a proposal, but the Rockets continue to value Gordon more highly than the packages they’ve been offered and aren’t desperate to move him, Iko writes.
  • Like Marc Stein, Iko has heard that the Rockets and John Wall may finally be gaining momentum toward a divorce, with a buyout considered more likely than a trade. The two sides are expected to meet this week, and Wall is hoping to come to a resolution by the start of free agency on Thursday, sources tell The Athletic.
  • The Trail Blazers and Nets are among the teams that have inquired on Kenyon Martin Jr., who reportedly wouldn’t be opposed to a trade.