The Houston Rockets are making moves. They are minor ones, but it’s the calm before the storm begins.
First, they sent free agent swingman Danuel House Jr. his qualifying offer, making him a restricted free agent, according to Kelly Iko of The Athletic.
Houston has sent Danuel House his qualifying offer, making him a restricted free agent, a source told The Athletic
— Kelly Iko (@KellyIkoNBA) June 29, 2019
Of course, that means that the Rockets will have the right to match any offer House receives on the open market. It’s yet to be determined what type of action will be out there for him, but he’s coming off of the best year of his career, averaging 9.4 and 3.6 rebounds per game, while shooting 47 percent from the field and 41 percent from deep.
The Rockets won’t be spending big to keep him, so if someone really wants to swoop in, they can get it done. I’m not sure if that offer is out there, though.
Secondly, veteran center Nene has declined his $3.8 million player option for the upcoming season, making him an unrestricted free agent, according to Woj.
Another quality big on the market: Houston center Nene is declining his $3.8M option and will become a free agent, league sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 29, 2019
Whether this is a sign of things to come is yet to be determined, but this does help Houston’s hard cap sitch should the Rockets accept another max player (ahem, Jimmy Butler).
This opens up at least $2.2M in additional room under a hypothetical hard cap.
I still have the Rockets with only ~$6M in room to offer guys more than the vet minimum IF they acquire Butler via S&T for Gordon and Capela. https://t.co/cIk0wyLpen
— David Weiner (@BimaThug) June 29, 2019
It’s also possible that the Rockets bring back Nene on a veteran minimum deal, and it’s also possible that the big man retires. If this was his last day as a Rocket, I’ll always remember his 12-12 shooting day against the Oklahoma City Thunder when he put up 28 points and 10 boards in the 2017 playoffs in a throwback performance.
I must say, I’m also partial to the times he bodied Draymond Green this past postseason against the Golden State Warriors. Nene is as nice as they come off of the court and as tough as they come on the court.
If he does end up back on the vet minimum, I’ll be happy to say goodbye again next year! In the meantime, stay tuned. The offseason is just getting warmed up.