The Houston Rockets plan to bring in a more “traditional” center for the 2020-21 season.
During Stephen Silas’s press conference, the traditional question was asked of the new coach. Questions about his father a former head coach and how he feels about his new job.
One item that stuck out from the press conference was Silas’ mention of having a diversified offense that includes more than just small ball. The Houston Rockets plan to have a more traditional center on their roster going into the new season. One big issue is the Rockets do not have much room under the salary cap. They only have the mid-level exception and a few trade exceptions.
With this being the case the Rockets will look to the lower tier centers that will still bring value. Here are three free-agent centers the Rockets can possibly bring in for the 2020-21 season.
The 6’10 275 center has had his last three-plus seasons end with major leg injuries. Demarcus Cousins was signed by the Los Angles Lakers on a one year 3.5 million dollar deal. Unfortunately, he never played a second for the Lakers as he suffered another devasting leg injury in August and was cut a couple of months later by the Lakers.
When healthy, Cousins was a top-five center in the league who can spread the floor and handle the basketball like a guard. Cousins would bring the type of diversity the Rockets are looking for as he is also a great passer from the center position. Another factor is he will more than likely sign for the minimum, which is huge for the cash strapped Rockets.
Aron Baynes has played for four different teams in his eight-year NBA career. Baynes is an unrestricted free agent and will be a highly sought after center. Baynes is another center who not only can score in the post but spread the court. Last year Baynes shot a career-high .351 from beyond the arc while also averaging a career-high in points at 11.5 a game.
Baynes is also one of the best screen setting centers in the league and that would be a huge plus to a team like the Rockets who love to run pick and roll. Baynes also may be willing to take the mid-level exception which again would be huge for the Rockets.
The former Rocket has had a down and up career since leaving the Rockets after the 2015-16 season. Howard bounced from team to team before finally resurrecting his career this past season with the Lakers. Howard numbers may not jump off the page at 7.5 points, and 7.3 rebounds a game, but his impact was felt for the Lakers all season long.
The elephant in the room of course is Howard’s relationship with James Harden and if it would become a problem. At this point in their careers, personal angst toward each other should go out the window as Harden specifically is at the end of his prime years, and bringing in a center who can help is the top priority.
Howard seems to have embraced becoming a pick and roll center something he wasn’t too thrilled with when he was playing for the Rockets.
The Rockets have signaled that going small exclusively is not an option this year. The center they bring in may not even start but still have an impact. They will be looking to bring in a more traditional center, and the three in this article would be a great fit for the Rockets.