A few weeks before the NBA Free Agency 2018 officially starts, the Houston Rockets are already making their plans on how they will be able to sign their top offseason target, Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James. The Rockets will be needing to make multiple roster moves to create enough salary cap space to give James a maximum contract, and the expected casualties are Eric Gordon, Clint Capela, Trevor Ariza, and Ryan Anderson.
Clint Capela and Trevor Ariza, who are set to become free agents in July, won’t have a hard time finding a new home since there are lots of NBA teams who need a dominant presence under the basket and a reliable wing defender. Eric Gordon is also expected to gain lots of interest once the Rockets officially make him available on the trading block. The toughest thing the Rockets need to do this offseason is finding a taker for Ryan Anderson and the remaining two years and $41.6 million on his contract.
According to Kelly Iko of USA Today Sports’ Rockets Wire, the Rockets have two options to get rid of Anderson. First, Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey will try engaging him in trade negotiations, and if they fail, the team will consider buying out his contract.
“According to two people with knowledge of the Rockets’ thinking, the team’s general manager Daryl Morey is intent on moving Anderson in a trade. One person said the Rockets could pursue buyout options if no such agreement is met. Both people requested anonymity because they are unauthorized to speak on the record of Anderson’s situation.”
As of now, it remains questionable if there are NBA teams who will be interested in adding Ryan Anderson to their team. Since joining the Rockets, Anderson has been a huge disappointment and failed to live up to the huge contract he signed in the summer of 2016. As Iko noted, the only way the Rockets can attract a trade partner for Anderson is if they are willing to attach multiple future first-round picks.
The buyout option is also complicated for the Rockets since Anderson signed a lucrative deal. Unless they convince him to take less during the process, buying out the remaining two years on his contract won’t help them at all in creating salary cap space. However, Iko suggested that the Rockets may consider using the stretch provision to get rid of Anderson. It will allow them to spread his salary cap hit over the next five seasons while paying him the all the money he is owed.