The Houston Rockets are planning to make a big splash in the free-agency market this offseason, and one of the priority of the team management is to unload burdensome contracts to clear enough cap space to sign a third superstar, according to multiple sources on Wednesday.
Fresh from another first-round playoff disappointment, the Rockets look to add more firepower to their already formidable core of All-Star center Dwight Howard and shooting guard James Harden.
The Rockets have been successful in pulling off huge offseason moves these past two seasons, landing Harden via trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2012 and signing Howard to a max deal in 2013.
Now, General Manager Daryl Morey is thinking big again. With a very talented crop of players hitting free-agency soon, the Rockets GM, with the backings of the team owner, is expected to make a strong push in realising the team's Big 3 aspirations.
"We're going to have cap room to bring in a terrific free agent and I think next year we'll be a lot better than we were this year," Rockets owner Leslie Alexander said in an interview with FOX 26 Sports. "I think the nucleus is great. I think we have two of the brightest stars in the league. We have players who are going to be much better next year, young guys. We have a very good nucleus....
"We won 54 games. It's tough to win 54 games in the NBA and the West is so stacked, it's hard. We were the youngest team in the league in the playoffs. Just that alone will get us much better. I thought the team played hard. They did what they could and when you lose the other team was better."
The Rockets will have plenty of choices in the market when the free-agency period arrives. Carmelo Anthony, who could opt out from the final year of his deal, will be the Alpha-dog of this class in case LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh decide to stay put in South Beach.
Of course, they can still come up with another big deal on the trading block. The Rockets indeed have the assets to strike a blockbuster trade with Jeremy Lin, Omer Asik, Chandler Parsons and handful of draft picks as likely trade baits.
Rajon Rondo emerges as the likely trade target for the Rockets, who want to improve their backcourt. Another suspect is Detroit Pistons Josh Smith, who has experience playing alongside Howard during their high school days.