Houston Rockets Salaries
Contracts above $5 million
- Yao Ming – $17.69 million
- Shane Battier – $7.43 million
- Trevor Ariza – $6.32 million
Yao Ming and Shane Battier will both be entering the final year of their respective contracts. Ariza is on the books for four more seasons.
These three players total $31.44 million.
Rest Of Team’s Salaries
- David Andersen – $2.5 million
- Aaron Brooks – $2.02 million
- Chase Budinger – $780k
- Jermaine Taylor – $780k
David Andersen and Aaron Brooks will be entering the final season of their deals. Budinger and Taylor possibly have three more years (non-guaranteed + team option on final two seasons).
Those contracts amount to $6.08 million and take the Rockets total up to $37.52 million.
- Draft Picks — The Rockets will have a late lottery pick to mid first round pick. Let’s assume late lottery (#12-#14). That comes with a cap hold of $1.47 to $1.63 million.
- Team Option — Carl Landry and Chuck Hayes both have team options on their contracts for the 2010/11 season. Their contracts are worth $3 million and $2.33 million respectively.
- Non-Guaranteed Contracts — Joey Dorsey has a non-guaranteed contract worth $950k.
- Open Roster Spots — The Rockets will have a minimum roster charge of $475k and a maximum of $1.9 million should they choose to part ways with Hayes + Landry + Dorsey.
Okay, so that gives the Rockets between $3.37 to $6.92 million in additional salaries. Thus, two different projections:
- Minimum Team Salary — decline team options to Hayes + Landry + waive Dorsey — $40.89 to $40.15 million
- Keep Talent — $44.29 to $44.44 million
The league sent out a memo at the beginning of free agency this year citing these numbers as possible cap figures for 2010
The NBA’s ballyhooed free-agent summer of 2010 might have quietly taken another hit late Tuesday night.
In a memo announcing next season’s salary cap and luxury-tax threshold, sent out shortly before the league’s annual July moratorium on signings and trades was lifted at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, NBA teams also received tentative projections from the league warning that the cap is estimated to drop to somewhere between $50.4 million and $53.6 million for the 2010-11 season.
2010 Cap Space
So, the Rockets have … in cap space
- Minimum salary outlook — $10.25 to $12.7 million in cap space
- Keep talent — $6-to-$9.3 million in cap space
Rockets Free Agency Options
There’s two main streams of thought here for the Rockets
#1 — Maximize their cap space and enter free agency looking to acquire another elite talent to replace Tracy McGrady.
#2 — Keep their talent, consequently limit their cap space, then look to retain their key free agents + spend their MLE.
Key Free Agents
- Luis Scola — Will command at least the MLE in the open market. Talent wise he’s worth around $10 million per annum but due to his age + low scoring ways he’s unlikely to garner that type of attention. A contract in the $7-8 million range looks possible.
- Kyle Lowry — A contract worth around $3 million would be good business. A contract up around the MLE would be bad business.
- Tracy McGrady — Too early to say whether he should be in the Rockets plans. Depends on what he’s capable of and that will decide how much value he has in free agency.
If the Rockets were to retain Scola + Lowry for $11-12 million that would take the Rockets payroll to $55-56 million. However, at that stage, given their trade assets + lack of cap flexibility + lack of high draft picks it’s incredibly difficult to see where Houston finds another elite talent to put alongside Yao Ming.
Maximizing Houston’s cap flexibility for this summer is a painful episode that will cost them serious talent (Scola, Lowry, Landry, Hayes + maybe Battier) but it looks like their best bet over the medium-to-long term.
Acquiring an elite talent this summer and replacing those key role players is an easier proposition than keeping those key role players and looking to acquire an elite talent down the road.
Houston has hard decisions + uncertain times ahead of them.