For the third straight season, the Houston Rockets came up just short of qualifying for the NBA playoffs, finishing ninth in the Western Conference after suffering a six-game losing streak late in the season.
While lacking a marquee name, the team has a stable of solid young players, including 2011 NBA draft picks Chandler Parsons and Marcus Morris, as well as 2009 second-rounder Chase Budinger and 2010 first-rounder Patrick Patterson. The team also holds the 14th and 16th picks in the upcoming draft, and is expecting Donatas Motiejunas, a 2011 first-round pick, to join the team next season.
Unlike past offseasons where the team was limited in terms of flexibility with the cap, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey should have some cap space to work with in the upcoming months.
The Rockets could have as much as $19 million in cap space, though that number drops to around $12 million if they keep their cap holds on free agents Goran Dragic and Courtney Lee. While that would not be enough room to sign a player to a maximum contract, the extra cap space would give Houston more flexibility in the trading market.
Expect Morey to try to take advantage of this as he retools the team for next season.