Ranking the Houston Rockets' Most Likely NBA Free-Agency Moves

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistMay 21, 2013

Ranking the Houston Rockets' Most Likely NBA Free-Agency Moves

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    As the Houston Rockets officially enter the NBA offseason, the most likely moves for the team in free agency are beginning to surface.

    Houston has a solid core with superstar James Harden, center Omer Asik and forward Chandler Parsons, but another star would make the Rockets a great team.

    A few big-name players will be on the market, and Houston has the space to be a big-time contender in free agency.

    Making a splash will certainly be a main focus in the Rockets' front office.

5. Sign Chris Paul

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    Chris Paul's contract is up, and Houston is a heavily-rumored destination for each of the top free agents.

    Bleacher Report's J.M. Poulard notes the Rockets as one of the four biggest challengers to the Los Angeles Clippers for CP3's services.

    However, Paul leaving Los Angeles seems very unlikely at this point especially with head coach Vinny Del Negro not being retained.

    The Clippers are slowly becoming Paul's team, but Houston would love to get Paul on the squad.

4. Sign Dwight Howard

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    The Rockets have a respectable center in Omer Asik, but Dwight Howard is simply the best big man in the league.

    Although Howard can be quite the diva at times (you know, forcing his way out of Orlando), he is an excellent player.

    Per HoopsWorld.com, Houston has ample cap space to make a huge signing in free agency, and a recent report of the team declining Francisco Garcia's sizable team option only adds to the available room.

    Howard is "most intrigued" by the Rockets according to CBSSports.com's Ken Berger, and D12 leaving the Los Angeles Lakers is more likely than CP3 leaving the Clippers.

3. Sign Pieces, Wait for 2014 Free Agency

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    Houston tested the top-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the playoffs taking the defending conference champions to a six-game series.

    Sure, Westbrook was injured, but Harden and crew were not going to be a pushover, regardless, as they clearly have a playoff-caliber roster.

    To make it to the next level, however, the Rockets need another guard and forward to assist Harden should they cut ties with both Carlos Delfino and Aaron Brooks.

    A name that could surface is Jarrett Jack, a tough guard who would provide Houston with quality minutes as he did with Golden State this past season.

    Randy Foye is an interesting and affordable candidate, but he wants to return to the Utah Jazz according to Jim Burton of the Standard-Examiner.

    Other players such as Will Bynum, Corey Brewer, Matt Barnes and Shaun Livingston are worth keeping an eye on, too.

    If GM Daryl Morey goes this route, the 2014 free-agency cycle includes Danny Granger, Luol Deng and Pau Gasol just to name a few.

2. Sign Josh Smith

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    Josh Smith appeared to be leaving the Atlanta Hawks before the trade deadline, but a move was never made.

    But now, the Hawks will almost certainly lose their top player in Smith getting nothing in return, and Houston could be the sweepstakes winner.

    Smith would be a more-than-welcomed addition to the Rockets' power forward position, a spot that was a rotating door at best in 2012-13.

    Though the ninth-year pro would demand a hefty contract, again, Houston can afford to give just that.

1. Sign Defensive-Minded Forward

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    Houston certainly has talent at the small forward position in Chandler Parsons, but there is still something left to be desired.

    Even if the Rockets are able to sign Smith or another superstar to a contract, there would be enough cap space left to sign another decent forward—preferably a defensive-minded one.

    Bleacher Report's Kenny DeJohn thinks Dorell Wright is a perfect fit in this position.

    Another names that comes to mind is the sharp-shooting Kyle Korver who takes more criticism than deserved for his defense—or lack thereof at times.

    According to Basketball Reference, Korver has a higher offensive rating and an equal defensive rating compared to Wright.

    Both Korver and Wright could be signed in the $5 million-per-year range, and if Houston does not retain Delfino and Brooks, the Rockets would have an additional $5.5 million to spend on a replacement.