USA TODAY Sports
Ish Smith is just one of a handful of Rockets players returning to the team.
As Morey was piecing together his new roster after striking out in free agency, he ended up bringing back plenty of familiar faces. Other than Ariza, the list of returning players includes Ish Smith, Joey Dorsey and Jeff Adrien.
The Rockets picked up Smith as an undrafted free agent back in 2010. He started a few games for the injured Aaron Brooks before being sent down to the D-League in Rio Grande. Ultimately, he was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies along with Shane Battier.
Since then, he has bounced around between Golden State, Orlando, Milwaukee and Phoenix before finally returning to Houston this summer. Smith is a serviceable point guard with good passing skills and great speed, perhaps even the best in the NBA, according to DeMarcus Cousins.
Adrien bounced around between the NBA and Europe before the Rockets signed him as a free agent in December of 2011. He only played in eight games before they ended up waiving him a few months later, and he played in Rio Grande for a bit after that. A couple of seasons in Charlotte and Milwaukee, and now he's back with the Rockets.
The Rockets received the rights to Joey Dorsey on draft night in 2008. He played in just three games during the 2008-09 season before being sent down to the D-League. He appeared in seven more games with the Rockets the following season before he was traded to Sacramento in the deal that sent Tracy McGrady to New York and Kevin Martin to Houston. The Kings waived him, and he signed on with the Toronto Raptors to play the 2010-11 season.
After that, Dorsey played on a few different teams in Europe, where he developed his game. He became a rebounding and defensive specialist and even earned himself a nickname comparing him to his new teammate Dwight Howard. Now he's back in Houston trying to reignite his NBA career.
Lastly, Trevor Ariza, the most prominent of the returning bunch, signed on with the Rockets for four years, $32 million after a career year with Washington.
The Rockets first signed Ariza in the summer of 2009 to replace Ron Artest with Yao Ming's injury exception. Ariza struggled as the No. 1 option and eventually was traded to New Orleans in the Courtney Lee deal. He spent a couple of years with the Hornets and then the Wizards before coming back to the Rockets, this time as the third option.
The Rockets used to be a team full of role players. Morey wisely traded those assets and turned them into two superstars. However, now many of them have returned to play alongside those two stars.