The Houston Rockets are a team desperately in need of a center as Yao Ming has officially retired after an injury-plagued NBA career and Chuck Hayes has been lost to the Sacramento Kings via free agency.
Samuel Dalembert is the next best big man available through free agency and if the Rockets wait any longer, they could possibly miss out on the veteran.
Two other teams that could be interested in adding Dalembert appear to be the Dallas Mavericks and the New Jersey Nets, both on a short-term basis. They will most likely offer Dalembert a one-year contract to preserve cap space for the summer. The Rockets however, can offer him a two-year contract, possibly with an option on the final year.
Here are the two main reasons why the Rockets must sign Dalembert.
The Rockets have Jordan Hill and Hasheem Thabeet on the roster currently, and while they are still considered to be “project” players, starting them might not be the most feasible option.
General manager Daryl Morey has seen his options slip through a nixed trade, and watched the remaining top center candidates sign elsewhere or re-sign with their former employers.
Dalembert is a defensive-minded big man, which would allow for Kevin Martin and Luis Scola to do most of the scoring while Dalembert will do the rebounding and be a strong defensive force.
With the new collective bargaining agreement set, trading for players appears to be a more difficult process. As a result, teams may not be very open to making moves at this time because of the shortened season.
The Rockets may have better luck trading for a big man as the trade deadline comes around, but they can not wait that long. They need to have a decent big man available right away for the team to compete in the Western Conference.
With new head coach Kevin McHale on board, the team needs to have the right pieces in place to move in the right direction.