Free Agents Who Would Be Perfect Fits Alongside James Harden

Roy Burton@thebslineContributor IJuly 2, 2013

Free Agents Who Would Be Perfect Fits Alongside James Harden

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    With a healthy amount of cap space to play with, Houston Rockets' general manager Daryl Morey figures to be quite busy this summer.

    Fresh off of their best campaign in four years, the Rockets will spend the better part of the offseason trying to land the right players to complement star shooting guard James Harden. Houston is clearly Harden's team, but the consensus is that the Rockets will try to land at least one big-name free agent before the start of the 2013-14 campaign.

    That said, they don't necessarily need to go the high-profile route. So while adding Dwight Howard would be ideal, there are several other players who would fit in just as nicely.

1. Dwight Howard

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    To be fair, Dwight Howard would be a perfect fit alongside anyone.

    Not only is Howard the most dominant center in the NBA today, but the two-man game between he and James Harden would be virtually unstoppable.

    For the Los Angeles Lakers last season, Howard averaged 1.29 points per possession (ninth in the NBA) as the roll man in pick-and-roll situations, according to Synergy Sports. Harden, meanwhile, averaged 1.0 PPP (fifth in the league) as the ball-handler in the same types of sets.

    Houston got the first crack at Howard's services this past weekend, and from several different angles, a marriage between D12 and the Rockets figures to be a match made in heaven.

    Alongside Omer Asik, Howard would be forced to play more of a power forward role with the Rockets. And while that may not be ideal in the long term, Houston will go to any and every length to make it work.

2. Andre Iguodala

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    Even with one of the league's best rim protectors patrolling the middle (Omer Asik), the Houston Rockets are a mediocre defensive team (106.1 Defensive Rating in 2012-13).

    Denver Nuggets' swingman Andre Iguodala could change all of that. Aside from Memphis' Tony Allen, Iguodala is the best wing defender on the market this offseason. But unlike Allen, Iguodala is a credible offensive threat who can both play and guard multiple positions.

    Iguodala opted out of the final year and $15.9 million left on his contract with the hopes of landing a long-term deal this summer. Houston is reportedly interested in his services, and the Rockets have more than enough cap space to give Iguodala the financial security that he's looking for.

3. Andrew Bynum

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    If the Rockets lose out on the Dwight Howard sweepstakes, Andrew Bynum wouldn't be a terrible fallback option...if he's healthy.

    Bynum will be just 26 years old at the start of next season, and according to his agent, the seven-foot center should be ready to return to game action in short order (despite an unwillingness to work out for teams, according to Yahoo! Sports). The bigger issue may be Bynum's desire to play basketball: There are some who believe that he wasn't all that motivated to suit up for the Philadelphia 76ers this past year.

    However, if Bynum is fully committed to his craft, he could be one of the most dominant big men in the league today. The last time Bynum stepped onto the court (2011-12), he was named to the All-NBA Second Team.

4. Kevin Martin

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    Ironically enough, one of James Harden's best potential running mates is the same person he was traded for last October.

    The likelihood of Kevin Martin returning to the Rockets is remote, but that doesn't mean that the tandem wouldn't work well together in theory. Martin shot a career-best 42.6 percent from beyond the arc last season, and his affinity for chucking it up from long range (6.3 three-point attempts per 36 minutes in 2012-13) fits in perfectly with the Rockets' offensive scheme.

    Harden is a constant threat to attack the basket, and he'd have even more potential driving lanes with a shooter of Martin's caliber camped out behind the three-point line. With "small ball" dominating today's NBA, the Rockets' trio of Jeremy Lin, Martin and Harden could be one of the best three-headed backcourt monsters in the league.

5. J.J. Redick

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    J.J. Redick is one of the league's premier spot-up shooters, making him a perfect compliment to James Harden down in Houston.

    Redick's tenure with the Milwaukee Bucks was uneventful to say the least, but with the Orlando Magic last season, Redick averaged a healthy 1.27 points per possession as a spot-up shooter, according to Synergy Sports.

    As we learned last year from Chandler Parsons and Carlos Delfino, there are plenty of open jump shots to be had playing alongside Harden. And considering the fact that Redick is a better pure shooter than either player, the 29-year-old guard could potentially average 15 points per game as a member of the Rockets backcourt.

    Redick and Harden are both shooting guards by nature, but it wouldn't be that much of a stretch to slide Harden to SF if necessary. 


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