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Old 06-30-2016, 01:20 PM   #1
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Rockets free agency outlook

The Rockets were 41-41 last season and were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Golden State Warriors. Dwight Howard opted out of his contract and has become a free agent. The Rockets will cast a wide net across the free agent pool and will almost assuredly spend a good chunk of their roughly $45 million in cap space.

Here's a look at some options.

Al Horford: Horford is solid in every way. Solid player, solid scorer, solid rebounder, solid teammate. Also made 34 percent on 3-pointers this season with a massive jump in attempts. Over the first eight years of his career, Horford made 21 of 65 attempts behind the arc combined. Last season, he was 88-of-256, 34.4 percent.

Just turned 30, played with Rockets forward Corey Brewer in college at Florida. Hawks still hope to keep him, but the Thunder join the Rockets among the top suitors. Chance he lands in Houston: 30%

Hassan Whiteside: He's everything that Horford isn't. High risk, high reward player. Elite shot-blocker, defensive player and rebounder. Limited range, though 82 percent of his shots were taken within ten feet of the rim. He is a post-player, there is no 'stretch' aspect to his game, but he doesn't require a lot of touches.

Chances he lands in Houston: 5% (He could be the first free agent off the market and will almost assuredly get a max deal.)

Dwight Howard: Everyone in Houston knows Howard's situation since he opted out. He will have visits with Boston and his hometown Atlanta Hawks when free agency begins. If Howard is willing to play team basketball and focus on everything but his own numbers and ego, then in my opinion he will be a great addition to whatever team he goes with.

Chances he returns to Houston: 2%

Mike Conley: He is the classic fringe point guard. He is clearly a good player, but is he a great player or does he possess the ability to ascend to greatness? At this point in his career, it seems very unlikely he is going to become an all-star. That's right Conley is a zero-time all-star. Not likely considered a difference-maker for Houston or many other teams. Could remain in Memphis

Chances he lands in Houston: 10%

Ryan Anderson: The perception is that Anderson is a great shooter, which of course in the evening highlights - if he makes them - he looks like one. Over the last three season, Anderson has made 36.3 percent on 3-pointers. That's 88th in the league among player with at least 100 made 3-pointers. That's worse than James Harden, Trevor Ariza, Pat Beverley and Jason Terry - the last three of which it seems fans don't believe shoot well enough. Anderson is also a subpar defender and has become less of a rebounder as his career has continued. He snagged nearly nine boards per 36 minutes over his first four seasons. That averaged dipped to roughly seven per 36 minutes over his last four campaigns.

Chances he lands in Houston: 35%

Nicolas Batum: Has always been a very intriguing player. All the skills seem to be there for him to take a step closer to star status, but it's never happened. He's 27 years old and entering his 9th season in the NBA after the Rockets originally drafted him in 2008. But essentially he's just a slightly younger version of Trevor Ariza. But Batum will command big dollars this offseason and likely won't be getting that cash from the Rockets.

Chances he lands in Houston: 5%

Kent Bazemore: He turns 27 the day free agency begins and is coming off his first truly important NBA season. He made a difference with the Hawks, has shown enough ability behind the arc (36 percent) and athletically seems a good fit for what new Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni would like to do offensively. Good not great shooter, great, not good, athlete.

Chances he lands in Houston: 25%

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