Despite the unraveling of their depth this offseason, the Rockets are likely to make the playoffs next season.
Dwight Howard and James Harden are stars. Terrence Jones, Patrick Beverley and Trevor Ariza are solid starters.
It’s the bench that could really use work, including point guard. Houston downgraded from Jeremy Lin at backup one to recently signed Ish Smith and unproven Isaiah Canaan, neither of whom are proven rotation players.
How about Ramon Sessions, one of the best unrestricted free agents left on the market?
Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders:
I get why Houston is interested in Sessions. He’s a pick-and-roll ace who can both get to the rim and distribute, though his defense is lacking.
But there are several small hurdles, which collectively add up to a decently sized impediment.
For one, there’s reaching a deal with Sessions. At this point, I figured a team could steal Sessions for a minimum contract, but if that were the case, Houston would just sign him outright. The Rockets have the bi-annual exception, which should be enough for Sessions, but they likely want to keep that available next summer. Hence, the sign-and-trade possibility – always a more-complicated option.
Houston is also over the regular-season roster limit of 15. Even if they waive the unguaranteed contracts of Alonzo Gee, Scotty Hopson and Josh Powell and the partially guaranteed contract of Robert Covington, the Rockets would have 15 players before Sessions.
That could be another reason a sign-and-trade makes sense, but the Bucks have 15 guaranteed contracts plus the desirable Kendall Marshall and expendable Chris Wright, both of whom have unguaranteed contracts. So, Milwaukee can’t mindlessly take back an extra player in a trade.
It’s tough to see all three sides making this work, but it’s easy to see why they’re trying. The Rockets could use a better backup point guard. The market has mostly dried up for Sessions. And the Bucks, who no longer have a place for Sessions, would love to get return for him. There’s definitely a chance for a deal to be reached.