Rockets signing Montrezl Harrell, facing hard cap

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Montrezl Harrell has gotten drafted.

He has played well in summer league.

He has even pulled someone from an overturned car.

He just hasn’t signed a contract.

That will soon change for Harrell, the No. 32 pick by the Rockets.

Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:

Unless the Rockets make another major move before executing this contract, they’ll be bound by the hard cap this season.

Houston used part of its mid-level exception – less than the value of the non-taxpayer MLE – to re-sign K.J. McDaniels. Because contracts signed through the minimum-salary exception are limited to two years, the Rockets will have to use the MLE to sign Harrell. Even if Harrell gets a minimum salary, that would push Houston into taxpayer-MLE range – triggering the hard cap.

The Rockets are just $459,239 below the hard cap, according to data from Basketball Insiders. Harrell’s minimum salary is $525,093. So, they’ll have to make at least one minor move to fit him. Waiving one of their four unguaranteed rookies – Chris Walker, Denzel Livingston, Remi Yusuf, Will Cummings – is most likely.

Even if it waives all four of them (quite possible) and inks Harrell to a minimum deal (unlikely), Houston would be just $2,034,518 below the hard cap with 14 players. The Rockets would have enough room below the hard cap to add a veteran on a minimum deal, but they could stand pat with 14 players.

The bigger issue is the inability to make a big in-season trade that adds salary. You can be sure Houston general manager Daryl Morey didn’t want to restrict himself like this. He’s always chasing the next splash.

The Rockets already dealt for Ty Lawson, and that could suffice for this year.

It will probably have to.