After another disappointing exit in the NBA Playoffs, the Houston Rockets have a few important decisions to make. Mike D'Antoni won't be returning as head coach next season but their current roster is all-in on small ball. James Harden believes that the team is one piece away from contending so NBA trade rumors for potential targets have already started to surface.
NBA Trade Rumors: Salary cap issues for Houston Rockets?
The biggest issue though is that the Houston Rockets have two supermax players on their roster already. They are hard-capped and the non-taxpayer's mid-level exception of a little over $9 million won't allow them to sign the hottest prospects out there.
However, that amount, coupled with the option of sign-and-trades will be enough to allow GM Daryl Morey to make a few moves in the market. On that note, here are five players that they should target.
#1 Markieff Morris
If you watched the Houston Rockets get outplayed by the LA Lakers, you're also probably aware that the latter turned to Markieff Morris to nullify the former's small ball. Morris averages 11.4 points and 5.3 rebounds for his career and can stretch the floor. Most importantly, he's shown that he's got the skillset that H-Town needs.
Markieff Morris wasn't the LA Lakers' first choice around the trade deadline so he's unlikely to be re-signed to a new contract next season. He should be available on an annual salary of a shade over $2 million and at 6'8, he'll provide cover to the likes of Robert Covington and PJ Tucker.
#2 Jae Crowder
Jae Crowder is the prototypical 3-and-D wing who suits the Houston Rockets' playing style perfectly. He had a hard time in Memphis but his fortunes changed drastically after joining the Miami Heat. Crowder has averaged 12.8 points on 40% shooting from downtown and 6.2 rebounds per game in the 2020 NBA Playoffs.
The Heat have every reason to re-sign him next season but he'll command an annual salary of around $9 million and is unlikely to be willing to agree to a one-year deal. Miami want to preserve cap space for the 2020-21 free agency class. This is where the Houston Rockets can swoop in and complete a deal.