Who’ll be the next player waived?

Marcus Camby is off the roster. Camby suffered a torn plantar fascia, a condition which will require surgery. Whether Camby will return to the Houston organization or not isn’t yet known. What is known is that after waiving Camby, the Rockets only need to waive one more player to reach the regular season cap of fifteen players.With the regular season starting in mere hours, the Rockets will have to make a choice, and soon.

Much of the roster is locked in. The starter caliber players are all sacrosanct. James Harden, Dwight Howard, Jeremy Lin, Chandler Parsons, Ömer Aşık and Patrick Beverley are absolute keepers. Francisco Garcia, veteran player on a veteran minimum contract, is a lock. With Camby gone, Greg Smith moves up in the rotation and is a valuable insurance policy against injury to Aşık or Howard. Who, then, of the remaining players is going to go?

Omri Casspi was in the hotseat the moment he signed on with the Rockets. After a disappointing stint with the Cavaliers, many saw him as little more than a warm body on the bench. Instead, Casspi came out swinging during the preseason and seems to have played himself into a roster spot. Whether his preseason performance is at all indicative of his regular season potential, he looked leagues better than Donatas Motiejunas, a player he’s on track to leapfrog. Terrence Jones, in the games he played before suffering a shoulder strain, looked capable, especially on the glass. As sophomores, both players are still extremely young and on extremely good contracts. The forward spots are are weak and Houston needs all the potential they can get.

The other overstocked position for the Rockets is the point guard, a spot which begins with two starter-quality players in Jeremy Lin and Patrick Beverley. Aaron Brooks and rookie Isaiah Canaan bring up the rear for the Rockets’ point depth. Brooks played aggressively in preseason, presumably trying to cement his spot on the roster. With Canaan on a valuable rookie contract, he’s likely safe for the time being. He’s expected to spend a large part of this season with Houston’s D-League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. Because Canaan isn’t going to be ready or even with the team, Aaron Brooks’ tenure is actually strengthened as the point guard insurance policy.

The cut, then, is between a few players who didn’t do much during summer league. Robert Covington, Ronnie Brewer and Reggie Williams are the clear candidates in a contest where the loser gets paid to stay home. Each of them has factors that make them expendable, and traits that are desirable. Covington has the advantage of being a rookie, though an undrafted one. He’s a clear candidate for the Valley Vipers, which is a place he’s likely to go whether he’s waived or not. The biggest advantage to waiving him would be that Houston could stash him in the D-League until their season starts, allowing them to come back and re-sign him later if the situation changes.

Ronnie Brewer has the most NBA experience of the group, and is an able defender. The downside is that he’s a poor shooter, something which is anathema to Houston’s system. Reggie Williams, on the other hand, has shown promise before and is only in his fourth year. Unfortunately, he was only able to crack the preseason rotation in garbage time, something that is anything but promising for his prospects. He fulfills a similar role to Omri Casspi, but Casspi can play the four, and soundly outplayed Williams in general.

Any of those three players may get the axe in the extremely near future. In fact, a second might be cut if Camby recovers and looks ready to play later in the season. The Rockets can’t bank on potential and trade value any more. A tight rotation and able players are the name of the game, now. Unfortunately, the rules of that game mean that one more player will have to be cut, and we’ll find out who it is soon enough.

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Total comments: 9
  • ale11 says 10 months ago

    That's probably because Parsons and Beverley are the least-paid starters in the entire league (or there mustn't be any team who has two starters that make less than 1 million this year).

  • thejohnnygold says 10 months ago

    Whoops, not sure how I messed that up, but we are actually 7th lowest salary--not 5th. That's still bodes well for our future.

  • bboley24 says 10 months ago

    That last salary stat is what blows my mind. Put the cardinals and bosox to shame.

  • thejohnnygold says 10 months ago

    We also have the 5th lowest average salary according to the same website. The only teams beneath us are the Bucks, Sixers, Magic, and Suns.

  • redfaithful says 10 months ago

    According to http://en.hispanosnba.com/teams/comparison, the Rockets are the 5th youngest team in the NBA.

    Another Wow.

  • Fury says 10 months ago

    Reggie Williams is the final cut. I thought that would be the case.

    Has anyone else noticed that Garcia is the only player on the roster over the age of 30? He was born in 1980. Howard, Brooks, and Brewer were born in 85, so they are 27/28. The rest of the team is far younger.

    Wow.

  • RollingWave says 10 months ago

    Casspi could barely crack an equally bad Cavs team, so that wasn't quite the issue, he was hurt for much of the early pre-season, which was why he didn't play until game 3 or 4 I think. it didn't help that his main rival for the roster spot was essentially Omir Casspi, who completely went off in those first few games.

  • 2016Champions says 10 months ago

    RollingWave is correct. I haven't heard anything about him getting injured, but he could barely crack the Bobcats rotation so there's no way he would crack ours.

    Lin-Beverley-Brooks-Canaan

    Harden-Lin-Garcia-Casspi

    Casspi is definitely here to stay. Not only is he our best fit at PF and a perfect fit in our system, he also gives us depth at 3 positions.

    Greg Smith will probably stay because Camby is about one ankle sprain away from retirement.

    I haven't seen much of Covington yet but I've read reports that he has been a very impressive shooter in practice.

  • RollingWave says 10 months ago

    Given the way the coachs played those players it seems obvious it's going to be Williams. it's unfortunate that injury prevented him from showing the staff what he can do, and that those he was in competition with generally played really well anyway.