Mass change to the roster is expected at the Houston Rockets this offseason, with up to 13 players on their shopping list in free agency.
It was another underwhelming campaign for the Rockets as they finished with just 22 wins in the regular season. They secured the fourth-overall pick through the NBA Draft Lottery, and ended up getting two players tipped to be a top 10 prospect.
The Rockets drafted Amen Thompson and Cam Whitmore on Thursday night, but have significant cap space to bring in more talent for next season. Free agency begins on June 30, and the Rockets have over $60 million to spend before making decisions on contracts that aren't guaranteed.
As many as 13 players are being targeted by the Rockets, with former player James Harden high up on their list. But he definitely isn't the only one, according to Texas Sports Nation.
A source close to the Rockets told TSN that they have a 13-man shortlist this offseason, with some major names lined up. Headlining the list is Harden as it's believed he's keen to return to his former team, but Fred VanVleet has also been mentioned after he declined his player option with the Toronto Raptors.
Milwaukee Bucks’ Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez have also been mentioned, with NBA champion Bruce Brown on their radar after he declined his player option at the Denver Nuggets. The report goes on to name Utah Jazz’s Jordan Clarkson, Los Angeles Lakers' Rui Hachimura and Austin Reeves, Brooklyn Nets' Cam Johnson, Golden State Warriors’ Donte DiVincenzo, Memphis Grizzlies’ Dillon Brooks, Toronto Raptors’ Jakob Poeltl and Dallas Mavericks’ Dwight Powell.
The Rockets are heading into a new direction and head coach Ime Udoka is popular among players. The new head coach accepted the vacant role after being fired from the Boston Celtics before the start of last season.
Harden remains a major target for the Rockets, but his position has changed since Nick Nurse became head coach. Last season it was believed within the Philadelphia 76ers locker room that Harden wanted to return to the Rockets, but Nurse has left the forward feeling intrigued.
The 76ers blew it in the playoffs again, and after Doc Rivers was fired it seemed inevitable that Harden would depart the franchise. But NBA insider Marc Stein reported that early talks with the new coach may have given Harden second thoughts.
Harden's stay in Philadelphia has gained momentum, and it all came after Harden met with Nurse for an introductory meeting. Nurse has been tasked with delivering the 76ers' first championship win since 1983, and it looks like Harden may believe he can do it. Harden has still never won an NBA ring, and is running out of time.
James Harden - Philadelphia 76ers
Fred VanVleet - Toronto Raptors
Khris Middleton - Milwaukee Bucks
Brook Lopez - Milwaukee Bucks
Bruce Brown - Denver Nuggets
Jordan Clarkson - Utah Jazz
Rui Hachimura - Los Angeles Lakers
Austin Reeves - Los Angeles Lakers
Cam Johnson - Brooklyn Nets
Donte DiVincenzo - Golden State Warriors
Dillon Brooks - Memphis Grizzlies
Jakob Poeltl - Toronto Raptors
Dwight Powell - Dallas Mavericks