As entertaining as it was to watch the Dwight free agency marathon take place, the Houston Rockets are now focusing their strategies on adding the finishing touches to what they hope will be a championship team this year.
The Rockets recently welcomed Aaron Brooks back to the franchise with a fully guaranteed contract worth $1 million. Brooks, 6-feet, completed last season with the Rockets after he was waived by the Sacramento Kings. He played little before Lin’s chest injury during the playoffs.
Brooks’ choice to return to the Rockets with a roster equipped with Jeremy Lin, Patrick Beverley and rookie Isaiah Canaan, is because of his affinity for and familiarity with the franchise. “I’ve been here before,” said Brooks, 28, who re-signed with the Rockets on Friday. “It’s a good team. I like the coaching staff. I’m familiar with the place. My kids (MiKah, 7, Khobi, 2, and Khylie, 2) are tired of moving around. They want to go somewhere familiar. That played a factor. My daughter chose Houston over a lot of other places.”
Brooks’ best season was his third with the Rockets when he averaged 19.6 points and 5.3 assists and won the league’s 2009-10 Most Improved Player award. He has averaged 11.6 points and 3.4 assists in his five-year NBA career.
The Rockets on Friday also signed 26-year-old guard Reggie Williams to a two-year deal, the second season at a team option. The 6-6 Williams, a career 46 percent shooter, has averaged 8.6 points and 2.7 rebounds in four seasons with the Golden State Warriors and Charlotte Bobcats.
In an expected strategy shift from last season’s emphasis on young prospects, the Rockets are interested in veterans Marcus Camby and Mike Miller, a person with knowledge of the team’s thinking said Wednesday.
The 6-11 Camby, who finished the 2011-12 season with the Rockets and had hoped to finish his career in his adopted hometown, reached a buyout agreement with the Raptors on Wednesday. Camby, 39, went from the Rockets to the Knicks last summer in a sign-and-trade deal when the Rockets chose to rebuild around young players. He was sent to Toronto in the New York trade for Andrea Bargnani with two seasons and $7.5 million left on his contract.
“If Marcus clears waivers as we expect on Sunday, the Rockets would be at the top of his list,” Rick Kaplan said. “He loved his time there. He wanted to stay, but they went another direction. Obviously, they would be a leading contender. At this stage of his career, I can see scenarios where he can play or be a mentor and he would like to play at home.”
The 6-8 Miller, who helped the Heat to consecutive NBA titles, was waived by Miami under the amnesty provision. He will be paid $12.8 million over the next two seasons by the Heat. Because the Rockets are over the salary cap, they could not put in a waiver claim, but if Miller clears waivers, they will seek to add him to their retooled roster.
The Rockets are expected to offer veteran minimum contracts to both players. The Rockets do have their “room” exception, worth $2.652 million in the first season, but plan to keep that available should it be needed during the season.