Rockets Pass on Options, Extensions
The Rockets have told each of their four lottery picks from the 2009 NBA Draft – Hasheem Thabeet, Jonny Flynn, Terrence Williams and Jordan Hill – they won’t be picking up the fourth-year option on their rookie contracts, a person with knowledge of the talks said.
The moves were not unexpected. Only Hill is playing. The Rockets, however, made the decision not as much because of the play of the four lottery picks, but to create room for a max contract should there be a free agent (Dwight Howard, Deron Williams lead the class), according to the person familiar with their thinking.
If any had played at a level to match their draft position – particularly Thabeet who was the second pick of the draft and acquired in the deal that sent Shane Battier back to Memphis – the Rockets might not have guarded that salary cap room. But by keeping their options as open as possible, they could have between $15 million and $22 million available next summer, depending on how many first-round picks they use (they could have theirs and the Knicks) or sign (Donatas Motiejunas is playing in Poland this summer.)