The Houston Rockets were not active at the trade deadline, but have benefited from a number of veteran players receiving buyouts after the deadline. The Rockets are just a half-game back from the Warriors for the top record in the NBA, making Houston an attractive landing spot for players just becoming free agents. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Joe Johnson is the latest player who intends to sign with the Rockets after clearing waivers.
Johnson is the third post-buyout player to agree to terms with the Rockets this season. Wojnarowski reported Houston will waive Bobby Brown to make room for the swingman. Gerald Green and Brandan Wright also agreed to sign with the Rockets after receiving buyouts.
Here’s a look at the updated Rockets roster and projected starting lineup after the signings.
C: Clint Capela, Maybyner Nene, Tarik Black, Chinanu Onuaku, Zhou Qi
PF: Ryan Anderson, L. Mbah a Moute, Brandan Wright
SF: Trevor Ariza, Joe Johnson, P.J. Tucker, Troy Williams
SG: James Harden, Eric Gordon, Gerald Green, R.J. Hunter
PG: Chris Paul, Markel Brown
None of the three new additions are expected to crack the starting rotation, but all three players are likely to contribute off the bench at multiple positions. An interesting battle for playing time should develop between Johnson and P.J. Tucker. Johnson is far from the player who was the primary scorer during his early days in Phoenix and Atlanta.
Johnson averaged just 21.9 minutes per game this season for the Jazz scoring 7.3 points and grabbing 3.3 rebounds. Since 2012, Johnson’s scoring has progressively gone down every season. Johnson is shooting just 27 percent from the three-point line this season, but gives the Rockets one more player to throw at the Western contenders come playoff time. He should spend time at both shooting guard and small forward in Houston.