As the NBA preseason draws to a close, the Houston Rockets' roster looks arguably deeper than any other team in the association. However, that does not mean they already have all their spots filled in. In their quest to become next season's champion, the Rockets are also looking to find the right player to land on their final roster spot.
Speculations about who will occupy the last slot began when the Rockets released Remi Yusuf. He was the first in a series of controversial transactions that allowed Houston to finally acquire rookie Montrezl Harrell and sign him to a 3-year deal worth $3.1 million using some of the team's non-taxpayer exception.
By signing the power forward, the Rockets got their 14th player out of the 15 available positions. Shortly after Christian Wood was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers, Houston had invited young candidates to vie for the final slot; they previously signed Joshua Smith, Chris Walker, Will Cummings, Denzel Livingston, and Jeremy Tyler to non-guaranteed, exhibit 9 contracts. It is designed to protect the team from paying huge amounts of money to players should they be injured.
Out of those aspirants, it looks like Jeremy Tyler stands out in the eyes of the guys in Houston's front office. Space City Scoop predicts that the 24-year-old center has the best odds of landing on the Rockets' final roster spot.
Tyler made headlines back in 2009 when he became the first player to ever skip their senior season in high school and play internationally. He signed with Israel's Maccabi Haifa and played 10 games for them, averaging 2.1 points per game. He is also the only options among the candidates with real NBA experience. So far, he had played for the Knicks, Warriors, and Hawks in his short career, according to The Dream Shake.
In other Rockets news, guard-forward James Harden recently shared details about his career plan. The Rockets star mentioned that he intends to end his career in Houston. In an interview with the Houston Chronicle's Jonathan Feigen, Harden was asked whether retiring with the Rockets was part of his plan. "Definitely. Definitely it's going to end here," the 26-year-old replied.
"Obviously, my workplace is amazing, people I'm surrounded with, that I come to work every day. I'm in a happy place. Fans here in Houston show me so much love and support. Everything is flowing in a positive way right now. I'm all smiles," Harden further said.
The 2015 MVP runner-up is presently in the middle of a five-year contract worth $78 million that he signed with the Rockets in 2012. It was just the second deal he has signed as a professional following his release from the Oklahoma City Thunder more than three years ago.