The Houston Rockets has just re-signed 10-year veteran Chuck Hayes to fill up their 15-man roster, General Manager Daryl Morey announced over the weekend. It was previously reported that Hayes will be brought in as a coach, but the Rockets opted to sign him as a player.
The 32-year old Hayes spent the first six seasons of his professional career in Houston. He played for the Toronto Raptors in 2013 after leaving Sacramento Kings. The veteran forward-center most recently played with the Clippers during training camp and preseason this year. For his return in Houston, Hayes will be donning the number 44 jersey, which he sported in his previous stint with the Rockets.
Hayes garnered an average of 3.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 18.4 minutes per game in his 642 career games. His shooting percentage stands at 49.8%. In recent years, Hayes has been taking on more of a veteran leadership role, just as many players do late in their NBA careers. Standing at just 6 feet, 6 inches and 240 pounds, Hayes has impressively managed to have a career lasting more than ten years while starting games at both power forward and center positions.
The veteran will now head to Houston where he is expected to bring depth at frontcourt especially now that Dwight Howard, Terrence Jones, and Donatas Motiejunas are unavailable. The Rockets will go up against the Miami Heat without those star players so fans can look forward Hayes occupying an immediate role.
The team's move to sideline Howard for the time being has left the Rockets significantly depleted concerning their power rotation. The 29-year-old forward has been dealing with tightness in his back during training camp, so the Rockets apparently do not want to risk aggravating his injury with too much work. Howard is expected to return for the Rocket's Monday match versus the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Aside from Howard, Houston will also be without Terrence Jones as the starting forward has sustained a cut on his right eyelid during Friday's loss to the Golden State Warriors. Furthermore, power forward Donatas Motiejunas is still recovering from a back surgery he underwent in the past season.
"Chuck's another big body. He's smart. He understands the concepts. He's played in open offenses before where he understands speed from the bigs. He understands how to get smalls open. We needed another big guy on the roster." coach Kevin McHale said. All of those absences will reduce Houston's power rotation to Hayes, Clint Capela, and Montrezl Harrell.