Nine years ago the Rockets passed on drafting former Alief Elsik star Rashard Lewis during the 1998 draft. Nine years ago the Rockets passed on drafting former Alief Elsik star Rashard Lewis during the 1998 draft. Fast forward to 2007 and these same Houston Rockets, under different management, are going to do everthing they can to land the small forward who is the top free agent on the market.
Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey telling FOX 26 Sports tonight Lewis is the club's number one target as free agency in the NBA began Saturday night at 11:01pm.
"We are going after Rashard. We think he is the best guy out there. The best free agent around. We are in the process of contacting him to let him know of our interest," Morey said.
Morey knows the Rockets are financially challenged in the sweepstakes to land Lewis, who has played nine years for the Sonics and is also Seattle's number one target. The Sonics can offer a six year contract for the league maximum at an estimated $15 million per season.
Since the Rockets can only offer the mid-level exception, beginning somewhere north of $5 million, other avenues must be explored.
"It has to be through sign and trade. We really want him. We think he would be a significant player for us. Rashard would have to be motivated to come," Morey said.
Morey did not comment on the other free agents the Rockets are contacting Saturday night but NBA sources tell FOX 26 Sports the Rockets have targeted six other players. The list includes forward Joe Smith who split time last year with the Nuggets and 76ers, forward Alan Henderson who played last year in Philadelphia, Forward Malik Allen who has played the last two years with the Bulls, forward Melvin Ely who split time last
year with the Bobcats and Spurs, and restricted free agent forward Amir Johnson who has played for the Pistons for two years.
League sources tell FOX the Rockets are also expressing interest in forward P.J. Brown who spent last season with the Bulls. However, there is speculation he may retire.
The Rockets are casting a wide net as they attempt to fill holes in the roster.