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3 best players the Rockets must sign in 2021 NBA free agency

Rockets play in tournament

The offseason could be tagged as the Houston Rockets’ first step in the long rebuilding process. They already have an up-and-coming player in Christian Wood. John Wall, who hasn’t lost a step despite missing significant time, will also dictate what type of player they’ll add to the fold. There are three good players in the market who could fit right beside Wood and Wall. If head coach Stephen Silas makes the right moves, then one of these players can even turn into a third star.

John Collins

It’s awkward to see John Collins in top free agent lists amid his stellar contributions to the Atlanta Hawks’ success in the playoffs. The reality is that Collins’ numbers dwindled to 17.6 points and 7.4 rebounds from 21.6 points and 10.1 rebounds. This was almost expected when the Hawks added Bogdan Bogdanović and Danilo Gallinari. And prior to the addition of these players, Collins declined a $90 million contract extension in December 2020. He was seeking a max deal which he rightfully deserves.

This may cause some trouble for the Rockets as they do not have enough cap space to fulfill Collins’ wishes. But at the same time, Collins is obviously looking for a team wherein he’ll be one of the priorities. The Rockets should have done their homework to deem that Collins is indeed worthy of a hefty deal. They may have to part ways with some of their core group. Maybe even John Wall.

Lauri Markkanen

Most Rockets fans are convinced that Christian Wood will be the future face of the franchise. And there is no doubt that the Wood-Markannen stretch-big duo will cause headaches for opposing teams. However, let’s not forget that the speedy John Wall is still in the fold for the Rockets. Whether fans like it or not, a good chunk of the Rockets’ offensive sets will involve him. His penchant for slashing to the hoop and involving his teammates fit perfectly with Markkanen’s catch-and-shoot ability. This may be his bread and butter as he shot 40.5 percent from deep in catch-and-shoot situations. Overall, he shot 40.2 percent.

The fact that he’ll get more chances at beefing up his numbers and improving himself as a player will be enough to lure Markkanen in. To recall, the 24-year-old was relegated to the bench last season. He also declined a multi-year extension earlier in the year. Reports say that the two parties had a gap of $4 million annually. The signs are telling. Yes, he wants to get paid but that’s not his priority. The man simply wants to play basketball.

Tim Hardaway Jr.

Among the players in this list, Tim Hardaway Jr. may be the toughest free agent to lure. The man blended extremely well with Luka Doncic last season, sometimes even better than Kristaps Porzingis. He averaged 16.6 points per game on 44.7 percent from the field and 39.1 percent from deep. It’s his steady stroke from deep and natural slashing ability which made him the perfect complement to the Slovenian star. It’s these realities that would make it extra-tough for Rockets, as well as other teams, to try to lure in Hardaway Jr.

Despite this, the Rockets should keep their eyes peeled on the Hardaway situation. His playstyle and proven ability to adapt are exactly what the Rockets need at this point. Yes, the Rockets are still a rebuilding team. But any team, whether those who just pressed the reset button or those contending for a title, need a consistent offensive player who knows how to find his own groove.