In addition to the Utah Jazz, I'll be keeping a close eye on the machinations of the Houston Rockets in the next month or two. Much of what they could do has potential ramifications on the Boston Celtics.
They've already started the ball rolling by indicating their intention to waive the dirt-cheap option on Chandler Parsons, thus making him a restricted free agent. While that sounds counter-productive, the move is being made to give themselves the flexibility to sign him to a big extension or sign-and-trade him for value in return. If they had picked up the last year of his contract he would have been an unrestricted free agent after the season and they'd lose any ability to match offers.
The Rockets owner seems to be intent on getting another star player this summer. Someone like Carmelo Anthony or Kevin Love for instance.
In one scenario, Houston could secure three max-out players – including Howard, Harden and a potential star free agent – and then re-sign Parsons to an extension below the max-level range. Parsons could command in the $12 million to $13 million annual range, league executives tell Yahoo Sports.
The Celtics would also like to make some fireworks of their own, so they have competition in the Rockets.
Ironically the two teams can also mutually benefit by working together.
Ideally, the Rockets would be able to shed Omer Asik's expiring contract to a team with cap space and get far enough under the cap to try and sign one of the top free agents outright, while either negotiating an extension with Parsons or matching an offer afterwards.
The Celtics could use their Trade Exception to absorb Asik's contract without additional money going to Houston, which would allow them to move forward on Carmelo Anthony. In theory, that would also be one less suitor for Kevin Love as well.
The other scenario is Parsons being sign-and-traded for the third star that Alexander Covets. They have all of their future first round picks to pair up with, along with the expiring contracts of Asik and Lin. That could be appealing the Minnesota Timberwolves who may or may not try to move Love soon, depending on the time of day seemingly.
So you see, there are moves and counter-moves that will take place this summer.
Also, I suppose it is worth pointing out that the Rockets also have been known to be interested in Rajon Rondo. As early as a few months ago there was a rumor floating around that included Chandler Parsons being part of an offer for Rajon. Setting Parsons free to determine his own price clearly would make any such deal a lot harder now.
I don't know exactly what is going on in Houston, but they are a team to watch right now.