It hasn’t been the dream rookie campaign for fifth overall pick, Thomas Robinson, already changing teams once in his short career. This summer might be a second time, as the Houston Rockets want to clear some cap space in order to get Dwight Howard in free agency.
At the moment, the Rockets are scheduled to be $18 million under the cap, but with Howard looking to get (and will be getting) a maximum deal, his first year salary for any team he chooses to sign for, and predictions are that if he doesn’t stay with the Lakers, it’ll be Houston, is going to be $20,513,178 for the season. That’s why the Rockets need to move someone around, and Robinson fits the bill.
The question of Robinson being a bust isn’t ready to be answered yet. Yes, you expect a bit more from a fifth round pick, who gave his teams only 4.8 points and 4.5 rebounds on 18 minutes a night, with a few problems that need clear fixing evident from day 1. But Robinson has potential to be a much more significant player for the next team (or even the Rockets) that gets him as long as he works hard this summer on adding a bit more to his game on both offense and defense.
Robinson is going to make $3.5 million next season, which makes him the perfect candidate for a trade, as the Rockets are once again trying to load up on draft picks (which was why the trade for Robinson during the season was made at all) while clearing space to make themselves competitive in the free agency market. Some suggested that they’ll probably be trying more for 2014 and not go for any of the expensive free agents in the 2013 market (Howard, Josh Smith, Chris Paul), but with Howard looking for a good excuse to bolt from LA, the Rockets are inclined to try and make that work.
Even if it doesn’t, they don’t lose a too valuable piece for their current growth, although who knows if they’ll regret it later. It’ll also give them some chance to get other players, not necessarily stars, to add some depth to the team as they hope to be more than just a first round postseason team in 2013-2014. There’s also the option of releasing Francisco Garcia, with a team option on his 2013-2014 year (final contract year) worth $6.4 million.