The Houston Rockets declined to exercise options on their four lottery picks from the 2009 NBA Draft, making Hasheem Thabeet, Jonny Flynn, Terrence Williams and Jordan Hill free agents following the 2011-12 season. The move is expected to clear cap space should the Rockets pursue a max contract player like Deron Williams or Dwight Howard after the season.
The move is not a total surprise considering that Hill is the only player among the four actually contributing any minutes at the moment. Thabeet,Flynn and Williams are all mired deep on the depth chart, and would appear to need significant injuries ahead of them before making an impact again on the court.
Depending on what the Rockets do in the 2012 NBA Draft, they could have between $17 million and $22 million available next summer, enough to make them players in what should be another competitive free agency period.
For more on the Rockets, head over to the SB Nation blog The Dream Shake.