Houston Rockets: Team should give their mid-level exception to Kevon Looney

Free agent center Kevon Looney, a target of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images)
Free agent center Kevon Looney, a target of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Houston Rockets reportedly have interest in center Kevon Looney. Regardless of future trade, he should be offered the mid-level exception Why? Look.

Houston Rockets fans — we’ve made it!  The suspense that has been carrying us for nearly two months will likely be coming to an end as we’re going to likely have our answers as to how this team will look over the next few days.

Free agency opens up at 5 p.m. CDT today, which is part of some rule changes the NBA has made in regard to such a frenzied start of the season.  As you know, the free agency period used to open up at midnight July 1st so this means that NBA free agents, executives and staff were up in the wee hours trying to work to get a deal done.

They’re already doing that anyway preparing for free agency but why not have it earlier so the fans — as well as the media — have an opportunity to immerse themselves in what is now a highly-publicized event.

The Houston Rockets have been riding the waves of free agency/trade rumors for quite some time now and it’s anybody’s guess how this offseason shakes out.  But we’ll be lending our ears to each move that this franchise makes, whether we agree with it or not.

Marc Stein of the New York Times recently reported that the Houston Rockets have interest in center Kevon Looney, who his entire career thus far has been with the Golden State Warriors.

Looney, a first-round pick in 2015 NBA Draft, is now a free agent and as I expected he’s getting offers from other teams.

I just didn’t think the Houston Rockets would be putting in a bid for his services. But when you think about it, it makes sense.

Looney outplayed Clint Capela in the Western Conference semifinals.  He also out-hustled him as well, just being a step quicker in Capela on the boards but neutralizing Capela’s effectiveness in the series.

I think that moment made an impact on the Houston Rockets’ staff tremendously.

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I’m positive Capela will bounce back but I’d imagine it would be embarrassing to have a counterpart that makes eight times less than myself, make me look like a fool out there.  But it’s a learning process and he’ll grow from it but who knows if that will be with the Houston Rockets.

Looney is a grinder in every sense of the word, he dives for loose balls, he crashes the boards and he just has that innate edge that Capela misses at times.

He is a terrific defender – his defensive rating was 109 this past season and 106 back in 2017-18.  It was at a whopping 103 back in 2016-17!

If a trade were to be facilitated to clear out cap room for Jimmy Butler, Capela is definitely going to be in any deal made to do so.

But here’s what the Houston Rockets should do to sign Looney.

They should give their mid-level exception that’s going to be worth between $5 to $9 million to Looney for this season so that way his salary is not viewed as a cap charge to bring him in.  Regardless of what Butler decides to do, Looney is a player worthy of it.  Butler is going to be expensive and you need cost-effective players that can give similar production as Capela.

He’s only 23-years-old and he still has even more growth in his career.  Now the naysayers will bring up the argument that he was good because of the Warriors’ system but the Houston Rockets‘ style of play is quite similar with just a tad less ball movement.

Next. Two teams most likely to trade for Clint Capela. dark

He can thrive with the Houston Rockets and I think his best years of professional basketball are in front of him.  We’ll find out if Looney will be inked later today so it’s time to stay tuned!

Looney averaged 6.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.5 assists while shooting 62.5 percent from the field 61.9 percent from the charity stripe through 80 games — 24 starts — this past season.