Rockets Sign Former Thunder Starting Guard to 1-Year Deal

Getty Russell Westbrook and James Harden look to lead the Rockets to a title.

The Houston Rockets have added another veteran to their championship-hopeful roster.

As I reported earlier in the week, the Rockets invited six veteran free agents to minicamp in Las Vegas. You already knew they weren’t doing this to help these free agents keep in shape — they needed bodies on their roster. They found one in veteran Thabo Sefolosha, as they signed the former All-Defensive selection a one-year deal worth the minimum, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times.

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Sefolosha is a ‘Trusted’ Teammate of Harden and Westbrook

As Tim MacMahon of ESPN confirmed, the deal with Sefolosha is for one year. As MacMahon also details, he’s a “trusted” teammate of Russell Westbrook and James Harden.

Sefolosha has been in the NBA since the 2006-07 season and he has carved out a reputation as a defensive stopper on the perimeter. The 6-foot-7 guard is best known for his tenure with the Oklahoma City Thunder from 2009 until 2014, when he teamed up with Westbrook and Harden at the start of their careers.

As the team’s starting shooting guard, he helped lead the Thunder to the NBA Finals in 2012 and started 367 of the 368 games he appeared in with Oklahoma City at the time. He averaged 6.2 points and 4.1 rebounds in 26.7 minutes per game while converting on 44.8 percent of his attempts and 35.3 percent of his 3-point attempts during his tenure with OKC.

He most recently played for the Utah Jazz over the past two seasons, averaging 3.8 points in 12.2 minutes per game in 50 appearances last season.

In 13 seasons, the 35-year-old holds career averages of 5.9 points and 3.8 rebounds in 22.5 minutes per game while having appeared in 828 games and having started 475 of them. He entered the NBA as a member of the Chicago Bulls and has also played for the Atlanta Hawks.

Considering the 6-foot-7 Sefolosha is capable of playing either small forward or shooting guard, one can expect him to be slotted behind Gerald Green and fellow defensive stalwart P.J. Tucker on the depth chart at small forward.

Now that Sefolosha is under contract, Houston has 10 guaranteed contracts as they look to open training camp next week.

No Contract Extension for P.J. Tucker

General manager Daryl Morey is making one thing clear — no more contract extensions moving forward. Which means P.J. Tucker, who has a partially guaranteed deal through the 2020-21 season, won’t be signing his extension during the 2019-20 season.

“We’re open to the concept of extensions early. We have done it with players in the past. Normally, it’s the James Harden type players. We’re open to it,” Morey told Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. “That said, I have found you don’t really get to an agreement with what both sides are looking at to how the extension can work realistically until you are one year out. I wouldn’t expect any other extension from us this year, mostly because everyone is signed for multiple years.”

Tucker is owed a shade under $2.6 million guaranteed for the 2020-21 season, with the contract becoming fully guaranteed for $8 million if he’s on the roster past June 30, 2020.

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