2018 Free Agency

Luc Mbah a Moute still hoping to remain with Houston Rockets

Last season, Luc Mbah a Moute proved to be a key piece to the Houston Rockets’ run to a franchise-record 65 wins. The reserve forward known for his hustle boasted the Houston’s highest Defensive Rating among its regular rotation players (101.2) and averaged 7.5 points per game, his highest mark in three seasons.

The Rockets reportedly lost starting forward Trevor Ariza early in free agency to the Phoenix Suns, making the re-signing of Mbah a Moute critical for Houston now. Mbah a Moute, an unrestricted free agent, recently told Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle that he is hoping to stay with the Rockets:

“Of course, I want to be here, yeah,” Mbah a Moute said. “I think we had a great year last year. I had a good year. The team did great, a game away from the Finals. Hopefully, we’ll bring everybody back. I know Trevor (Ariza) left. But to bring everybody else back and have the same team and try to go at it again, (that) is what I’m hoping to do. We’ll see what happens.”

Mbah a Moute is an unrestricted free agent after one season with the Rockets as a key part of the rotation off the bench. The Rockets do not have Bird rights to sign him, so they would be limited to their mid-level exception, up to $5.3 million, and could want to use some of that money to help fill out the roster.

Keeping Mbah a Moute was always going to be a challenge after signing him for a veteran’s minimum contract last season, but he has become more important after Ariza’s deal with the Phoenix Suns. Less clear is what the market will be, with Ariza agreeing to a one-year, $15 million contract and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope getting $12 million, Anthony Tolliver $6 million and Jeff Green $2.3 million.

“It’s a tough market,” Mbah a Moute said. “I’m still waiting, trying to weigh my options, see what happens. We’ll see. This is still day five, six. It’s what I saw coming. Hopefully, we get something done.”

A shoulder injury kept Mbah a Moute out of the Rockets’ first-round series with the Minnesota Timberwolves, but he returned in the Western Conference semifinals against the Utah Jazz. He played in nine playoff games for Houston, averaging 2.8 points and 2.4 rebounds in 16.6 minutes per game.

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