• According to Sean Deveney of Sporting News, the Houston Rockets have identified Al Horford as their top priority in free agency.

    Houston will have to join the club, as there should be lots of suitors for Horford on the open market. They’re also looking at Ryan Anderson as someone who can act as a deep threat and spread the floor.

    Horford would presumably take the place of Dwight Howard, and at first glance seems to be a much better fit for the Rockets than D12 was. While he’ll offer less in terms of sheer rim protection, Horford is still an effective defender and will do wonders spacing the floor for James Harden’s drives and kicks.

    Horford’s size also makes a slide over to power forward more feasible in the future, which opens up valuable minutes at center to help Clint Capela develop his game. Horford’s versatility makes him a strong fit for a number of teams, so competition will surely be fierce for the soon-to-be 30 year old.

    Anderson definitely presents a shooting upgrade for Houston, although his inclusion at Horford’s expense would make for some interesting schematic choices, at least defensively. The bulkier Horford could at least present a challenge for some of the larger, more traditional big men out there like DeAndre Jordan or Dwight Howard, while signing Anderson leaves those assignments to the currently wiry Capela.

    Either way, it looks like the Rockets will be looking for someone who can help space the floor this offseason as a way to boost the offense.

    Deveney also reports the Rockets are closing in on hiring their next coach, so we could see a new bench boss join Houston in the coming days.

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