Houston Rockets Shore Up Center Rotation, Sign Free Agent Veteran Boban Marjanovic

Boban is back. On Sunday, ESPN.com’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that free agent veteran center Boban Marjanovic was returning to the Houston Rockets on a one year contract. The deal takes the Rockets up to the league maximum 21 players allowed in the offseason pursuant to the league’s collective bargaining agreement. Marjanovic spent last season with the Rockets and is now entering his ninth season in the league. He has previously played with the San Antonio Spurs, Detroit Pistons, Los Angeles Clippers, Philadelphia 76ers, and Dallas Mavericks.

The terms of the contract were not announced, but it’s highly likely that the deal is close to the league’s veteran minimum given Marjanovic’s limited role on the team last season. In 31 games, the 7’3 big man averaged just 3.3 points and 1.9 rebounds in 5.5 minutes. With third-year prospect Alperen Sengun, and free agent acquisitions Jock Landale and Jeff Green already on the roster, it’s highly unlikely that Marjanovic cracks the Houston rotation this season. While the veteran big man has a deft touch inside, and of course, size, he is a liability on the defensive side of the court, particularly in the modern era where more is asked of centers and versatility is at a premium.

Marjanovic is a beloved figure leaguewide amongst players and fans and reportedly a positive presence in the lockerroom. That might have been why the Rockets favored a reunion.

Earlier in the summer, with ample cash to spend, the Rockets had pursued Milwaukee Bucks center Brook Lopez to fill their starting center spot, with a deal reportedly over $50 million. Lopez returned to the Bucks and Houston pivoted to Landale and Green. Sengun projects to be the opening day starter but it would come as a surprise to no one if the team opted to feature second year forward Jabari Smith Jr. at the position, particularly in closing lineups, due to his ability to spread the floor and defend the perimeter.

The signing Marjanovic is likely Houston’s last move of the summer.

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