In an offseason where they've managed to check off most of the boxes on their "to do" list and then some, the Houston Rockets handled what should be one of their last pieces of outstanding business, signing veteran guard Jason Terry to a one year offer at the veteran's minimum worth $1.5 million.
Terry will be 38 years old when the 2015-2016 season begins, and obviously with the players that the Rockets have brought back (Patrick Beverley) and traded for (Ty Lawson), his role on this season's team is about as "reserve" as "reserve" gets. Last season, Terry averaged around seven points in 21 minutes per game, but wound up starting during the postseason when Patrick Beverley went down with an injury to the wrist on his non-shooting hand late in the regular season.
Terry flashed well at times during the postseason, including his crucial role in the fourth quarter of the turning point Game 6 win over the Clippers in Los Angeles, playing the entire fourth quarter of what ended up being a 19 point comeback, and hitting the final exclamation point three pointer in a double digit victory. Terry was crucial all season long in bringing some toughness and leadership to a team that needed an injection of both after a first round loss in the 2014 playoffs to the Trail Blazers.
According to RealGm, Terry's agent had conversations with the New Orleans Pelicans and Utah Jazz, but ultimately Terry saw Houston as his best chance to win and liked the cohesion he's built with the Rockets organization in his one season with the team. Terry has made over $103 million in salary during his 17 seasons in the league, so it's safe to assume that money was not entirely crucial to his decision.
Here are the two biggest roles Terry will fill:
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1. Beverley insurance
Patrick Beverley has missed big chunks of every season that he's been with the Rockets due to injury, so depth in the backcourt is essential. Thanks to the trade for Ty Lawson, Terry is probably not as close to becoming an integral, major-minutes part of the rotation as he may have been last year should Beverley go down, but still, you know what you're getting from Terry if he has to pick up the slack in Beverley's absence. Speaking of Lawson….
2. Lawson mentor
We all know Ty Lawson has problems, with two DUI's in six months and a stint in rehab under his belt. Lawson will likely have to serve some sort of suspension to start the season, so functionally Terry becomes an important piece to play some more minutes in those games Lawson misses. However, the bigger picture will require Lawson to surround himself with good people who can help him be a better person. Terry can be one of those guys.
All in all, with as little money as there is involved, this deal with Terry is one of those sneaky deals that, like after Game 6 against the Clippers, you'll probably wind up saying at some point during the season, "it's a good thing they re-signed Jason Terry."
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