Sources: Rockets not picking up Garcia team option

Sources: Rockets not picking up Garcia team option
May 13, 2013, 6:00 pm
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(Mark D. Smith - USA Today Images)

NBA sources have confirmed the Rockets are not picking up Francisco Garcia's team option for next season.

If they had decided otherwise, the Rockets would've been on the hook to pay Garcia $6.4 million dollars. Now, they can try to bring Garcia back for less money. At the same time, the eight-year veteran can look elsewhere if he feels he is a better fit on another team.

This season, Garcia averaged 5.5 points. He averaged 6.4 points in 18 regular-season games after coming over from Sacramento along with Thomas Robinson and Tyler Honeycutt in the trade that saw Patrick Patterson, Toney Douglas, and Cole Aldrich head out west. Garcia's role and production escalated in the playoffs. In the first-round matchup with the Thunder, Garcia was elevated into a starting role and was a key in the Rockets' defensive matchups with Kevin Durant. He also led the Rockets in three-point shooting. His play was especially needed given the Rockets' desire to space the floor and with the injuries suffered in the series by both Jeremy Lin and Carlos Delfino.

In six postseason games, Garcia bumped his averages up to 10.7 points and hit 17-37 threes, a 45.9 percent clip. His outside shooting during the postseason surpassed any regular-season numbers he has ever had in his eight NBA years.

Even with his postseason performance, the Rockets have been carefully crafting their salary structure to possibly bring in another max player. It likely remains to be seen what the Rockets will do on that front before they make moves to fill out the rest of the roster for next season.

Whatever happens with Garcia, it's clear his impact on the team was felt. Chandler Parsons often talked about how Garcia was one of his favorite people in the world. Kevin McHale also appreciated Garcia's presence.

"Yeah, he played great," McHale said after the season was done. "He's a great guy. I think everyone in this locker room really likes him. I know the staff loves him. The players really like being around him. A lot of guys emerged. He did a great job."

The love was mutual.

"It was an honor to play for an organization like this," Garcia said on the day he cleaned out his locker. "I enjoyed every second that I played here, just like I told the coaches and everybody here. Hopefully, I'll be back next year and I really love the team and the concept here."