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Rockets Free Agency: Should Houston Re-Sign Bruno Fernando?

The Houston Rockets are looking for a big man to play behind Alperen Sengun and retaining Bruno Fernando could be their best option.

HOUSTON — The NBA will begin free agency on Thursday, and the Houston Rockets may not make a significant splash on the open market. 

The Rockets are still in the premature stages of a rebuild. And general manager Rafael Stone composed each off-season move with the idea of creating additional playing time for Houston's young corps.

Creating playing time is one of the reasons behind the trade that sent Christian Wood to the Dallas Mavericks on June 24. With Wood no longer in Houston, the Rockets will move forward with Alpern Sengun taking the helm starting at center next season

With Sengun moving into a full-time starting role, the Rockets will explore the market for a backup big. But Stone may not have to look far to find Sengun's replacement. 

Bruno Fernando appeared in 10 games for the Rockets down the stretch of last season and made a valid point as to why he should remain in Houston as a reserve.

"I am a firm believer in taking full advantage of the opportunity,” Fernando said after notching 17 points and 10 rebounds in a loss against the Sacramento Kings on March 30. "I have to stay professional. I have to come in and take care of what I have to do for the team. I just try to stay ready and take care of the opportunity when given to me." 

The Rockets acquired Fernando at the trade deadline in February. He was a part of the package that landed Houston Dennis Schroder from the Boston Celtics in exchange for Daniel Theis.

By retaining Fernando, the Rockets will have a chance to keep a vital piece of the defensive corps that assisted Houston's enhancements during the latter part of the season.  

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Fernando notched a team-best defensive net rating of 105.4, which led to the Rockets finishing the season ranked 21st in defense. Before his arrival, Houston possessed the league's worst defense.

"It just proves that you have to stay ready in this league," Kevin Porter Jr. said. "He got an opportunity, and we all know what Bruno can do. I've been familiar with Bruno. He's an energy guy who hustles and does the dirty work. Every team needs a player like Bruno."

Fernando became an enforcer in the middle by averaging 6.9 points and 4.0 rebounds on an average of 10.0 minutes a game. In the three games Fernando played 18 minutes or more, he averaged 15.0 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.0 blocks.

Outside of Sengun, the Rockets have a pair of big men on their roster in Usman Garuba and Boban Marjanovic. Marjanovic, who the Rockets acquired during their departure from Wood, could be released before the start of next season.

You can follow Coty Davis on Twitter @CotyDavis_24

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