Rockets agree to 4-year, $36M deal with Theis

  • Joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009
  • Covers the Dallas Cowboys and Dallas Mavericks
  • Appears regularly on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM

Center Daniel Theis has agreed to a four-year, $36 million deal with the Houston Rockets, agents Michael Tellem and Aaron Mintz told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Monday.

The Rockets will use their $8.28 million trade exception created in the Victor Oladipo deal with the Miami Heat to acquire Theis in a sign-and-trade with the Chicago Bulls, sources told ESPN. That allows the Rockets to keep their $9.5 million midlevel exception and creates a sizeable trade exception for the Bulls.

The Rockets anticipate that Theis, 29, will provide a veteran, defensive-minded presence to complement their young core led by No. 2 overall pick Jalen Green, Kevin Porter Jr. and Christian Wood.

Over the past two seasons, the 6-foot-8, 245-pound Theis has proven himself to be a versatile big man that — unless he’s going up against absolute bruisers like 76ers superstar Joel Embiid — can hold his own against opposing centers.

Theis competently stepped into the starting lineup in place of Al Horford with the Boston Celtics in 2019-20 and remained a key part of coach Brad Stevens’ rotation last season before he was dealt by the Celtics to get out of the luxury tax at the trade deadline. Theis then played both behind and alongside All-Star Nikola Vucevic in Chicago, showing off some of the versatility that made him so important to the Celtics as he helped them make the 2020 Eastern Conference finals.

Theis, a German with several seasons of professional experience in Europe before arriving in the NBA, averaged 9.4 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game over the past two seasons.

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