The Houston Rockets reportedly reached a verbal agreement more than a month ago to sign veteran NBA center Willie Cauley-Stein. 

Yet, with training camp for the 2022-23 season only a few days away, he still isn’t actually on the roster, which remains full.

There’s a very plausible reason for the delay. While Houston reportedly has no plans for three of the players

(Trey Burke, Sterling Brown, and Marquese Chriss) acquired from Dallas for salary matching purposes in the Christian Wood trade

 and could easily release one to clear a roster spot, if needed,

they are now eligible to again be used as trade matching salary — this time, by the Rockets

So, for general manager Rafael Stone, it makes sense to exhaust any trade possibilities before cutting one (or more) of

 that trio and signing a new player, whose salary would be ineligible to be dealt until midseason. 

The only hard deadline is just prior to the Oct. 19 start of Houston’s regular season,

which is when the current NBA offseason roster limit of 20 players shrinks to 15 plus two two-way contracts.