Marqus Blakely signed a three year, non-guaranteed contract with the Houston Rockets early yesterday morning. Blakely immediately flew into Minneapolis for the Rockets season finale so that he could, well, ride the bench for the evening. What does this all mean? It means at least one NBA team, and probably others, are interested in Blakely's future services. Does it mean we can expect to see him in a Rockets uniform next year? Absolutely not.
Blakely-- who is attempting to become the first UVM alumnus to play in an NBA game -- would need to make the Rocket's fifteen man squad at the end of next season's training camp for his contract to become solidified. This is the same deal that Blakely faced toward the end of training camp last summer, with the Los Angeles Clippers. He was the last man cut by the Clippers and played the 2010-11 season with the Bakersfield Jam and Iowa Energy of the NBDL.
It is significant that the Rockets made this decision just before their season came to a close (they finished ninth in the West at 43-39, so they will not be in the playoffs): it means they want Marqus to be working out with other Houston players this summer. This could help him impress his peers and coaches and give him an advantage over potential summer signees he will be competing against for a spot on the team in preseason camp.
One reason we shouldn't get too excited about seeing Blakely in a Rocket's jersey next season is due to the impending NBA lockout. Personally, I have trouble believing there will not be an NBA season played next year. I have a similar amount of trouble believing there will not be an NFL season next year. But people who know what they're talking about more so I seem to think there will be a lockout, so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt.
Meanwhile, Marqus Blakely and his devout followers will await the day we can finally don an NBA jersey with his name on the back. Now that will be some sweet stuff.