• Carroll returned only $811,447 to Spurs after buyout
  • Spurs hardly put Carroll to good use
  • Rockets plan to use Carroll as special defensive stopper

Throughout his career, DeMarre Carroll is someone who could be an asset if utilized properly. Joining the San Antonio Spurs last summer, most felt that the 33-year-old could provide head coach Gregg Popovich and his boys added muscle upfront. Unfortunately, that never happened.

A look at shows Carroll playing in only 15 games, averaging only 2.2 points and 2.1 rebounds. Though he was never known to be a heavy contributor, these were contributions way below what he is capable of delivering. From the looks of it, it appears the 6-foot-6 small forward just failed to fit in with the Spurs.

Carroll agreed to a buyout recently with the Spurs. This paved the way for him to move to the Houston Rockets. However, ESPN singled out how the 27th overall pick of the 2009 NBA Draft surrendered less money compared to Pau Gasol. Last season, the Spaniard surrendered $2.5 million of his remaining $10.4 million deal to join the Milwaukee Bucks. Carroll was due $10.2 million and surrendered only $811,447.

The case of Carroll and Gasol is different but the curious part is why the Spurs agreed to such. Were they admitting that they miscalculated adding the small forward last summer? Or were they rushing to part ways with Carroll? Either way, the Spurs took quite a large-cap hit with some questions up in the air.

Carrol now hopes he can get more playing time with the Houston Rockets. Following the buyout, he and Jeff Green were added to fill out the remaining two roster spots. While both are proven players, Houston just made it clear that they are committed to playing small-ball the rest of the way.

Hopes are high that Carroll, despite his 6-foot-6 height, can help out on the defensive end. There is no question that he can be an asset on offense. But with stars like James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Eric Gordon firing away, Carroll needs to focus on defense to get head coach Mike D'Antoni's offensive machine off and running. He is expected to be given the tough task of guarding the star players of opposing teams.

Carroll has proven he can stand up to players like Paul George and LeBron James in the past. Ironically, both are key payers for the Los Angeles Clippers and the Los Angeles Lakers respectively - two of the favored teams in the NBA Western Conference. Hence, it appears the Rockets have something planned for the West powerhouses heading into the NBA playoffs.

DeMarre Carroll
NBA player DeMarre Carroll Getty Images | Rob Carr