Rockets, Hayes hold talks

By JONATHAN FEIGEN (Houston Chronicle)
Updated: 2007-07-10 00:26

While the Rockets have made little progress in chasing a new power forward in free agency, they moved Friday toward keeping last season's starter.

Rockets general manager Daryl Morey and player agent Calvin Andrews, who represents Rockets forward Chuck Hayes, said after their initial meeting that they were confident that an agreement would be reached for Hayes to return.

"It went extremely well," Andrews said. "We didn't talk about specific numbers yet, but we're very optimistic he will be re-signed as a Rocket. He is at the stage he wants some security. But we are very optimistic things will work out."

The Rockets have the right to match any offers Hayes could receive as a free agent.

Hayes averaged 5.6 points and 6.7 rebounds, starting 43 of the 78 games he played last season.

"As a preliminary meeting, I thought it went well," Morey said. "We'll continue to go back and forth with them. We feel optimistic as well."

Andrews said he would like to see what else the Rockets do at the position to help Hayes have a better idea where he fits with the Rockets. Morey has also spoken with agents representing Darko Milicic, Joe Smith, Malik Allen, P.J. Brown and Mikki Moore but has not been negotiating to sign any of the free agents.

He said he has spent more time working on potential trades than with free agents.

Morey has had talks with David Falk about signing Rockets center Dikembe Mutombo, with Mutombo making it clear he wants to return to the Rockets for one more season.

He said that the contract for first-round pick Aaron Brooks is now with the lawyers, with the relative formality of signing Brooks expected before the Rockets leave for Las Vegas on Monday.

Morey said he does not expect to sign second-round pick Carl Landry until later in the summer after the team determines how it will use its midlevel exception.

Last season, the Rockets used some of their midlevel exception money to sign second-round pick Steve Novak after the summer league.

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