If coach Kevin McHale was not lamenting the decision to cut Shaun Livingston before the season, Livingston gave him more reasons to believe the Rockets could have used him when they made that move.

Livingston, starting for the Cavaliers with Kyrie Irving out with a sprained left shoulder, made four of six first-half shots to score 12 points before cooling off.

That was likely enough, however, to remind McHale that he had hoped he would be doing that and offering some veteran guidance to the Rockets, but the Rockets kept rookie Scott Machado and his non-guaranteed contract.

“He’s a great guy,” McHale said. “Knows how to play. He’s past so much of the stuff he had to get past as a young player to be a team player. He just has a whole vibe about him that’s great.

“I was advocating very hard for his influence.”

Livingston said the Rockets “absolutely” made a decision based on his contract rather than his play.

Livingston, who returned with the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday, had just $1 million of the $3.5 million remaining on his contract guaranteed and was among the Rockets’ final cuts.

“I was not really surprised,” Livingston said. “There were rumors of that type of situation unfolding. It’s frustrating, but at the same time, it’s part of the business and it’s a part of being professional.

“It’s no secret that’s (Rockets general manager) Daryl Morey’s strategy, how he is known. He is very complex with the cap and how he does things. It could end up working out for the best for them. I’ve been a victim of circumstances this season. That’s been my theme this season.”