There are two popular theories when it comes to Jeremy Lin’s future with the Houston Rockets. The first basically centers on the fact that, despite all the hype, the only thing that really slowed Lin down last year were his injuries and first year jitters. Rockets GM Daryl Morey is a proponent of this idea, as he made abundantly clear during last Friday’s Reddit AMA session. If you buy into Morey’s way of thinking, presuming Lin remains healthy, it’s all smooth sailing from here.
The second theory, the admittedly more pessimistic one, is based on the idea that Lin wasn’t as successful as some thought he would be with the Rockets not because of his injuries or inexperience, but because of his fit with the team. Folks who buy into that idea, who think that so long as he is forced to play second-fiddle to James Harden and is constantly put in positions where he won’t be successful, believe that that a trade is inevitable.
If you accept the general premise that’s sooner or later Houston will have to move the team’s biggest free agent signing from last season, it’s also important to acknowledge that the options are limited. The Los Angeles Lakers might’ve made for an interesting partner in a sign-and-trade for Dwight Howard, but that never materialized because Jim Buss and Co. are clearing cap space for next year. Similarly, the Detroit Pistons would have probably loved to pair Lin with Josh Smith, but the Rockets’ slowness to move forced Joe Dumars to opt for Brandon Jennings instead. Thus far we’ve examined the Boston Celtics, Atlanta Hawks and Charlotte Bobcats as potential destinations, however, for one reason or another, none really fit.
Today, we’ll look at the Philadelphia 76ers. While the Sixers haven’t been mentioned as potential suitors for Lin’s services to date, the squad is comically thin at point guard. Plus, after last year’s failed Andrew Bynum experiment, they also have no franchise player to build around. At this point it’s a double whammy for Philly management – not only will they fail to compete for a title, they’ll also be boring as hell to watch.
Lin could solve at least one of those problems. While he obviously isn’t capable of single-handedly turning any team into a championship contender, as he proved with the New York Knicks, he’s a capable playmaker when you allow him to dominate the ball. At the very least, he’d make things interesting for fans next year at a reasonably affordable price.
What would a Rockets-Sixers swap look like? Something like this, probably:
Jason Richardson is filler. He could provide some instant offense for Houston off the bench, but he could be replaced in this by anyone.
At the end of the day, will this happen? It’s hard to say. Unlike the other potential trades, there haven’t even been any murmurs about this one. Then again, who was talking about the Kevin Garnett, Paul Piere and Jerry Terry to the Brooklyn Nets deal before it happened? Or Pau Gasol to the Lakers? Or any of the other notable trades in recent years that didn’t involve Dwight Howard?
This move makes sense for all involved. Whether it’ll actually go down or not remains to be seen.