Jeremy Lin Has 3 Months to Prove His Worth to Houston Rockets

| by Alex Groberman
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As a result of circumstances beyond his control, in less than a year, Jeremy Lin has gone from the Houston Rockets’ most notable free agent pick-up to the team’s most fascinating trade bait. Along the same lines, mostly because of factors that he has absolutely no impact on, despite the fact that Daryl Morey clearly wants to move him, Lin probably won’t be moved for at least the first few months of the upcoming 2013-14 NBA season.

While Houston made it known that they were open to moving Lin immediately before and after the Dwight Howard signing, they reportedly couldn’t get anyone to bite. That doesn’t necessarily mean nobody was interested – it just means the timing wasn’t right. Maybe certain squads had their eye on someone else, perhaps the asking price was too high, etc. You will recall, even though everyone knew the Orlando Magic would move Howard, it took months for the deal that ultimately shipped him out to materialize.

The problem now is that this is the NBA’s dead period. If nothing got done up to this point, chances are, it probably won’t get done before the season starts. That will give all involved a chance evaluate where their franchises are, as well as what moves need to be made in order to accomplish whatever their goal is. (Championship, playoffs, lottery, No. 1 pick, etc.)

Seeing as he couldn’t move Lin -- and Omer Asik -- when he wanted to, Morey will likely give the current roster some time to mesh. Then he’ll analyze the results and make whatever decisions he wants to make after that.

It’s been said time and again that Lin would have been a perfect fit for the Detroit Pistons. Instead they went out and acquired Brandon Jennings, who may be a better overall player than Lin, and even that is debatable, but who is absolutely a worse fit for that roster than Lin would have been.

As recently as this week, it was reported that Detroit would be open to trading Jennings for someone like Rajon Rondo. The reason they’re open to this move is because Joe Dumars realizes that Josh Smith’s awful shot selection doesn’t work especially well with Jennings’ awful shot selection. Detroit made the only move it could make given the circumstances, but they’re not in love with Jennings’ game. This much is clear.

A three-team deal between the Boston Celtics, Pistons and Rockets, in which Boston gets Jennings, Detroit gets Lin and Houston gets Rondo makes a whole lot of sense.

The only thing that can really throw a wrench in that prospective trade is Lin playing really well with Houston at the beginning of the season. Jennings, and everyone else who was brought on this summer, can’t be traded until Dec. 15. That means everybody has three months, more or less, to prove themselves to their respective teams.

On Tuesday, the NBA released its schedule for the upcoming season. The Rockets have arguably the easiest starting schedule of any ballclub in the league. Their only mildly challenging road outing in the first 16 games will be against the Los Angeles Clippers. Aside from that, they’re basically coasting until Nov. 30 when they take on the San Antonio Spurs on the road. If Morey sees his group get off to a really hot start, and if the lax schedule allows Lin to develop a rhythm of sorts with the starting lineup, then the seemingly inevitable trade may end up not being so inevitable after all.

Houston Rockets Early Season Schedule:

Oct. 30 Charlotte, 8 p.m.

Nov. 1 Dallas, 8 p.m.

Nov. 2 at Utah, 9 p.m.

Nov. 4 at L.A. Clippers, 10:30 p.m.

Nov. 5 at Portland, 10 p.m.

Nov. 7 L.A. Lakers, 9:30 p.m.

Nov. 9 L.A. Clippers, 8 p.m.

Nov. 11 Toronto, 8 p.m.

Nov. 13 at Philadelphia, 7 p.m.

Nov. 14 at New York, 8 p.m.

Nov. 16 Denver, 8 p.m.

Nov. 19 Boston, 8 p.m.

Nov. 20 at Dallas, 9:30 p.m.

Nov. 23 Minnesota, 8 p.m.

Nov. 25 at Memphis, 8 p.m.

Nov. 27 Atlanta, 8 p.m.

Nov. 29 Brooklyn, 8 p.m.

Nov. 30 at San Antonio, 8:30 p.m.