Jeremy Lin, Omer Asik to Join Hawks, Cavaliers, Celtics or Pelicans?

| by Alex Groberman

The Houston Rockets are 16-9 through 25 games. While they may not be threatening the Chicago Bulls’ 72-10 mark, for a team that underwent some major changes during the summer, this group doesn’t look half bad. If Kevin McHale were just allowed to take the roster, as presently constructed, and let it mesh until the postseason arrives – the Rockets could be a legitimate threat to win the West.

Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen.

Omer Asik, 27, has been a big whiny baby ever since Dwight Howard was signed earlier this year. Unlike Jeremy Lin, who handled being sent to the bench like a champ, he pouted and complained to the point where McHale felt as though he was obligated to start Asik beside Howard. Predictably, that failed. When Asik was relegated to the bench, he turned the petulance up a notch. Needless to say, at that point Daryl Morey made dealing him a top priority.

Because Asik’s trade value has never been lower, the common wisdom is that the Rockets may have to throw in Jeremy Lin in any potential trade. With reports surfacing this past week that the Boston Celtics have emerged as a very real contender to acquire Asik, the Lin speculation makes even more sense.

The four teams rumored to be in the sweepstakes are the Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Atlanta Hawks and New Orleans Pelicans. Of that group, Lin and Asik to Boston makes the most sense. The Cavaliers are reportedly willing to part with Anderson Varejao, but they wouldn’t really need Lin. The Hawks would love to bring in both Lin and Asik – plus they’ve had their eye on Asik since this summer. And the Pelicans are involved only because the Rockets desperately want Ryan Anderson, but there is zero indication that New Orleans would be willing to make that move.

We’ve been harping on how much sense Asik and Lin-to-Boston makes since the offseason. Don’t be shocked if that’s the deal that ultimately gets put together.