It is a fairly safe bet that neither the Houston Rockets nor Boston Celtics will not commit to any trades before Dec. 15. The rules stipulate that all teams are prohibited from dealing players that were signed over the preseason until mid-December, hence general managers usually waiting until early January before pulling the trigger on any deal.
That being said, trade buzz starts well before December. Sometimes the gossip is just that – pointless gossip. Sometimes it’s gossip that is somewhat rooted in fact, but still unlikely to come to fruition. And then sometimes the gossip isn’t just aimless speculation.
Omer Asik was not happy about the arrival of Dwight Howard, for obvious reasons. He knew that no matter how hard Kevin McHale tried, the likelihood of him being able to get the same opportunities this year as he did last were slim. Surely enough, Asik’s totals have nosedived this year. Through nine games, most of which he’s started, he’s averaging five fewer points and four fewer rebounds per game. To be fair: he’s also played ten fewer minutes. However, that doesn’t explain the dropoff entirely.
Asik made it clear immediately after the Howard trade that he wanted to be dealt elsewhere. This week, those rumors popped up again. Right around the same time, Frank Isola of the New York Daily News published a juicy bit of speculation about the Rockets possibly being in the Rajon Rondo sweepstakes. According to him, a package of Asik, Jeremy Lin, and assorted parts can be sent to Boston in exchange for Rondo and presumably a bad contract or two.
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The other offer the Celtics reportedly have on the table, in case anyone is wondering, is positively awful: Amar’e Stoudemire, Raymond Felton and Iman Shumpert. Two terrible players and an injury-prone youngster who you can’t build around. Would you rather have that or Asik and Lin?
Obviously the Rockets don’t want to part ways with Lin now, after they realized how great he could be in a reserve role. However, will they let that stop them from pursuing one of the three best point guards in the league? Probably not.
This could be great for Lin, too. Sure he found something of a sweet spot coming off the bench, being able to control the offense without James Harden disrupting his flow and whatnot. But he’d be able to do the same thing, only in the starting lineup, in Boston.
Basically, with the Celtics Lin and Asik could play the parts McHale initially promised them they could play in Houston prior to the Harden trade and Howard signing.
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Will Rondo-to-Houston happen? We’re still a long ways away from mid-December. But of all the rumors out there, this makes the most sense.