The Houston Rockets have been looking to trade Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik since before the season started.
When Dwight Howard was initially brought in, Asik made it clear that he had no interest in playing second-fiddle to the new best big man on the team. Kevin McHale tried to make it work by starting both at the same time, but they never really meshed.
Along the same lines, even though Lin has been a pleasant surprise for Houston all year long, his defensive question marks and inability to play to his full potential beside a ball-dominating two-guard like James Harden has always made him a tradable piece.
To date, the biggest problem Houston has had while seeking out trade partners is finding someone who would be willing to acquire sizeable salaries for players that are good, but not great. In an NBA where everyone is saving up cap space to sign a big name free agent, blowing your dough on Lin and Asik doesn’t make much sense.
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One destination that has always seemed very logical for Lin and Asik has been Boston. The Celtics are knee deep in a rebuild right now, and both guys would be able to make immediate impacts. Danny Ainge has been accepting garbage from teams for the past year, so it’s not like he’s saving his cap space for LeBron James.
About a month ago, the Rockets came very close to trading Asik to Boston – but ultimately that deal fell apart. According to Sporting News, that trade probably isn’t going to happen before the deadline. Moreover, it’s unlikely that Asik and Lin will be moved anywhere at this point.
“It is a tough sell to bring something like that to your owner,” one league executive told Sporting News. “You have got to tell him, ‘We’re getting a pretty good player, an $8 million player. Oh, but we have to pay him $15 million. We will be giving him LeBron (James) money. That’s OK, right?’ That’s not really a conversation you want to have.”
For what it’s worth, there are worse problems to have than being able to call Lin your point guard. The 25-year-old is one of the most talented offensive players in the league. And if he ultimately helps Houston win a title this year, nobody will remember the fact that Daryl Morey has been trying to get rid of him since before Howard was officially signed.