The Houston Rockets will hold on to Jeremy Lin until at least mid-December. Despite Kevin McHale’s well-documented inability to put his one-time prized free agent acquisition in position to succeed, and regardless of how Lin feels about essentially having to marginalize his skill set just because his backcourt mate needs the ball at all times too, this is the hand they were dealt.
Houston tried to move Lin right around the time they brought in Dwight Howard, but they ultimately weren’t able to do so. That means they’ll ride this current roster into the regular season and see how things play out. If Lin magically adjusts his game to Harden’s, despite the fact that it would require him completely changing up his style – problem solved. Nobody has to be traded. If that doesn’t happen, though, then changes will need to be made. And seeing as Harden is the one with a max deal, the changes won’t be impacting him.
Assuming Dec. 15 comes and the Rockets decide they want to move Lin, where can they send him? Today we’ll look at the Charlotte Bobcats.
The Bobcats made something of a splash this summer when they signed Al Jefferson and re-signed Gerald Henderson. Whereas they get the latter at a good rate, the dough Michael Jordan and Co. shelled out for the former was a bit excessive. At the same time, you can’t really blame them. Charlotte isn’t known for reeling in big; much as is the case with the Detroit Pistons and Sacramento Kings, if the Bobcats want above average players, they’ll need to overpay. If anything, their willingness to give Jefferson more than he’s worth is actually a good thing.
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It’s a sign that Jordan is tired of his franchise being a laughing stock.
Obviously rebuilding through the draft isn’t an option for them, given his track record, so free agency is the way to go.
Which brings us to Lin. Charlotte has the pieces to acquire the 24-year-old without needing a third team’s involvement. It would look something like this:
The pieces don’t have to be those exactly, but it would make sense for all sides if they were.
Now, the obvious question here is: why would Charlotte trade for a starting point guard when they already have Kemba Walker?
Simply put, because Walker hasn’t really proven all that much yet. Sure he had a nice little season last year. That being said, if you stack his 36 minute totals next to Lin’s, he is a slightly better scorer and a slightly worse passer.
What the stats don’t tell you, however, is the fact that Walker did his damage on a team with no legitimate offensive playmakers to demand the ball. The Rockets, meanwhile, even without Howard, were stacked. For comparison’s sake: Walker’s usage percentage was 25.6; Lin’s usage percentage was 20.8.
Off the court, what Lin provides that Walker doesn’t is a brand name and a recognizable face you can build around. If Lin could handle the bright lights of New York at 23, he can handle Charlotte.
As far as Ramon Sessions – he’s coming off the best year of his career. This is when you sell. As he proved with the Los Angeles Lakers, he’s not a starting point guard in the NBA. He’s a quality back-up. That’s it. Move him to Houston, shift Patrick Beverley into the starting role, have Sessions come off the bench, and you have a great fit for all involved.
At the end of the day, will this deal go down? Who knows. It all depends on how Houston looks right around Christmas, how Walker plays to start the year and whether Lin stays healthy or not. But if Lin does get moved, outside of the Detroit Pistons, this would probably be the best landing spot for him.