The Houston Rockets and Jeremy Lin didn’t mix as well as folks hoped they would last year. That isn’t a biased assessment of how things went, and it shouldn’t be a particularly controversial one. Due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control, namely the players who became available after Lin was brought on board, Houston had to change up its initial gameplan.
It is what it is.
Because all we have to go on is last season, it’s difficult to make the case that Lin and James Harden will work together better in their second season than they did in their first. All of the same problems that existed then exist now, only on top of those issues, all involved now have to account for Dwight Howard and his touches, too.
Is it possible that Lin spent his summer practicing his threes and will accept a Ron Harper-esque role as Harden continues to have one of the highest usage percentages in the league? Sure, it’s possible. Is that where the smart money is, though? Nah.
Lin is a point guard, not a shooting guard. He’s a playmaker – and a good one at that. He just needs to be put in position to succeed, sort of like he was during the height of Linsanity under Mike D’Antoni. When he’s confronted with ball-dominating superstars, like Carmelo Anthony or Harden, he’s not as productive. When he’s free to roam and is simply playing with an even marginally talented big – he thrives.
That, most likely, is why Daryl Morey was looking to move Lin prior to the Howard signing becoming official. Unfortunately, he couldn’t make anything happen – so now Lin will likely remain with the Rockets until at least December. Players who were signed this summer can’t be moved until mid-December anyway, and it will give Houston the opportunity to assess what the ballclub looks like/needs before doing anything drastic.
When they’re finally ready to trade Lin, though, there are a handful of legitimate options. Yesterday we looked at how feasible a deal with the Atlanta Hawks was; today let’s examine the Boston Celtics.
The Celtics are in the middle of a mass rebuild right now, and they desperately need to give fans a reason to watch the games. Rajon Rondo is going to be out at the start of the season, and chances are Danny Ainge will try to move him at some point. Why? Mainly because Rondo, for all his talents, can be a pain to deal with. And the last thing a team with a young, developing coach needs is a guy poisoning the locker room and damaging his standing with the other players.
Lin would solve two problems for Boston: 1.) he’d provide the team with an exciting player worth watching, 2.) he can slip in for Rondo once the latter is dispatched elsewhere.
For Lin, the primary benefit is obvious. He can once again spearhead an offense without having a two-guard, or anyone else, cramping his style.
So, what would a deal for Lin look like? Well, there are two options.
Gerald Wallace is just a fill-in, by the way. You can literally throw any useless Celtic in and it’ll be the same result. The point is, if Boston wants to dump someone and Houston wants to shore up its bench, that’s a legitimate option.
Bottom line: Will this deal happen? It can, but it’s very complex. Three-team deals are notoriously difficult to pull off. Still, given the likelihood that the Celtics will need to trade Rondo, it would make a whole lot of sense for Lin and Rondo to be moved in the same deal. Where exactly they’ll end up, though, is anyone’s guess.