The Houston Rockets are currently 8-5 on the year, good for third place in the Southwest division. That record isn’t exactly what fans were hoping for when the team signed Dwight Howard this summer, but it’s a little too early to make any definitive statements about what’s to come. Regardless of how you feel about Howard and the way Houston has been playing, though, this much is indisputable: Jeremy Lin has been fantastic this season.
Lin, 25, had something of a rough year in 2012 while trying to balance the expectations that came with his new, much larger contract and multiple nagging injuries. This year, healthy and alleviated of the stress that comes with being in the starting lineup, the Harvard product has been the Rockets’ most notable bright spot.
So far, through 13 games, Lin is averaging 16.3 points on 51 percent shooting – both career highs. Better yet, he’s doing his damage in 31 minutes per game – only one fewer than what he played last year.
Unfortunately, instead of being able to revel in Lin’s improved play this season, Kevin McHale and Co. have had to deal with Omer Asik.
You will recall, almost as soon as Howard was brought on board this summer, Asik demanded a trade. Rockets brass was able to placate him for a while, but now the 27-year-old big man is banging that same drum again. He wants out.
Earlier this week, Frank Isola of the NY Daily News suggested that a possible trade might occur between the Boston Celtics and Rockets. Essentially, the latter team would get Rajon Rondo plus contracts and the former would get Asik, Lin plus an assortment of spare parts.
Does that deal make sense? Well, sort of. Lin and Asik would get their own team, exactly what they were promised prior to James Harden and Howard coming to Houston. The Celtics would get a couple of quality starters for a rebuilding team and be relieved of having to deal with Rondo’s moodiness on a losing squad. The Rockets would get a starting point guard worthy of a championship contender.
However, the deal has its fair share of negatives as well. Why would the Celtics want to trade a relatively young guy who is among the league’s best point guards? You trade away old players during a rebuild, not young ones. And on Houston’s end: the beauty of starting Patrick Beverley and having Lin come off the bench is that they mesh so well in those roles. If you bring in Rondo, Beverley goes to the bench again, which leaves you in a similar predicament to the one that plagued you last year. And who even knows if a Rondo-Harden backcourt would work better than a Lin-Harden one did.
The bottom line is, out of all the possible Rondo deals floating around right now, this makes the most sense. Does that mean it will actually come to fruition, though? Time will tell.