Jeremy Lin may see his last days in a Houston Rockets uniform when the organization made a move for center Dwight Howard and other players. The Dwight Howard signing comes at the same time when the team drafted dynamic point guard Isaiah Canaan and re-signed 3 point specialist Francisco Garcia. Sources indicate that Lin's tenure with the team may be in jeopardy after a poor 2012-2013 season in which he was replaced during stretches of the regular season by Toney Douglas and eventually by Patrick Beverley in the playoffs. His performance diminished considerably ever since James Harden was traded to the team. More often than not, Lin found himself playing "second fiddle" to Harden and became more of a defensive liability rather than an offensive force.
The Howard deal has intensified questions concerning Lin, who signed a 3 year/$25M deal, and his name has been linked to several trade rumors and part of Houston's plan to clear cap space in anticipation of signing the former Laker center to a long-term deal. Recently, Rockets center Omer Asik was so incensed after hearing his name linked to trade rumors that he asked Houston to trade him. Sources said that management has no plans to trade the 7 foot center.
The Rockets see more value in Asik, who had a productive regular season averaging 10 points and 11 rebounds during the regular season. By comparison, Jeremy Lin had a miserable season averaging 13.1 ppg and 6 assists followed by a terrible performance in the playoffs in which he averaged 4 ppg and 2 assists before bowing out due to injury.
His regular-season performance with the Rockets was nowhere near the level of excitement he created in that one month with the New York Knicks in February 2012 when he became a worldwide sensation. Lin has turned into a "shell of his former-self" and became a passive player preferring to become a facilitator alongside teammate James Harden. Gone from his repertoire was the the aggressive shooting-and-driving inside the paint player that was on full-display in Madison Square Garden. His current game has become turnover-prone and markedly inconsistent, showing flashes of brilliance on only a few occasions. Many critics suspect that opposing players have "figured him out" and have turned him into an average player at best.
|Jeremy Lin (second from left) sits on the Houston Rockets bench. (source wikipedia.org)|
The Houston Rockets have a talented duo in Dwight Howard and James Harden but they are looking for a third superstar to complete their version of the BIG 3. It seems logical that unloading the combined salaries of Asik and Lin totalling $16M would make sense. However, Houston sees Asik as a viable backup to Howard and Houston head coach Kevin McHale envisions the two becoming like the "twin towers" of Rockets' past when they had 7 foot Hakeem Olajuwon and 7 foot 4 inch Ralph Sampson playing together in 1983-1987.
The organization has already labeled draftee Canaan as their "point guard of the future." With the Houston Rockets stocked with point guards, that leaves Jeremy Lin the odd-man out.