The logical thing to do after another early exit from the playoffs for the Houston Rockets? Getting rid of Kevin McHale, making James Harden understand that this team isn’t just about him and giving Jeremy Lin a bigger role in running the offense. However, the NBA isn’t the most logical of places at times, and there’s nothing from what’s happened over the last two years that suggests right decisions are what we should expect from this franchise.
What will happen? We’ll be hearing about trade rumors once again. About how the Houston Rockets, who are on the books for $8.5 million to Lin this season (Cap number) but are actually paying him $15 million, are looking for a third superstar or a different point guard. Morey has never said he wants to trade Lin. He doesn’t want to get rid of Asik, we know that. Kevin McHale has never said something good about Lin without being pressed into it by those asking the questions. The direction is quite clear.
Is this good for Lin? Depends on where he lands and what role he’ll be given. No matter what, no one is getting the best of Lin if their plan for the player is keeping him as an off-the-ball kind of part, a spot up shooter or anything else McHale tried to invent for him. Being a starter or bench player matters less if the minutes are right, and Lin is put in the right role.
The most talked about option for quite some time has been the one connecting the Rockets with Rajon Rondo, who has a $12 million expiring contract with him. Some have suggested a Lin-Asik deal to Boston, who are open to offers on Rondo but have yet to see one they like. Lin might become a starting point guard who gets to run an offense for the Celtics, although the team right now isn’t a very good one.
The Rockets? They have a defensive-minded guard next to Harden in Beverley. A player who doesn’t mind not touching the ball and waiting for the right moment to catch and shoot. Rondo might be a good defender when he wants to be, but he isn’t someone who makes any sense in an offense that already has the ball in the hands of one player for most of the time. That’s before going into the ego thing which might be less than science and confirmed facts, but connecting the dots of Rondo’s career do draw up a very clear picture.
There’s also an interesting option with George Hill from the Indiana Pacers. I’m not sure if this is just one of these offers that makes sense or one that’s actually being discussed. It makes sense money-wise, but it might not make sense for at least one of the sides. Hill doesn’t mind being a spot up kind of point guard, and he is a better defender than Lin. Lin might get the ball in his hands more than he does in Houston, and might actually help make the Pacers’ offense a bit less predictable and stagnant. With the right coach, he should also turn into a much more effective defender.
The Rockets are dreaming big, but are ignoring all the signs and clues they’ve been given. There’s something awfully wrong in the way this team has been built and in the man running the show on the sidelines. Regardless of what the decision does to Jeremy Lin’s career, the Rockets need a chance in concept and coaching, not players, to make them more than just a first round exit kind of team.