The Houston Rockets keep insisting that Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin aren’t on the trading block, but in order to get Dwight Howard, either through free agency or via a sign & trade, they’re more than likely to move at least one of them, with the Los Angeles Lakers becoming a bit more agreeable to the idea.
At the moment, the Rockets have $15 million available to spend in free agency, which gives them room for one maximum contract if they work the numbers right, but does push them deep into the luxury tax, most likely, in the future, especially when Chandler Parsons and Patrick Beverly, who they really want to keep for the long term, end their rookie deals.
But Dwight Howard doesn’t seem content with just playing next to James Harden or Jeremy Lin. He feels that in order to win titles, which he argues is his main goal, the Rockets need another All-Star caliber player, like a good friend of his, Josh Smith.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Lakers are getting used to the idea that they might end up as the losers in a free agency battle for a player that actually played for them last season. Bad luck, age and bad deals make them not-so-desirable for next season, and the mantra of letting Howard go for nothing is beginning to change in Los Angeles, fearing a catastrophic season in 2013-2014 isn’t such an unbelievable scenario.
So getting two players like Lin and Asik, both young, with two more years on their contract for $8.3 million a season isn’t such a bad deal. It keeps the Lakers among the top 8 in the West, although it doesn’t clear the kind of cap space they might have been hoping for in 2014. At the moment, the Lakers have only one player signed going into the 2014-2015 season (Steve Nash at $9.7 million), and who knows, he might decide to retire by then.
Anyway, adding Lin and Asik, even though it might not be the best scenario for both of them but especially Lin, who is looking for a team to give him a chance and the reins to be a dominant point guard without having the share the ball too much with someone like Kobe Bryant/James Harden or court time with Steve Nash, doesn’t sound like such a bad idea, in terms of quality or cap flexibility.
And then there’s the Hawks option. The Houston Rockets, if rumors are true, need to add him along for the ride in order to convince Dwight Howard to sign with them. Without making a trade for both Asik & Lin happen, Smith isn’t going to come.
In order to get both of them, the Rockets will have to pull the trigger on this trade, which they might not have been sure of when this offseason began, but considering their roster and all the personnel involved, is likely the best outcome to turn them into contenders right away next season, although it leaves them with some questions regarding their bench and the point guard position.