NBA Free Agency Rumors: Rockets Would Make Big Mistake Signing Jeremy Lin
The Rockets are in the market for a point guard after Dragic and the team were unable to negotiate a contract that worked out for both sides. Dragic was reportedly seeking a contract that would pay him a starting salary of $10 million. The Rockets wisely declined to make an offer that high and will likely watch Dragic walk.
However, the Rockets now have their eyes set on Jeremy Lin as a replacement and are reportedly willing to offer him the same $8 million deal that was offered to Dragic.
If Lin plays at the same level that he was able to play in his 25 game stretch as a starter for the New York Knicks last year, an $8 million price tag should be no problem at all. Unfortunately, without a large enough sample size, the Rockets are really rolling the dice with a Lin signing.
Not Enough Experience
Every year, teams make the same mistake in free agency; they overpay for an unproven commodity.
We've already seen it with the Rockets once this offseason. Chicago Bulls center Omer Asik is a good player. He's a tough rebounder, provides a defensive presence and every now and then he'll score some points. He's a good role player to have.
The fact that he's only played 13.2 minutes per game in his two NBA seasons and has only started twice should be enough to tell you that all he is at this point in his career is a role player. That didn't stop the Rockets from signing Asik to a massive 3 year $25 million deal that could come back to bite them.
Lin was without a doubt phenomenal at the height of Linsanity. At the very least he will at least pan out to be a serviceable bench player, but with one high-risk, high-reward signing on the roster and three rookies on the roster, can the Rockets really afford to sign someone that's not a sure thing?
Lowry is a Better Fit
For whatever reason, the Rockets don't seem to like point guard Kyle Lowry.
Despite leading the team in assists and steals and proving that he is a solid point guard, the team was rumored to have been shopping him in the draft and seem intent on finding a replacement. However, with the construction of the Rockets roster, Lowry is a better fit than Lin.
Lin's numbers in New York speak to the kind of player that he is. He is a point guard who needs the ball in his hands, will take a lot of shots and takes risks that will lead to turnovers. For better or worse, Lin plays recklessly.
His usage rate (which gives us a good idea of how much a player has the ball in his possession) according to John Hollinger's numbers was 27.6 in his 35 games with the Knicks last year. That's a rate only topped by Russel Westbrook, Derrick Rose, Deron Williams and Kyrie Irving. By comparison, Lowry's usage rate was 26th among NBA point guards.
Given that shooting guard Kevin Martin also likes to dominate the ball (9th in usage rate among shooting guards), it's hard to envision Lin's production is helped playing alongside Martin.
Cap Space is at a Premium
Are Rockets good enough to win now?
In today's NBA it seems like everyone is trying to jockey themselves in a position, financially, to go after the biggest free agents.
Offering a back-loaded contract to a player like Lin is counterintuitive to that style of thinking. For instance, if the Rockets want any chance at participating in a potential Dwight Howard sweepstakes next offseason they will need to either have a ton of cap room, or the assets needed to make a trade happen.
By bringing on Lin, the Rockets will be handcuffing themselves to a long-term deal that could wind up being a flop. GM Daryl Morey is one of the best in the business, but signing a highly-popular yet unproven guard isn't the most savvy thing to do for the Rockets at this point.
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