The 2012 NBA offseason was one of legendary proportions. The 2012 NBA draft saw six Kentucky teammates selected by night's end, while free agency saw players such as Ray Allen, Jason Terry and Jeremy Lin sign elsewhere.
Leaving no pause between the high-profile relocations, we as an NBA nation then became awestruck by the trades made before opening day.
Two-time MVP Steve Nash, three-time Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard and All-Stars Joe Johnson and Andre Iguodala were all sent to new franchises. Never one to allow the veterans to outshine them, the Oklahoma City Thunder decided it was time to get in on the commotion.
In one of the most shocking trades in recent memory, the Thunder traded reigning Sixth Man of the Year Award winner James Harden to the Houston Rockets (via ESPN). In turn, the Thunder received scoring guard Kevin Martin and rookie Jeremy Lamb.
For the Thunder, this means that the team now has a veteran scorer on the roster and a rookie with tremendous upside. For the Rockets, however, it now means that their backcourt is now made up of "Linsanity" and "Fear the Beard."
Unfortunately, opponents will not be the only ones who fall stricken with fear of Harden's emergence as an individual star. Jeremy Lin will feel adverse effects, as well.
Not Everyone Happy with Linsanity?
When Linsanity burst onto the scene in 2012, the world quickly embraced the phenomenon. The Harvard graduate had previously been living on his brother's couch, which created the first "graduated-from-an-Ivy League" sob story.
As one could only expect, however, Lin's stardom was dismissed by a vocal group of detractors. And, according to Ric Bucher of ESPN.com, the Harden trade revealed a high-profile person within the Rockets' organization who falls into that category.
It took two tries, but Rockets coach Kevin McHale, sources say, now has a guard he actually likes.— Ric Bucher (@RicBucher) October 28, 2012
Well, that's harsh. To find the silver lining, said report does offer a rather refreshing look at what Rockets coach Kevin McHale thinks of Lin. While the disapproval is overwhelmingly depressing, there is no way around how important it is for McHale to value Harden.
Consider this to be the first warning of how inferior Lin's role will be to that of James Harden.
Past with High-Profile Names
Jeremy Lin burst onto the scene in both the best and worst city possible. Lin could be himself, experience the maximum level of exposure and even emerge as one of the young faces of the NBA.
Unfortunately, there was a star named Carmelo Anthony who reportedly wanted Lin out (via ESPN.com). Based on who is currently playing where, we need not remind fans which player won the war and remains with the New York Knicks.
So, how's Houston, Mr. Lin?
With such a high-profile debacle behind him, there is the chance that Lin will grow intolerant of the individual success his new teammate will experience. As Harden continues to draw praise and comparisons to his former Oklahoma City teammates, Lin will return to playing second fiddle.
With the opportunity to run his own team lost, Lin returns to where he was with the Knicks. The difference is, there is far less surrounding him.
Lin's Own Team
As previously alluded to, Jeremy Lin was set to enter the 2012-13 NBA season as a leader. He would have put the Rockets onto his shoulders and solidified his status as one of the NBA's biggest international stars.
Lin could have also proven to his detractors that he is a strong enough leader to guide a young team to the postseason. Although unlikely, such a feat may have put an end to the questions of whether or not he is legitimate.
As if months of dominance will eventually lead to a career of insignificance.
With both Lin and James Harden on the team, it appears as though the grace period in which they build chemistry could actually be detrimental to their future as a backcourt tandem. Lin is coming off of knee surgery, while Harden had his psyche rocked during the 2012 NBA Finals.
When you show up and average 12.4 points on 37.5 percent shooting from the floor, that's a likely result.
The past is of no relevance, however, as Lin and Harden must build a chemistry that can carry the Rockets to postseason relevance. Although it is almost certain to transpire, there is one concern that the Rockets must address.
Can Jeremy Lin handle playing second fiddle once again? Or will James Harden be more of a complementary piece than we're expecting.
This is unclear. What is clear, however, is that if or when McHale places more value on Harden than Lin, things could get ugly.