Jeremy Lin and James Harden have done wonders for the Houston Rockets, but they need help.
Like Harden, Lin is at his best when he's able to attack the rim and kick the ball out to his teammates. Unlike Harden, though, he doesn't have the athletic or explosive edge over his opponents.
Once Lin gets to the basket, he's a dangerous finisher. He's converting on 59.1 percent of his attempts at the rim, the most efficient mark of his career. Getting to the rim, however, has been issue.
Though the Rockets have some lethal shooters in Harden and Chandler Parsons, they need more. Long-range threats stretch defenses, creating a clearer path to the basket for Lin. They also ensure that his kick-outs are executed with purpose.
Houston also needs some deep-ball threats who thrive in transition as well. Lin—as well as Harden—likes to run. As deadly as Parsons and Delfino are, neither are what you would consider a consistent fast-break threat.
Somewhat ironically, there are plenty of offensive threats on the trade market that fit such a bill. And as the youngest team in the NBA, Houston is anything but short on assets.
The Rockets just might have the tangible commodities necessary to enhance the talents one Jeremy Lin.
Gerald Henderson, SG, Charlotte Bobcats
According to Steve Kyle over at HOOPSWORLD, the emergence of Jeff Taylor has left Gerald Henderson expendable to the Charlotte Bobcats.
The Rockets should move in.
From a defensive standpoint, Henderson doesn't provide much. Offensively, though, he's a complementary stud.
It's not just that Henderson is averaging 13.7 points per game this season—though such production would look great coming off Houston's bench—but rather, it's his lights-out 46.4 percent three-point shooting that catches my eye.
I understand that there isn't room for him in the starting lineup, but Lin plays nearly 33 minutes per game, and a large portion of that is spent playing alongside members of the second unit.
In Henderson, Lin would have an additional shooter to kick out as well as a set of young and athletic legs that would thrive alongside the point guard's penchant for running the floor.
It remains unclear what it would take for any team to pry Henderson away from the Bobcats, but as a team that seems set on tanking, a draft pick or two, and perhaps a replacement guard such as Daequan Cook would be a good place to start.
J.J. Redick, SG, Orlando Magic
As Ric Bucher of CSN Bay Area reported, the Orlando Magic are open to trading J.J. Redick.
Though he also notes that the Magic are in no rush, Redick's impending free agency does suggest that Orlando would be open to deal him provided the right offer. And the Rockets would be wise to put forth an offer.
Redick isn't what you would consider supremely athletic, but he runs the floor well and is a lights-out shooter from deep. He's converting on 36.6 percent of his deep ball attempts this season and has hit on 39.5 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc for his career.
As a quick side note, Redick is no stranger to coming off the bench either. He would be as valuable a Sixth Man as anyone for the Rockets and is bound to thrive alongside the penetrating stylings of Lin, and even Harden as well.
Once again, in Redick, we don't have a shooter who brings much defense, but he furthers the up-tempo purpose that Houston's offense currently serves.
And that in itself is enough for Daryl Morey to pick up the phone and dangle on of his many young forwards who Orlando may have some interest in.
Swing for the fences, Houston.
Would Josh Smith prove to be a tough get for the Rockets? Absolutely, but the best potential fits always are.
According to Steve Kyler of HOOPSWORLD, the Atlanta Hawks are not actively shopping the free-agent-to-be, but they aren't opposed to moving him either:
The Atlanta Hawks have a real good sense of where things stand with would-be free agent Josh Smith. They believe they have the inside track on re-signing him in July and with the way the Hawks are playing there are absolutely no plans to trade Smith.
The Hawks have been sniffing around for deals, but are mainly hoping to flip some of their ending contracts into a roster upgrade before the trade deadline. While the Hawks have been linked to some discussions, their stance according to sources that have talked with them is “unengaged” . If they are doing a trade it’s going to be the home run hit and that play just isn’t there.
Once again, I reiterate: This is going to be a tough get. But it's one worth exploring for both Lin and Houston's sake.
Not only is Smith one of the NBA's premiere defenders, but he's an athletic beast. He boasts a strong post up came that will allow Lin and even Harden the freedom to roam about the perimeter, yet he can knock down the deep ball as well, thus spreading the floor and opening things up for the enigmatic point guard.
At present, Smith is shooting a career-best 38.3 percent from beyond the arc. His point totals (16.6) are down a bit from last season, but he more than makes up for it with his underrated passing (3.6 assists) and top-notch rebounding (8.1 boards).
The caveat? Atlanta is craving that "home run hit."
Did I mention this would prove to be a tough one to pull off?
That said, the Hawks could do a lot worse than what the Rockets have to offer. Draft picks would have to grease hands, and considering what Houston gave up in the Harden deal, a third team would have to be involved to include more than one.
Outside of that, though, the Rockets have an array of athletic pieces they could try and sell Atlanta on. Marcus Morris and Terrence Jones would be a great place to star, and if it's Smith on the line, I wouldn't balk at the opportunity to include Parsons either—especially if the Hawks are willing to include the seldom used Anthony Morrow.
Who would be the better fit alongside Jeremy Lin?
One last obstacle to overcome, though, is Smith's salary. He's owed more than $13 million this season, so I feel compelled to remind the Smith hopefuls at large that the Rockets need a third team to make this work.
As promising as Parsons, Morris and Jones are, they don't even come close to touching Smith's annual salary, rendering a third—or even fourth—team vital to this concept's survival.
Make no mistake, though, that if Atlanta is willing to listen, Houston should talk its proverbial ear off.
Because Smith would be the ultimate get to pair alongside what his presence would help render a cherished Jeremy Lin.
*All stats in this article are accurate as of December 31, 2012.