The Rockets didn't pay Lin to come in and be a small-time point guard. At $8.3 million per year, Lin hasn't justified that contract. Lin was signed to be a player that would change the game for the Rockets and run their offense.
They took a risk on him, and it hasn't paid off.
With two more years on the contract, the Rockets' move could look very bad if Lin continues to play at this level.
In the series with the Thunder, there's no coincidence that the Rockets were most competitive when Lin wasn't on the floor. The Rockets offense runs more smoothly when the ball is in James Harden's hands rather than Lin's.
When Lin was out of the lineup with a chest injury, Harden seemed to have much more control over the offense. He was more able to get his looks and put points on the board. Without many other consistent scoring options, the Rockets needed as much of Harden as they could get.
During the series, Lin's best contributions came in Game 2 when he managed to score seven points on 3-of-7 shooting. He finished with four rebounds and three assists.
Those numbers simply aren't good enough from a starting point guard.
The Rockets got a much bigger impact from rookie Patrick Beverley. The young point guard averaged 11.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game in the series. He's also signed next season for just under $800,000. So not only is he the better option basketball-wise, he's the much smarter option financially as well.
With that being the case, the Rockets should look to trade Lin.
Should the Rockets keep Jeremy Lin?
If the team is going to make a run at Dwight Howard this summer, it should allow Harden to be the primary ball-handler. Beverley would be a fine option at point guard to help out Harden and provide tenacious effort.
The Rockets could then use whatever they get back from Lin as depth in order to build up their bench. Having Beverley, Harden, Chandler Parsons and Dwight Howard in their starting five could be a lethal combination for the Rockets going forward.
At this point, it's clear that Lin doesn't have much to offer the Rockets, and he's certainly not worth the $8.3 million they have to pay him the next two seasons. While they may not be able to find a trading partner, the Rockets need to do everything they can to try to separate themselves from Lin.