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Daryl Morey had a far different outlook for his club when he lured Jeremy Lin away from the New York Knicks in the summer of 2012. The Rockets were a team purportedly on the rise, but lacked an identity.
Without Lin, the roster as it stood would have the team headed straight for the lottery. With Lin, it wouldn't quite be a playoff squad, but at least Morey would have a sparkling name to headline his developing cast, knowing that bigger things were further along the road.
As it turned out, bigger things were just a few months away. Houston acquired its true star in James Harden just days before the 2012-13 season began. The Linsanity Tour's Houston leg came to a close—the point guard was merely the opening act.
Lin was forced to adjust to the new role of complimentary piece, adjusting to playing mostly off the ball with the offense running through Harden. And he did so admirably, playing in all 82 games and improving his field-goal and three-point clips from the previous season.
But by the end of the season, yet another plot twist was thrown into Houston's backcourt when 24-year-old rookie Patrick Beverley, signed in January 2013, emerged as a legitimate rotation option at the point, and one that could eventually complement Harden better in the starting backcourt.
After his first 10 games, Beverley averaged 20 minutes per game through the rest of the season, and was a starter through Houston's six-game playoff stretch, coming off the bench for the last time in Game 1.
This year, Beverley has knocked Lin back to the bench. Lin's minutes are down from 32.3 last season to 30.7 this year. There's no question he's a legitimate talent at the point, but with Harden cemented at the shooting guard, and considering Beverley's lack of ball dominance and defensive prowess, it's clear now that he's the better fit in Lin's old spot.
Making around $8 million this season and next, and coming off the books after next season, Lin's deal—once feared to be among the league's worst—is very fair.
With no shortage of teams in need of a reliable point guard—ironically, the Knicks may top the list—Morey would have no problem rerouting his original splash signing elsewhere.
The Houston GM has made a habit of collecting assets, knowing he can never have too many, and there will always be a need for some player, somewhere. It appears that now is the time to complete the cycle on Lin and toss him back into a starting rotation.