The Houston Rockets are getting ready for a busy summer. As the organization looks to acquire another premier free agent to join James Harden and Dwight Howard, the quest to clear cap space will soon begin in earnest.
According to an individual familiar with the Rockets’ plans, they are confident they would be able to move Lin and Asik’s contracts because unlike their failed efforts to trade Asik last season, they would be looking to clear cap room, rather than bring back rotation players with similar contracts .
Lin and Asik are owed just under $15 million apiece next season. Due to an unusual provision in their contracts, however, their actual cap hits are closer to $8.4 million apiece.
If the Rockets can unload Lin and Asik, they could position themselves to become major players in the free-agent market, potentially attempting to attract someone like Carmelo Anthony into the fold. Houston is looking to build upon this season's breakout success while avoiding another disappointing first-round defeat in the postseason.
The other big sign that the Rockets are up to something is the decision to make Chandler Parsons a free agent. Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski explains:
The Rockets hold a $960,000 option on the fourth and final year of Parsons' contract for the 2014-15 season, but want to avoid letting Parsons, 25, become an unrestricted free agent next summer. As a restricted free agent in July, the Rockets can match an offer sheet and retain Parsons on a long-term contract.
The motivation? Feigen notes that "the Rockets are likely to allow forward Chandler Parsons to become a restricted free agent in the hopes that they could sign a major free agent and then go over the salary cap to retain Parsons, a person with knowledge of their thinking said on Tuesday."
Were the Rockets to first work out an extension with Parsons, that would eliminate cap space that could otherwise be used to sign an additional free agent.
Welcome to the intricacies of the NBA's cap rules.
No one is better equipped to navigate those rules than Houston general manager Daryl Morey. Morey's wheeling and dealing has already put the Rockets on the verge of contention, and there's little doubt another big piece could do the trick.
Lin and Asik have served the Rockets well but have become expendable due to a number of factors. The acquisition of Dwight Howard last summer sent Asik to the bench. Subsequently, the 27-year-old reportedly requested a trade—presumably to get more playing time elsewhere.
Meanwhile, Lin has become a sixth man in the wake of Patrick Beverley's emergence. After becoming a star during his brief stint with the New York Knicks, Lin has been reliable but short of fantastic in Houston. He averaged 12.5 points and 4.1 assists last season.
Since Lin and Asik could start for a number of teams, a change of scenery could be a win-win for both them and the franchise alike.