It seems the Houston Rockets have found a team with enough cap room to take the poison pill that is the final year of Jeremy Lin's contract. In order to pry Lin away from the New York Knicks, the Rockets backloaded Lin's deal.
This upcoming season, Lin will make $14.8 million. If the Rockets want to be suitors for LeBron James and/or Carmelo Anthony, they have to move Lin. Per Bleacher Report's Howard Beck, the Rockets might have already found a trade partner.
Marcus Thompson II of the San Jose Mercury News sees the Golden State Warriors as a potential landing spot. Thompson II writes:
"The Warriors, per a league source, have informed Houston they would consider acquiring Lin from the Rockets via trade. Houston is reportedly shopping Lin in case they need to create cap space for Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James."
Because of a $9.8 million trade exception that the team holds from the deal that sent Andris Biedrins to the Utah Jazz, the Warriors can absorb Lin's mammoth final year with only $8.37 million counting toward the cap.
If this comes to fruition, it would be a bit of a homecoming for Lin. He began his career with the Warriors but was never able to find consistent playing time. Lin is far more established now and could be a good fit as a backup, and he could even backcourt mate at times for Stephen Curry.
More Point Guards on the Move
The Miami Heat made a draft-day deal to acquire Shabazz Napier. It was thought to be a move to appease James, who is a big fan of Napier's, and a means to provide insurance in the event the team doesn't retain free agent Mario Chalmers.
Per Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders, the Heat's other point guard might also be on his way out of town.
Miami already cleared tons of cap space when James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem chose to become free agents. It remains to be seen if all four will be back, but moving Cole would be adding even more financial flexibility to better James' supporting cast, should he decide to return to South Beach.
Sign-and-Trade Deal for James Harden?
There's no secret that the Rockets want to acquire James and Anthony. If H-Town is to have both of the prize free agents from this summer's class, it'll probably have to part with one of its current stars, says ESPN.com's Chris Broussard.
In any event, assuming the Rockets obtain the cap room to sign James or Anthony, the next step would be to give up star guard James Harden in a sign-and-trade for whichever superstar (James or Anthony) they don't sign as a free agent. Faced with the prospect of losing their superstars, both New York and Miami would be open to accepting Harden in a sign-and-trade.
Harden would be a great get for either the Heat or New York Knicks as a consolation for losing their star player. The Rockets would be securing perhaps the greatest frontcourt in the last 25 years by putting James, Anthony and Dwight Howard together.
Anthony discusses his impending free-agent decision in the video below:
While the Rockets would be the biggest winners, the team that got Harden would still be getting a young star in return.
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