When the Houston Rockets posted a giant image of Carmelo Anthony wearing Jeremy Lin's No. 7 jersey on the front of the Toyota Center, it became fair to question if the team wanted to unload the point guard elsewhere in the league. With the 76ers looking to utilize their available cap space, no destination makes more sense than Philadelphia for Lin.
Take a look at the infamous billboard, courtesy of Fox 26's Mark Berman:
The Rockets will host Carmelo Anthony and have pictures of Carmelo in Rockets uniforms on Toyota Center marquis pic.twitter.com/2VfycvqlkN— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) July 2, 2014
Lin, who apparently felt disrespected by the display, tweeted out this Bible verse in reaction:
Luke 6:29 - If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them— Jeremy Lin (@JLin7) July 2, 2014
The deal with the 76ers makes sense, as Houston will need to clear cap space if it wants to pursue Anthony, and Philadelphia just might pick up Lin's contract and make this trade happen.
Jake Fischer of The Boston Globe confirmed rumors that the two teams were in talks and that a trade would be likely if Houston was able to sign a big name, such as Anthony or LeBron James. Though James is now more than likely off the table, Anthony is still a very realistic option for the team:
Hearing that Rockets & Sixers are in fluid trade talks surrounding Jeremy Lin. HOU waiting to unload Lin's deal if it signs Melo or Lebron.— Jake Fischer (@JakeLFischer) July 2, 2014
According to Bleacher Report's Tyler Conway, Lin struggled during the playoffs this last season, and some questionable decision-making caused him to draw criticism from his own teammates.
The series has been full of frustrations for Lin, both major and minor. In Game 1, it was what Grantland's Kirk Goldsberry called the "least accurate 8-foot field goal attempt in NBA history." In Game 2, it was the head-scratching decision to intentionally foul Damian Lillard with 28 seconds remaining despite a James Harden three making it a one-possession game—a move that drew the ire of teammates on the floor and off.
Check out this video from this past postseason to see Lin get stopped on an attempted shot.
What would be the benefit for the 76ers in this deal if Lin's stats were only average at best last season?
Even though Philadelphia would be forced to pick up his contract and take on the same cap hit that Houston had negotiated, which is a little over $8 million, according to Spotrac, the team has enough cap space to acquire Lin and negotiate for a first-round draft pick.
For the Sixers, the high draft pick alone makes the trade worth it, but they also gain an experienced point guard who can advise second-year starter and reigning NBA Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams.
Lin may not see much playing time in Philadelphia with Carter-Williams at the helm, but at the very least he will be getting away from a team whose chemistry may have turned toxic. James Harden has in the past ignored Lin's play calls and often times taken the game into his own hands.
Take a look at the video below to see evidence of Harden's frustration with Lin. At about seven seconds, Harden appears to be walking away from Lin and ignoring the call and, at the end, walks over to Lin in what was later described as anger over his last shot, according to NBA writer Yannis Koutroupis:
James Harden just lit into Jeremy Lin for his last shot. Beverly and McHale had to signal to him to calm down.— Yannis Koutroupis (@YannisNBA) November 8, 2013
With the possibility of questions surrounding his future in Houston and the Sixers looking for a first-round pick next year, this trade would be best for all parties involved.
And it's hard to feel too bad for Lin considering that while his cap hit is $8 million, he will actually be making almost $15 million next year. At that price tag, this deal is truly Linsane.
Mike Martinez is a contributor for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter at @MikeMartinezBR