The Houston Rockets basically have two possibilities for Jeremy Lin's future career path, and they told him loud and clear Wednesday which one they are hoping to see play-out.
One plan would be to start next season with him at the point guard position. They picked up Dwight Howard last year from the Lakers in the biggest trade of the offseason, and they traded Omar Asik to the Pelicans earlier this year. They are clearly trying to build a team to make a run in a very strong Western Conference, and they are trying to find the pieces. Lin, who is a hard worker and an exceptional teammate by most accounts, could be part of that.
But the other plan, the one the franchise seems to be hoping for if you judge by the way they have walked over Lin in the offseason trade process, is to see him traded to another team, like the Philadelphia 76ers.
Carmelo Anthony, one of this years biggest trade targets, visited Houston yesterday, and for his pleasure, Rockets management draped photos of Anthony wearing No. 7 jersey, the number of Jeremy Lin, all over the Toyota Center. That obviously didn't sit well with Lin who expressed his feeling on Twitter by leaning on his faith, in about as classy of a way as a person can, after being dissed in such a harsh way by his team. Later, when questioned by a fan, he admitted to feeling disrespected.
Some think it was an accident, and that the Rocket's may not have realized it would sting for Lin, but it is no small error. And the fact that Anthony called Lin's contract when he left New York for Houston, "ridiculous" makes this particular disrespect even worse for Lin. Also, afterward, Rockets GM Daryl Morey tried to defend the recruiting efforts by claiming it happened last year when the Rockets went after Howard, but, take a look at the picture below and you can be the judge to see if you think the Rocket's might have taken a classier tact last year.
"You are always having to recruit players and there might be current players at current positions, might be people with the current numbers. It's unfortunate that it's often hard to handle. Reality is, it's standard practice.When we went after Chris Bosh a few years ago,we had him in Luis Scola's number. When we went after Dwight Howard he had (Pat) Beverley's number. I get the sensitivity and I hate that it creates some hurt feelings. I don't like that, but that's obviously Carmelo Anthony's number, that's the number he wants. He told us that. Bottom line, if Carmelo comes Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin have to be traded. It's just math. It's not personal. My job is every day figure out how to win. Sometimes it creates challenging situations."
Morey told the local Fox affiliate after the uproar over the jersey switch started making the press.
If the Rockets don't end up signing Carmelo Anthony, you have to wonder how thrilled Lin will be to return to the team who more or less trampled all over him over a player who has already shown him disrespect.
Also, they may have shot themselves in the foot in their efforts to get Anthony, because this has to add pressure to his decision, as it will most surely be thrown in his face if the Rockets struggle next year.
Anthony has been in the league for 11 years now, and he has only won three playoff series in that time, so he hasn't exactly risen to meet pressure well so far.
Good luck with that, Houston. Stay Classy.