The NBA trade season started in earnest on Sunday as free agents from this summer became eligible to be traded, and we at SB Nation are doing an NBA Theme Day to celebrate. Today, check out all the SB Nation NBA sites as we talk about where our respective teams stand as the NBA trade season ramps up. In Houston, the Rockets seem to be one of the most likely teams to be active in the coming days, with Omer Asik almost certainly being traded and other players like Jeremy Lin, Donatas Motiejunas, and Greg Smith also potentially moved.
Let's look at the Rockets current situation and what they might do in the coming days and months.
What are the Rockets' needs?
In the early going, the Rockets have been crushed by injuries, but their depth seems to be holding up fairly nicely. Still, the Rockets have one big need and that is a strong defensive wing to add to the rotation. Since coming to the Rockets, James Harden has never had a competent backup, and that has really hurt the Rockets. With Chandler Parsons continuing to assume a larger offensive role, his defensive effort has slipped, and neither Omri Casspi or Francisco Garcia are going to lock anyone down on the defensive end.
Though defensive wings are always at a premium, I would not be surprised to see a defensive wing included in any deal the Rockets make in the near future. It's clear that they need one.
Other than that, the Rockets have their bases fairly well covered. A veteran big man to add to the mix in the front court would be welcomed with open arms, but the team has a three-headed point guard playing well, a young power forward in Terrence Jones that's exceeding expectations, and recently welcomed Greg Smith back into the rotation. With everyone healthy, there aren't many holes on this roster.
Who could be moved?
The first and obvious choice here is Omer Asik, who will likely be moved by Thursday afternoon. Asik has been on the block for months, and the Rockets would prefer to have the ability to trade any player they get back for Asik in a deal at the trade deadline. If they complete a deal by the 19th, they could repackage any asset they get in that trade with other players at the trade deadline.
Asik will almost certainly be traded, but the question of where has yet to be answered. Philadelphia has been a much-talked about destination, but he could also be on his way to Charlotte, Boston, Phoenix, or a number of other cities by Thursday. With teams desperate for a strong defensive big man, the market for Asik's services will be robust.
Now, turning away from the obvious candidate we get to Jeremy Lin. Brandon made a good point in the comments a few days ago that whenever any trade rumors come up about the Rockets, people usually are interested in discussing them, but when something comes up about Lin, people reject the entire idea as nothing more than a sick joke.
The Alan Hahn comment on the radio may not be the holy grail of reports, but it is also not without value. The Rockets have been rumored to be willing to move Jeremy Lin for months, and the notion that the Rockets would be willing to give up Lin should not be an outrageous one. Daryl Morey prizes flexibility over almost everything, and if he were able to move Lin for an asset and an expiring contract, he would be in a remarkably enviable position.
It's a deal that would require an immense about of confidence in Patrick Beverley and Aaron Brooks, but dismissing the idea out of hand because of some attachment to Lin is unreasonable. The Rockets have proven time and time again that they are able to produce point guards, and it's not clear whether paying Lin $8.4 million on the cap each of the next two seasons is the most effective use of their resources. If they can reallocate that money elsewhere, they might consider it.
Moving Lin is far less likely than the seemingly inevitable Asik deal, but it certainly is a possibility. Lin is an excellent player for the Rockets but he is far from irreplaceable.
When is all of this going to happen?
The next two days are going to be mighty interesting for Rockets fans. Omer Asik is going to be on the move in the next 48 hours, but it's not clear where quite yet. Keep your ears to the ground on that one.
And if the Rockets make another move, it will likely be at the trade deadline. There modus operandi is to wait as long as possible to get more time to evaluate themselves and opposing teams before calculating their next move, and I see no reason why they would change that position this year. Expect to see a deal or two at the deadline as well as a deal in the next two days.