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Rockets trade chip report: Jeremy Lin

Jeremy Lin has been reported to be on the market for the last year. What could Lin actually return in a trade offer?

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With the Rockets potentially looking to make a big move for Kevin Love or another star player this summer, we are going to take a moment to take stock of what is in the cupboard for Daryl Morey to offer. We assessed Terrence Jones and Chandler Parsons earlier this week, and today, we're going to look at Omer Asik.

Monday, May 26th: Terrence Jones

Tuesday, May 27th: Chandler Parsons

Wednesday, May 28th: Omer Asik

Thursday, May 29th: Jeremy Lin

Rest of series: TBA

Well, here we go. We saved potentially the most controversial of these for last, and now we're going to take on the question of just how much trade value Jeremy Lin has. Lin came over as a free agent in 2012, returning back to the team that had cut him the winter before, with a fat $25.1 million contract in his hands.

It started off fairly poorly, with Lin struggling to get traction in the first few months of the season, but as the year went on, he grew more comfortable and closed with a very excellent second half of his first season. His sophomore year was up and down, and we'll take a look at some of those triumphs and struggles later.

Contract Situation

His contract is the same as Omer Asik's, which we covered yesterday. He is set to be paid $15 million in 2014/15, but he has a cap hit of just $8.33 million. For the purposes of the salary cap and luxury tax, his salary figure is $8.33 million, but any team that acquires him will have to pay the full salary of $15 million.

That salary presents a number of issues for teams that acquire him, especially if they are smaller market teams, but luxury tax teams might see some benefits of this structure because it allows them to take on money without adding to their luxury tax hit. At the end of the year, Lin will become an unrestricted free agent.

His Value as a Player

There probably isn't a player in the NBA that you can hear such varied opinions about than Jeremy Lin. Some die hard fans will tell you that Lin deserves a starting spot and is All-Star quality, while others will tell you that he shouldn't even be in the league. The true answer on Lin's abilities probably lies somewhere in the middle.

In aggregate, Lin is decidedly average, but average doesn't even begin to describe him. He's a tremendous player at his best and a very poor player at his worst. In just six games against the Blazers, we were able to see both sides of Lin, unfortunately seeing too much of the bad side down the stretch of games.

There was game five, where Patrick Beverley had spent time in the hospital with a 104 degree fever and Lin came off the bench for a huge 21 points when the team needed him most. On the other hand, just one game before, with the Rockets needing a game four win to even the series, Lin disappeared, going 1-6 from the field and giving the game away with a crucial late game turnover.

On offense, Lin can get into the paint and score fairly effectively. His shooting at the rim was 57.7%, a very respectable figure on par with James Harden. However, far too often he is content to wait on the perimeter for a pass that might not come. If he improved his off-ball movement, he could be a far more effective player, because spotting up for threes simply isn't his game.

Defensively, Lin gets a much worse reputation than he deserves. The Rockets were a much better defensive team with him on the court than with him off it, and he guarded opposing point guards fairly well, holding them to a 13.3 PER while he was assigned to them. When he was switched onto shooting guards in a smaller lineup, he struggled with their added length, with them going for an above average 17.4 PER and hitting at a rate of 54.4 eFG%.

The Bottom Lin(e)

Lin has been a full-time player for two years, and has shown little indication that he will breakout of his trend of inconsistency. That's a problem. Could a team bring Lin in and have him go off for a few months? Yes, but they could also have him crash and burn as well. The fact is that Lin has yet to do anything in a Rockets jersey that makes teams think "man, I have to get this guy on my roster."

For $8.33 million on the cap and $15 million in salary, nobody is going to be banging down the Rockets' doors to get Lin. It's sad to see Lin fall this far, but average players at above-average salaries are not especially prized. In a big trade offer, it's hard to find a match.