It's official: the Houston Rockets are the center of the Annoying NBA News universe.
With the addition of former New York Knicks phenom Jeremy Lin (and all of the nonsense that entails) finally on the books, GM Daryl Morey can go back to devoting his full attention to the pursuit of Dwight Howard.
Not that he's likely broken contact with Rob Hennigan, his counterpart with the Orlando Magic, through this recent bout of summertime Linsanity.
In all likelihood, having Lin on board doesn't affect much on the Rockets' end with regard to the pursuit of Superman. According to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle, the ongoing talks between the Rockets and the Magic have included contingencies for Lin and Omer Asik signing their respective "poison pill" offer sheets.
As such, Lin's landing in Space City doesn't necessarily help or hurt the Rockets from a purely transactional perspective. Houston still has plenty of cheap assets, draft picks and cap space at its disposal to attempt to satisfy Orlando's demands.
The bigger change, though, is that of Dwight's potential perspective on starting over in H-Town. He's long been adamant about continuing his career with the Brooklyn Nets, to the point where he's insisted that he wouldn't sign an extension to stick around anywhere else.
Trouble is, the Nets are out of the running (for now, anyway) after trying desperately to turn a confusing slew of scrapheap sign-and-trades into a deal that would appeal to the Magic. Their best bet is to hope and pray that Orlando can't move him until January—when Brook Lopez becomes a tradable commodity again—or position themselves for a blockbuster sign-and-trade next summer.
In the meantime, the Rockets remain firmly in the race, though ESPN's Ric Bucher reported on Wednesday that the Los Angeles Lakers may be inching ahead, with the Cleveland Cavaliers jumping in as a helpful third party.
Any arrangement between the Rockets and the Magic would likely involve some combination of Orlando's bad contracts tagging along with Dwight back to Houston. That'd give the Rockets a roster capable of cementing a spot in the Western Conference playoff picture, albeit well outside of the championship conversation.
A conversation, by the way, into which Howard could more easily enter if he were to wind up with Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Pau Gasol in LA.
That aside, if Dwight's as concerned with his marketability and "brand" as he seems to be, then he could certainly do worse than a stint in Houston. Much has already been made of Lin's value from a business perspective to a franchise, but what about the opportunities he presents to high-profile teammates? Could playing with Lin be Howard's gateway to greater worldwide stardom, particularly in the parts of East Asia that've been gripped by Linsanity?
And might teaming up with Lin—a polarizing figure who's seemingly likeable as a person—be a boon to the effort to rehabilitate Howard's image as a whiny, me-first malcontent?
These are all things worth considering for Howard's camp, even if they may not be enough to move him off his Brooklynite high horse.
But, at the very least, Linsanity's presence in Houston represents another avenue through which the Rockets might convince Dwight to stay, assuming they can acquire him in the first place. The star power of each could serve as a multiplier to the other, like crossing streams in Ghostbusters.
And then, the Rockets could be really annoying.
Like, annoying enough to make debates between Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless seem pleasant.
In any event, just as he was in New York, Jeremy Lin may not be a winner on his own in Houston, but what he brings to the table—as a point guard and (perhaps more importantly) as a human ATM machine—might just be what the Rockets need to turn Dwight Howard into a long-term resident.
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