NBA Trade Rumors 2013: Could Jeremy Lin End Up Reuniting with Mike D'Antoni As Part Of A Trade To The Los Angeles Lakers?
It's no secret that the Houston Rockets are very interested in acquiring the services of soon-to-be free agent center Dwight Howard to add to their roster.
A sign-and-trade deal with the Los Angeles Lakers is a tool that the Rockets are willing to use to make this scenario possible, with Jeremy Lin as the linchpin of a possible trade. Houston is open to the idea of sending Lin and Omer Asik for Howard, giving the Rockets some cap relief (after cutting forward Thomas Robinson) to make a move to sign Chris Paul away from the Los Angeles Clippers, as well, according to ESPN's Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne.
A trade to Los Angeles would reunite Lin with Lakers head coach Mike D'Antoni. Lin played well under D'Antoni's system, as a member of the New York Knicks during the 2011-2012 season, averaging 14.6 points per game and 6.2 assists, and could provide Los Angeles with a boost until guard Kobe Bryant recovers from his torn Achilles tendon.
Asik, while not as dynamic a defender as Howard, is a quality defensive player who averaged 10.1 points and 11.7 rebounds last season and could mesh well with Laker forward Pau Gasol.
The biggest stumbling block in such a scenario is that a trade for Lin and Asik would add to the Lakers' luxury taxes, which they are trying to fix in time for the 2014 free agency rush - which included names such as Minnesota Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio, and Miami Heat forwards Chris Bosh and LeBron James.
Howard has expressed interest in playing for the Rockets in the past, saying he would love to work with Houston head coach Kevin McHale and assistant coach J.B. Bickerstaff.
The Lakers feel confident that they can keep Howard in the fold despite openly talking about playing for other teams. They are, however, prepared to let the center walk if they can not come to terms and move on next season with Bryant, Gasol, and Nash as their focal point, as they had previously planned before trading for Howard, while they work on fixing their luxury taxes.