Since I last wrote, Goran Dragic has bolted to Phoenix, it’s come to light that he left over a 4th year player option, Kyle Lowry has been dealt to Toronto for a future draft pick, Jeremy Lin has signed the Rockets’ offer sheet, and the team is reportedly also interested in Aaron Brooks. I hear Matt Maloney is available these days as well.
We have absolutely no idea what’s going on and to make matters worse, I just got out of a 3 hour professional responsibility exam and think I’m coming down with the flu. Seriously, I have no idea what’s going on so I’m not going to be of any help with this. When I think I have somewhat of an understanding, something else pops up that paves way to new questions.
When I made the Lowry vs. Dragic series, I didn’t consider the possibility of losing both, so I’m dumbfounded…but to lose Dragic over a player option? I really hope this is the right call because part of me is saying, “don’t you have to give in a little bit sometimes to keep guys you like?”
I want to think that the Lowry trade signals a full-on rebuilding effort–the likes of which I’ve been begging for for the past two years–but the cynic in me must preach patience. Why would they target veteran Aaron Brooks if they’re looking to completely blow it up?
SI’s Zach Lowe (formerly my CelticsHub TrueHoop Network counterpart) weighs in:
As for the Rockets, they’re clearly after a star at all costs. One suspects they did their diligence in taking the league’s temperature and discovered that the first-round pick they just received from the Raptors is a more valuable trade asset than Lowry — a player who admittedly clashed with coaches in Memphis and Houston. Lowry is a known commodity; a first-round pick has the allure of the unknown. Still: Lowry is so valuable under this contract that I wonder if the league is wrong, or perhaps if Houston is misreading the league.
Houston adds another pick here, which puts it at plus-one in future first-rounders: It has a pick coming from Dallas (via the Lakers) and another going to Brooklyn (via the Terrence Williams deal). The Rockets also have a pile of first- and second-year forwards, plus Kevin Martin’s expiring contract, an intriguing rookie guard in Jeremy Lamb and a ton of present and future cap space. Even if they do get Omer Asik from Chicago for $8 million per year, Houston could spend this entire season right at the minimum payroll floor of about $49 million — with enough space to swallow a contract linked to Orlando’s Glen Davis or Jason Richardson as the Rockets chase Dwight Howard. Signing Lin away from New York would obviously change that. And next summer, they could have as little as $31 million in committed money for 2013-14, more than enough cap space for two mammoth deals (one max, one near-max).
This is the plan in Houston: a star or bust, plus some height and defense (Asik), since that is another necessity for every championship-caliber team without LeBron James. It’s no coincidence Dallas vaulted to the title the year that Tyson Chandler was hanging around. It’s a plan, and one that will result in some unpleasantness. But, then again, it might work.
This much is clear: Houston is going all-in , for better or worse. They are tired of being a borderline playoff team, and this Lowry deal proves it.
But if the plan still is Howard, what use was it to allow Dragic to walk? Does money talk that much that Howard would re-up with this team of toddlers? Surely the Knicks will match the offer on Lin as poisonous a pill it has been concocted to be.
…sidebar: there’s literally no chance the Knicks let the cash cow that is Jeremy Lin walk away just over $35million of luxury tax payments, right? The man that for the first time made their team relevant again since Jeff Van Gundy clung to Alonzo Mourning’s leg…they aren’t really going to let him go, are they? I’m not privy to the finances, but as someone whose taken 8th grade level Math, they really can’t be letting him go.
Realize that this post is one long stream of consciousness not intended to shed any insight because I have none. Like the rest of you, I’m just hoping for the best. BTW, this reminds me, check out my interview from last Sunday on ESPN Radio. It’s a bit outdated (read: we still had our point guards), but I express similar befuddlement.
Truth be told, something I said in the interview still holds true: if they just go young, I’d be happy. Trade Martin and Scola for similar picks and roll with the young guys. That would mark some sense of direction. But I still fear they’re after some vet. (Thank heavens Steve Nash joined LA to put the Pau Gasol fear to rest.)
I’m writing all of this because I sort of have to keep this blog updated from time to time pursuant to the terms of my contract, but realize that it is far, far, far too early to rush to judgment. I’m confused but I’m not advocating doling out F’s for the summer. The summer is young. If they come to camp with Scola and Martin in tow–and Sam Dalembert’s equivalent–you can get out the pitchforks, but for now, we just have to wait, as painful as this is. You’re not alone in your confusion and frustration, but let’s all just wait and see what unravels. As Lowe said, the future pick might hold more value than Lowry.