Jeremy Lin Trade Blunder

Jeremy Lin trade failure still haunts Rockets: Dumb disrespect fuels Daryl Morey's trade deadline bungling

Jeremy Lin trade failure still haunts Rockets: Disrespect and failure

Jeremy Lin Lakers logo
Jeremy Lin and the Houston Rockets have both lost from his banishment to LA. Courtesy of NBA Times
James Harden Thunder
James Harden finds himself still having to completely carry the Houston Rockets. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Jeremy Lin Game 6
Jeremy Lin was knocked down by Lin Haters plenty of times in Houston, but the Rockets offense sure could use a player like him. Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images
Kevin McHale, Jeremy Lin, Rockets, basketball, November 2012
Perhaps the only winner in all this is Rockets coach Kevin McHale, who landed a contract extension despite no playoff success. Houston Rockets/Facebook
Jeremy Lin Lakers logo
James Harden Thunder
Jeremy Lin Game 6
Kevin McHale, Jeremy Lin, Rockets, basketball, November 2012

Goran Dragic jets off to Miami to live the South Beach life, grinning all the way. Daryl Morey keeps trading by reflex, knowing his sycophants and fanboys in the Houston media will praise any move.

And the Houston Rockets remain stuck in the muck of their own making, as far from an NBA championship as ever.

It did not have to be like this. The Rockets did not need to see Oklahoma City pass by them in title potential with some shrewd moves, just days after Russell Westbrook stole the All-Star Game MVP from James Harden and those analytics believers that Charles Barkley so despises. They did not need to stagger from this NBA trade deadline as offensively challenged — and completely and utterly James Harden dependent — as ever.

In many ways, these Rockets are still being haunted by the dumb dump trade Morey made over the summer. Jettisoning Jeremy Lin is the move that's helped hold Morey's so-called masterpiece back.

 Morey is on a fast track toward becoming the Billy Beane of basketball, building regular season success stories that turn into consistent playoff bombs. 

The fact that Lin's been completely misused this season by the one coach in the NBA who is more clueless than Kevin McHale cannot change one simple truth. This Rockets team would be much better off if it had the type of scoring, playmaking, ability to get to the rim and improved 3-point shooting that Lin provides to go along with Harden's undeniable brilliance.

Landing the defensive-gifted K.J. McDaniels, who figures to struggle to find consistent minutes under McHale, and 37-year-old  Knicks reject Pablo Prigioni at the deadline changes nothing of significance for the Rockets. It certainly doesn't erase Morey's summer blunders.

Letting Chandler Parsons go after everything else fell apart remains dumb, but somewhat defensible. But giving away Lin is the "Kick Me" sign that only the foaming craziness of the Lin Haters shields Morey from.

At the time, the Lin dump got spun as a move that the Rockets needed to do to clear maximum cap space for Chris Bosh. In reality, Morey backed the Rockets into a corner when he childishly completely disrespected Lin by putting his No. 7 jersey on Carmelo Anthony in that ridiculously inept recruiting campaign. Once the Rockets general manager did that, there was no way he could bring Jeremy Lin back.

And every team in the league knew it. Morey forced himself into making a bad trade — and Houston's still paying for it. Even if Leslie Alexander is not.

The Rockets did not just lose Lin either. The organization's clearly lost credibility with big-time players.

Dragic shows no interest in a Rockets return after Chris Bosh shows no real interest in the Rockets (outside of using them as pre-blood clot leverage with Miami) after Kyle Lowry shows absolutely no interest in a Rockets reunion. Good players are running from an organization that shown's little respect for anyone not named Harden or Howard on its own roster. Who's surprised by that?

When you treat players like nothing but disposable numbers, they leap to find their numbers elsewhere.

This isn't a Houston city problem. Morey's right when he calls Houston one of the top destination cities in the NBA. No, this is a Morey people problem.

Let's just say that new University of Houston coach Tom Herman will not be calling on Daryl Morey for tips on how to close in living rooms anytime soon.

This Rockets regime did not just alienate Jeremy Lin. It clearly alienated Dragic and Lowry before him as well. Even players who have no use for Lin cannot help but notice when a franchise disrespects its own guys.

Sad Jeremy Lin Fallout

The sad thing is that everyone loses in this situation. Harden is left shouldering an untenable burden, forced to push a bigger and bigger rock up the hill. The Beard deserves everything he's gotten this season — the league MVP talk, the Sports Illustrated cover, the praise from people who used to crucify him. But he's in a no-win playoff situation.

Even Michael Jordan needed a little help before he could enjoy any type of postseason run.

Then there's Jeremy Lin . . . stuck on a horrific team that has no interest in winning this season, playing for a coach who seems determined to show management there's no talent on his roster and it's absolutely not even one percent his fault. Once Steve Nash bowed out and the Lakers gave up any thought of competing, Lin never had a chance.

 When you treat players like nothing but disposable numbers, they leap to find their numbers elsewhere. 

When it comes to Morey, the picture's not all that much brighter. The Rockets GM is left making minor tweaks when he's not sending tweets that the average college sophomore would roll his eyes at while stuck on an airplane. Morey is on a fast track toward becoming the Billy Beane of basketball, building regular season success stories that turn into consistent playoff bombs.

For all the mad praise heaped on them this season, the Rockets head out of the All-Star break in fourth place in the West, the same exact spot they finished in last season. How certain are you that Harden and his help would win a four-five series against the likes of the LA Clippers?

That's arguably a worse matchup than Portland last spring — and Houston needed Jeremy Lin to absolutely rescue them in one of their two playoff wins against the Blazers (see his 21 points off the bench in Game 5) and set up the winning three in the other with a near Larry Bird level play. Now, coming out of the deadline, the Rockets are still almost completely dependent on an exposed Patrick Beverley at point guard.

James Harden deserves some credit for recognizing the Rockets had something in Lin even as Morey and McHale refused to do so. Harden's gone out of his way to praise Lin this season. These two always largely got along, as shown by their recent teaming up on a Chinese New Year ad for the NBA.

This bad summer dump continues to hover over these Rockets like a cloud, no matter how much the professional and amateur Lin Haters alike cry otherwise. That last chance at a feel-good ending sure looks long gone.

It's lounging in South Beach, feet up and back turned.