Austin | Dallas | Houston
Jeremy Lin Gets Last Laugh

Jeremy Lin sure to get last laugh on suddenly classless, clueless Rockets: Where in the world is Alexander?

Enlarge
Slideshow
Jeremy Lin Mo Williams
Jeremy Lin's been dissed, discounted and all but dismissed by the Houston Rockets. But he'll be even more missed if he's traded. Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images
Carmelo Anthony think
Carmelo Anthony was never coming to Houston. But the Rockets still eagerly disrespected Jeremy Lin for Melo all the same. Photo courtesy of NY Hoops
Jeremy Lin press conference
It's a far cry from how Jeremy Lin got treated on the day he returned with that big-money contract. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images
Chris Bosh Heat
Chris Bosh snubbed the Houston Rockets in 2010 — and he could easily do it again. Courtesy of NBA Hoops
Tux And Tennies March 2011, Leslie Alexander
Where is Houston Rockets owner Leslie Alexander amid the free agent madness that's changing his franchise's reputation? Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
Jeremy Lin Mo Williams
Carmelo Anthony think
Jeremy Lin press conference
Chris Bosh Heat
Tux And Tennies March 2011, Leslie Alexander
News_Chris Baldwin_managing editor_arms crossed

No one thinks Carmelo Anthony is coming to Houston now (never mind that no national NBA voice ever thought the Rockets held a legitimate chance of landing Melo). So Daryl Morey has pivoted to breathlessly pursuing Chris Bosh, the guy who turned him down for Miami in 2010 and seems poised to do it again as long as LeBron James keeps his talents in South Beach.

And Jeremy Lin's supposed to be the biggest loser in this situation? Please. Not even close.

The Rockets fancy themselves as the NBA's next hot team, but they're coming across as more than a little desperate this summer.

Reality bites, but it didn't have to be this way. An unmistakable takeaway from the Rockets' bungling beginning to free agency is that the organization will abandon the class its long been known for to try and flatter any star not on its roster. And the stars are seeing right through it. And apparently going home and laughing to themselves.

The jersey diss is nothing new. It's par for the course. This is how the Rockets of Morey and McHale treat Jeremy Lin.

Do you really think Carmelo Anthony got goosebumps from seeing himself in Jeremy Lin's No. 7 Rockets jersey?

That stunt serves no constructive purpose whatsoever, unless Morey's purpose is to force an Omer Asik-like talent dump of Lin after the team finds itself shut out of the major impact free agents. Then again, maybe Morey figures the Rockets can get away with any slap at Lin.

The blatant, over-the-top disrespect of one of the team's most talented players comes as no surprise to anyone who's really closely followed the Rockets' treatment of Jeremy Lin. Coach Kevin McHale and Morey have been doing this type of thing to Lin again and again and again. The best point guard on the Rockets' roster — one of the guys who actually did choose Houston by electing to sign that offer sheet as a restricted free agent — is routinely dissed, discounted and all but dismissed.

The jersey diss represents nothing new. It's par for the course. This is how the Rockets of Morey and McHale treat Jeremy Lin.

The difference this time is that NBA free agency is a national story and other news outlets finally took notice. The Houston media's ignored other instances of blatant Lin disrespect — and it largely did its best to do so again in this case. But once the controversy took off nationally — and internationally — there was no choice but for even the most fawning Rockets media allies to at least acknowledge it. While doing their best to somehow try and downplay it.

Lin himself deserves some credit for finally fighting back publicly, taking to Twitter and making his feeling of being disrespected known beyond a shadow of a doubt. His agents also refused to let the Rockets brain trust get away with a seemingly outright lie, coming right out and saying the organization's claim that Lin was informed beforehand about the Anthony jersey plan is false.

Still, the Lin Only Haters try to somehow make him the bad guy in the story, casting him as something of an oversensitive baby for reacting to a slight that would deeply offend any professional athlete with a pulse.

But a funny thing's happening. The campaign isn't working. The Rockets are only hurting themselves with their petty ways. Things are going to work out fine for Jeremy Lin.

Jeremy Lin's Future Team

If Lin gets jettisoned to Philadelphia, he ends up back with Sam Hinkie, one guy in the Rockets front office who really seemed to relish signing Lin in the first place. (Hinkie, now the 76ers general manager, is the one who memorably saved the Golden Nugget pen that Lin used to scrawl his signature on that offer sheet with Houston.)

Milwaukee would be a more troublesome destination because of the reckless turmoil egomaniac Jason Kidd's already created with his coup, but at least Kidd appreciates the value of a point guard who shares the basketball.

 The Houston Rockets aren't just in danger of losing free agency. They're in danger of losing their reputation for class. 

Regardless, there is no way Jeremy Lin could end up with less of a real opportunity than he has in Houston.

The Rockets, on the other hand, could easily emerge from the fiasco, having messed up a good team. If Lin's traded away and another difference maker perimeter player isn't added, McHale's team will suffer even if Bosh somehow joins Dwight Howard in the frontcourt. If the Rockets lose Lin and don't add any new players with all-star potential anywhere, it's a complete disaster.

Jeremy Lin's sitting in a better position than the Rockets.

NBA players notice how organizations treat their players. It doesn't matter what anyone thinks of Lin's talent level or his ceiling in this case. The Rockets' callous disregard for a productive player is what reverberates around the league.

Kyle Lowry responded to Morey's rather pathetic attempt to woo him back — after McHale drove him out of town — by using it to get a better contract from the team he truly wants to play with. Carmelo doesn't have the Rockets in his final cut of contenders.

Who's next?

Chandler Parsons is close with Lin. You don't think Parsons will think about how the Rockets treated Lin, how everyone but Howard and James Harden are nothing but disposable numbers in Houston, when the Dallas Mavericks put a monster-sized offer sheet in front of him?

The Houston Rockets aren't just in danger of losing free agency. They're in danger of losing their reputation for class.

What's it going to take for Leslie Alexander to step in? When will the voice of the owner be heard?

Alexander pushed Morey to sign Lin to that $25.1 million offer sheet in the first place. He believed when others didn't. He's a link to championships past.

How low does this franchise have to go before he's heard?

Newsletters for exploring your city

Daily Digest

Houston news, views + events

The Dining Report

News you can eat

Insider Offers

Curated experiences at exclusive prices

Promo Alerts

Special offers + exclusive deals

We will not share or sell your email address