The Houston Rockets are apparently so confident they’ll land Dwight Howard next week that they’re already shopping Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik, according to Ken Berger from CBS Sports:
[pullquote]Emboldened by their pursuit of free agent Dwight Howard, the Rockets have called several teams and made Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin available in potential trades, league sources told CBSSports.com.
Houston has secured the first meeting with Howard shortly after the NBA’s free-agent negotiating period begins at 12:01 a.m. ET Monday. A contingent led by GM Daryl Morey and former Rocket Hakeem Olajuwon is scheduled to meet with Howard in Los Angeles. The Mavericks, Hawks and Warriors also have meetings scheduled with Howard, and the Lakers will get to make the final pitch on Tuesday, sources said.
The Rockets are oozing with confidence that they will lure Howard from the Lakers, and are making contingency plans to construct the team around him.
“They already have him, if you talk to them,” one league source said.[/pullquote]
I’m not sure how the Rockets can be so confident at this point: a time when they haven’t even talked to Howard – at least they shouldn’t have, according to league rules.
Howard is said to not even be decided himself yet, with meetings lined up with the Rockets, Hawks, Warriors, Mavericks and Lakers in the coming days.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Rockets move Asik seeing as he is a starting center, and if they land Howard, he won’t have much use. However, Lin would likely be harder to move due to his contract: though he makes the same amount as Asik, Lin saw a drop-off in his play last season.
The Rockets are probably just testing the waters right now to see what’s out there for Lin and Asik – I find it hard to believe that they are already convinced that Howard will be signing with them this summer.
The Rockets traded Thomas Robinson earlier today in order to create enough cap space to offer Howard a max contract later this evening.