Jeremy Lin’s days in Houston appear to be numbered.
The 25-year-old point guard has been tied to a vast amount of trade rumors before, but with his contract expiring at the end of next season and representing $8.4 million in salary cap space, a move this summer seems likely.
According to ESPN, the Philadelphia 76ers and Milwaukee Bucks are interested in trading for Lin but the possible deals hinge on what else Houston will send back.
The Rockets are currently trying to free up enough cap space to sign free agent forward Carmelo Anthony away from the New York Knicks, or at least put a package together with enough valuable assets to make the Knicks more amenable to a sign-and-trade.
Houston is also chasing Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh as a back-up plan, but still needs to clear cap space in order to do so. However the report stipulates that the Rockets would only trade Lin unless they knew they were getting back a player like an Anthony or Bosh.
Philadelphia may be asking for a first-round pick in the deal since Lin’s $14.8 million salary for next season only counts as $8.4 million in cap relief next summer.
Same goes for the Bucks, who were also mentioned as potential suitors for Lin, but they too need more incentive.
The Sixers already have Rookie of the Year and point guard Michael Carter-Williams on the roster, so Lin might be relegated to a more permanent role as a back-up, as opposed to his time in Houston where he’s started 115 games over the last two years.
Milwaukee also has a young floor general in Brandon Knight, but new head coach and former All-Star point guard Jason Kidd might find new ways to utilize Lin and help him expand his game.
A change of venue might be best for Lin and Houston. Lin was angered by the Rockets offering his No. 7 to Anthony during their pitch to the superstar earlier this week and for billboards around Houston that showed Anthony already in the jersey.
"Reality is it's standard practice,” Houston GM Daryl Morey said to Fox 26 Houston. “When we went after Chris Bosh a few years ago, we had him in (Luis) Scola's number. When we went after Dwight Howard he had (Pat) Beverley's number. I get the sensitivity and I hate that it creates some hurt feelings. I don't like that, but that's obviously Carmelo Anthony's number, that's the number he wants. He told us that. Bottom line, if Carmelo comes Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin have to be traded. It's just math. It's not personal. My job is every day figure out how to win. Sometimes it creates challenging situations."
Lin’s numbers dipped some last season. He averaged 12.5 points and 4.1 assists, his lowest totals since his rookie year with Golden State before he became a sensation with the Knicks back in 2012.