The Rockets have deals in place to move the contracts of both Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik, tweets Sam Amick of USA Today. Houston would need to move both deals to make room for either Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James, but they are waiting to part with Lin and Asik until they are sure they could land either superstar this summer. Presumably, a deal for either would bring back limited returns thanks to the bloated payout due each player for the 2014/15 season. If Houston were to part with the burdensome, but productive players only to strike out in free agency, it would weaken their team heading into next season.
‘Melo is increasingly expected to opt out and change teams, but his decision to leave the Knicks is still weighing on him, writes Chris Herring of The Wall Street Journal. The Rockets are considered a front-runner to land ‘Melo if he opts out as expected, and the Bulls are their steepest competition. Chicago has been zeroing in on the All-Star since February, making a host of moves to clear the necessary cap space to sign him, per Herring. James appears more likely to remain with his home team in Miami, but should he leave the Heat, both the Bulls and Rockets are preparing to pursue him as well.
The Rockets snagged Lin and Asik away from Chicago and New York before the 2012/13 season with identical contracts that include a balloon payment exceeding the cap hit in the final year, which is the approaching 2014/15 season. Ironically, the deals that pried the pair away from their respective teams in 2012 are now putting Houston at a disadvantage against the same teams in acquiring Anthony.