Jeremy Lin, Omer Asik

Report: Rockets have moves ready for Asik/Lin trades, but want to keep them if they can’t get Carmelo or LeBron


The Rockets used to be a team that tried to get by with inexpensive talent that overachieved, a moneyball sort of approach where talent evaluation was more important than going out and getting proven superstars via trade or free agency.

When that strategy failed somewhat miserably, Plan B kicked into full gear, which meant obtaining superstars at any and all cost.

James Harden and Dwight Howard were able to be obtained, but that still wasn’t enough to put the team into legitimate championship contention. One more star is needed, and there are potentially a couple on the market in LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, either of whom would be extremely intriguing alongside the other two in the Houston starting lineup.

For the Rockets to be able to offer even close to a max contract, however, they’ll need to move some existing pieces in order to create that space. Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin are the ones at the top of the list of who would need to go, and supposedly, Houston isn’t worried about being able to trade them without taking any salary back in return.

That’s the logical approach, obviously, because you don’t want to give up legitimate rotation players for nothing unless you know there’s some incoming talent on the horizon.

LeBron seems like a ridiculous long shot, however, and though Anthony’s situation is fluid, there’s no realistic combination of moves Houston can make that would enable the team to offer him a max contract in free agency.

The most interesting thing to note here is that the Rockets already have a potential team (or teams) lined up to unload Lin and Asik, should a high-caliber free agent like James or Anthony come calling. That itself is no small feat, and just further goes to show that Houston’s front office is among the elite at playing this game.

Sacramento Kings documentary airing delayed over Kevin Johnson sexual-assault allegations

Kevin Johnson
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ESPN planned to air a documentary Oct. 20 on Sacramento keeping the Kings. Presumably, Sacramento mayor and former NBA player Kevin Johnson would have been a hero in the film.

Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated:

In light of recent articles revisiting allegations of sexual misconduct involving Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, ESPN has decided to delay its on-the-air premiere of Down In The Valley, a 30 for 30 ESPN Film that focuses on the fight to keep the Sacramento Kings from relocating to another city.

Deitsch is referring to an article by Dave McKenna of Deadspin, in which Mandi Koba described how Johnson – then a star point guard for the Suns – sexually assaulted her as a 16-year-old in 1996. Deadspin also posted video of her detailing the abuse to police at the time:

This is all obviously troubling. One concern is why this is getting attention only now. The Phoenix New Times covered these allegations in 1997. 1997! Other than Koba going on the record in the media, what has changed? As a society, we are too reluctant to believe potential victims of sexual assault. This is not a court of law. There might not be ample evidence to find Johnson committed a crime beyond reasonable doubt. But if we’re troubled by the allegations now, we should have been troubled for the last 18 years.

Johnson, who maintained a sterling public image despite the New Times reports, was later investigated for “inappropriate sexual conduct” of multiple students at St. HOPE Academy – again detailed by McKenna.

McKenna has also covered Johnson using public money toward private ends, using private employees to do quasi-public work, trying to keep his private emails public and dissolving a historic black mayors group.

C.J. McCollum ejected for flagrantly fouling Gordon Hayward (video)

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I’m not sure C.J. McCollum meant to grab Gordon Hayward‘s neck. The 6-foot-8 Hayward elevated, and the 6-foot-4 McCollum just might not have been able to get high enough to make a play on the ball.

But McCollum did grab Hayward’s neck.

It was a dangerous and unnecessary play, especially in the preseason.