But when the dust settles on this trade, the Houston Rockets—Lin specifically—will be much better off in the long run.
It’s never fun to break up a group of players this far into the season, but it’s a reality of the business of being an NBA player.
It’s a reality Lin clearly understands, according to Dave Zangaro of CSNHouston.com:
To be honest, I was like ‘I don’t even want to play. I don’t even want to play tonight.’ It was really emotional. I wish them the best. It just sucks to see them go and I guess that’s a part of the business but that’s a tough part for me.
For someone who didn’t feel like playing, Lin sure looked the part of a star point guard in Thursday night’s narrow win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Lin outplayed everyone on the floor, with exception to James Harden and his magnificent 46-point performance. Lin finished things off by dropping 29 points, pulling down six boards and dishing eight assists.
While the initial sting of losing his teammates may have taken over from an emotional standpoint, Lin’s team responded against a very tough opponent.
That resiliency and performance seems to go in-line with what forward Chandler Parsons said prior to tipoff with the Thunder (h/t Zangaro):
We have our core guys that do the most of the carrying of the team. The guys that are here now are great locker room guys. We’re going to miss those four guys who are gone but it’s not going to affect us going forward. We’re going to play our game and we’re going to welcome in the new guys.
Parsons is right.
Houston has created a very favorable situation for itself. There are several big-name players available during the offseason that may now find Houston an attractive destination.
Houston would be an attractive destination for Howard and Smith and has expressed interest in both of them in the past. Pairing Lin and Harden with either—or both—would definitely propel the Rockets to new heights in 2013-14.
Adding an effective post player to play the pick-and-roll game with Lin would also help free him up to create plays for himself and his teammates off of those screens.
Losing friends is always tough, especially ones you’ve shared a locker room with for several months.
However, in the end, the Rockets and Lin will be better off.
Life goes on.