Early signs show the Houston Rockets knew what they were doing when they brought Jeremy Lin to town. Their team seems on an upswing but still a piece or two from real contention. Could they bring in a centerpiece like Andrew Bynum?
Lin and James Harden have Rockets on the right track
Many experts thought Houston would stand pat after their free agency bonanza that brought in fan phenomenon Lin as well as a host of other promising talents. Clearly though the move nobody saw coming was a blockbuster deal for reigning Sixth Man of the Year James Harden. The Rockets gave up a lot for the 23-year-old, but early signs show they made the right choice. Harden has averaged 35 points per game while Lin has settled into his point guard role with 15 points, seven assists and five rebounds a game. It is easily one of the up-and-coming backcourts in the NBA fans will love to watch. Houston is 2-1 so far and good enough for a playoff run but it's hard to see such a team winning a championship. Their chemistry isn't in place yet and some think they are still a player short from becoming a real contender. That hole is focused on the center spot where former Chicago Bull Omer Asik stands. The Turkish talent brought defense and rebounding from the Windy City but also a questionable role on offense. If he can't get that fixed it's hard seeing Houston contend with the other Western conference teams.
Philadelphia 76ers have limited time to decide on Bynum
By luck the 2013 free agent class will feature a number of talented centers, barring contract extensions over the next few months. With Dwight Howard likely to stay in Los Angeles, the biggest name on the list is Andrew Bynum. The monstrous and somewhat enigmatic center joined the Philadelphia 76ers after the Howard trade but hasn't suited up so far because of injuries. Bynum had no problem with the trade because he was tired of playing according to the Kobe Bryant rules. The issue now becomes whether he wants to stay in Philadelphia. The 76ers gave up a lot for him but made it clear they don't view him as their savior. They shouldn't. Bynum is only under contract for the rest of the season with an option to either re-sign for three years at his current rate or seek higher pay on the market. Barring more injury problems the Rockets should very much have interest in him. Bynum has his issues but he is also seven-foot tall, big and can score 18 points per game. Throw in two championship rings and he is exactly what Houston needs.
Jeremy Lin has earned his pay so far with help from James Harden, but to get the Houston Rockets a third title they need a presence under the hoop. If Andrew Bynum doesn't choose to stay in Philadelphia, he can become the last piece to the puzzle.
Photo Credit - Howard Smith