Regardless of what happens with the Dwight Howard trade saga, all signs point to restricted free agent guard Jeremy Lin resigning with the New York Knicks, despite his offer sheet from the Houston Rockets. But if the Rockets are all-in to sign Howard (and it certainly appears that way), are they actually rooting for Lin to go back to Manhattan?
ESPN's Marc Stein points out that with the enormity of the proposed trade between Orlando and Houston for Howard, the Rockets wouldn't be in a position to take on Lin, who's expected to officially sign his offer sheet with the Rockets on Friday, and then have it matched by the Knicks within 72 hours. In addition, Houston's also dealing with Bulls guard Omer Asik, whom they've formally offered as well. Stein writes that in order to land Howard, the Rockets might be cheering against themselves, at least in the case of Lin:
The Rockets promised offer sheets to Asik and Lin early in free agency -- and are thus honor-bound to go through with them to ensure that they'll suffer no future repercussions from agents or players in free agency -- but it's possible that Houston is secretly rooting for both offer sheets to be matched. In that scenario, Houston would only be left with more cap space to try to get the Orlando trade done, which is clearly its No. 1 priority.
There had been talk previously that the entire Lin offer sheet was a favor from Houston to New York to help set the market for Lin so the Knicks could resign him. With Howard in the mix now, clearly that doesn't seem too far-fetched.