Daryl Morey Speaks Out on Jeremy Lin, Carmelo Anthony Situation
In the song "Who's That Man" by Toby Keith, the protagonist in the song is driving through the town and past the house that he used to live in at one time with his kids.
Presumably divorced now, he ganders long enough as he is
creepily stalking driving past his house to see the man who is now the love of his ex-spouse. The man who is figuratively "running his life." It has to be a pretty bewildering, empty feeling to see someone else presiding over that which you'd worked so hard to establish.
And if eventually Jeremy Lin makes a version of "Who's That Man" where he sings about the Carmelo Anthony Photoshops that the Rockets used in their recruiting meetings on Tuesday, images in which Anthony was sporting Lin's #7 jersey while Lin is actually still on the Rockets' roster, well go ahead and assume that Lin immediately becomes my favorite player in all of team sports.
Indeed, of all the wrinkles to come out of Anthony's visit, the furor over the perceived slight of Lin was the oddest.
The Rockets' pitch to Anthony, not surprisingly, left no stone unturned. It had videos, it had books, it had Rockets past and present, and it even had a stellar five-star meal at Américas in River Oaks.
And yes, it had images of Anthony wearing a Rockets #7 jersey.
This raised many an eyebrow, and actually was enough to draw Jeremy Lin, current wearer of #7 (for now), onto Twitter to address the situation, first with a biblical sub tweet (nothing like combining religious beliefs with passive aggressiveness):
Luke 6:29 - If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them— Jeremy Lin (@JLin7) July 2, 2014
...and then with a follow-up explaining the Bible verse in his previous tweet:
@EmodMarco im entitled to standup for myself/say i felt disrespected as i did thru tweet but point is love unconditionally/as jesus loved me— Jeremy Lin (@JLin7) July 2, 2014
From there, we had Yahoo! Sports NBA guru Adrian Wojnarowski essentially shift from free agency news breaker to gossip columnist for a couple of tweets:
Houston pre-informed Jeremy Lin of the use of his No. 7 on 'Melo recruiting images, source tells Yahoo Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 2, 2014
Spoke to Lin's agents, Jim Tanner/Roger Montgomery, who say that Houston did NOT inform Lin that the No. 7 would be used for Melo images.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 2, 2014
He said, he said, they said. It's all a little petty, no?
So it was up to Daryl Morey to finally bring some truth and sanity to this dust-up, some necessary broken glass considering the goal of the Rockets should be to put their best foot forward with the recruitment of Carmelo Anthony, not massage Jeremy Lin's feelings. This comes courtesy of Mark Berman of FOX 26 (and transcribed by The Dream Shake):
"It's always a challenging situation during free agency. You are always having to recruit players and there might be current players at current positions, might be people with the current numbers. It's unfortunate that it's often hard to handle. Reality is it's standard practice. When we went after Chris Bosh a few years ago, we had him in Luis Scola's number. When we went after Dwight Howard he had [Patrick] Beverley's number. I get the sensitivity and I hate that it creates some hurt feelings. I don't like that, but that's obviously Carmelo Anthony's number, that's the number he wants. He told us that. Bottomline, if Carmelo comes Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin have to be traded. It's just math. It's not personal. My job is every day [to] figure out how to win. Sometimes it creates challenging situations."
Dave Hardisty of Clutch Fans put it best on my radio show Tuesday afternoon -- of all the ways to potentially offend Jeremy Lin, slapping the number 7 jersey onto Carmelo Anthony's picture was like the third or fourth way they've done it. Everyone in management, from Les Alexander on down, has openly discussed the pursuit of a third All-Star player since the time Damian Lillard's shot met cotton to close out Game 6 in the Blazers series. It's understood that in order to make that happen, Lin's contract (and Omer Asik's contract) would have to be traded.
On Tuesday, there even surfaced rumors of not only a done deal but specifically a trade partner. To no one's surprise, the trade partner would be Philadelphia, a team that a) is not trying to win games, b) needs to spend money just to get to the league's salary floor ($15 million in LIn's salary will help) and c) is run by former Morey underling Sam Hinkie.
The bad news for Lin would be that he's playing out the final year of his deal on a team that will win around 20 games. The good news is that they accept American currency in Philadelphia, and Lin will have a lot of it.
So why did the jersey thing set Lin off today? Well, because it's one thing to hear esoteric discussion of your team opening cap room and acquiring other players without your being directly mentioned by name.
It's another thing to see your jersey on someone else, much the same way it's another thing to see some other dude in your old front yard playing with your kids and your dog.
Divorce is tough.
Who's that man, Jeremy? That man is Melo.