Jeremy Lin is months removed from an NBA championship with the Raptors. However, his summer has been much less productive; so much so that the unrestricted free agent is wondering about his future in the league.
“I’ve given more of myself to God every single year and every year it gets harder. In English, there’s a saying, and it says, ‘once you’ve hit rock bottom, the only way is up,'” Lin said at an event in Taiwan. “Rock bottom just seems to keep getting more and more rock bottom for me. So free agency has been tough, because I feel like in some ways the NBA’s kind of given up on me. I always knew that if I gave anyone a reason to doubt, they would.”
He averaged just under 10 points per game last season as a bench contributor with Atlanta and Toronto. Once the Hawks traded him to the Raptors at midseason, he saw his shooting percentages dip to 37.4 percent overall and just 20 percent from behind the arc.
However, he is just two seasons removed from 14.5 points per game with the Nets. He had scored 18 points before seeing his 2017-18 season end with a knee injury in Brooklyn’s opener.
The 31-year-old is a relatively cheap option for anyone seeking a scorer off the pine, as he earned just $697,358 last season. Assuming he takes the time to focus on his physical and mental health this offseason, is he a viable option for a team late in free agency?
Here are two destinations for him.
Charlotte no longer has Kemba Walker, so they are expected to be one of the worst teams in the Eastern Conference. With their minds on rebuilding, the Hornets can afford a one-year contract for a player like Lin, who can come off the bench as a high-usage and big point guard.
In terms of production, Lin projects higher than presumptive new starter Terry Rozier. Lin dished out 3.1 assists in limited action last season, while Rozier managed just 2.9. The risk here is bringing on Lin in a young backcourt comprised of Shelvin Mack, Joe Chealey and Devonte’ Graham.
However, Lin is a more proven commodity than any of those players. In addition, he can flex to shooting guard, where he has posted higher scoring averages than any of the projected contributors.
He’s cheap, plus he’s better than the other options. What could Charlotte lose by taking a flier on him?
New York Knicks
Going back to where Linsanity started. In his one season at Madison Square Garden, he announced his presence in the league with 14.6 points per game over 35 appearances (25 starts).
However, this is more of a financial decision for a team that’s a year away from making a playoff run. Lin was No. 2 on the jersey sales list in 2012 after his breakout season, so bringing back on nostalgic face for a struggling team has a chance of generating revenue.
This is another one-year contract opportunity. The hope is that Wayne Ellington and Frank Ntilikina can produce enough this season to become viable trade options next offseason, as the Knicks attempt to bring in the likes of DeMar DeRozan or Gordon Hayward.