Jeremy Lin is off to a strong start with the Santa Cruz Warriors and could earn his way back onto an NBA roster before the season is over, but an insider believes it will likely not be with the Golden State Warriors and will depend largely on his ability to stay healthy.
Lin made his way back to the United States after averaging 22.3 points in a successful Chinese Basketball Association stint last year, hoping to set aside lingering doubts about his health and return to his first NBA action in two years. While there has been speculation that Lin’s strong play in the G-League could prompt the Golden State Warriors to give him a look, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Connor Letourneau believes his next NBA destination will be elsewhere.
Lin May Earn Another Shot at NBA
Speaking on the San Francisco Chronicle’s Warriors Off Court podcast, Letourneau said that Lin has excelled with the Santa Cruz Warriors this season, looking at ease on the court. He noted that Lin was getting a lot of buzz in NBA circles through his first four games with the Sea Dubs, a stretch in which he averaged 19.6 points and 7.2 assists per game.
Jeremy Lin in the @NBAGLeague today
27 PTS | 7 AST | 6 REBpic.twitter.com/EDPb6mW6YY
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) February 18, 2021
Then came the setback. Lin was pulled just before Saturday’s game against the Salt Lake City Stars after experiencing back soreness. Letourneau said that while the move may have seemed minor, it cast a spotlight back on the health concerns that led to his NBA exit.
“It was unfortunate because he had played super well in Santa Cruz’s first four games, put up really good numbers and was easing a lot of concerns front offices had about him,” Letourneau said, adding that Lin had been making an impact beyond scoring and looked like a true point guard through those four games.
Letourneau added that Lin appeared to be on track for at least a 10-day contract with an NBA team and still could, though he believed it’s unlikely he would sign with the Warriors. Lin has no special ties to Golden State beyond playing for the G-League affiliate and is free to sign with any team.
Lin may have a preference on where he plays next. Letourneau wrote in a February 15 mailbag for the San Francisco Chronicle that Lin may welcome a return to Golden State, where his NBA career began in 2011.
“That being said, I’m sure Lin would love the chance to play for the Warriors. He’s a Palo Alto native who got his first NBA opportunity with Golden State, and he remains close with Warriors assistant general manager Kirk Lacob,” he wrote.
Others Believe Injury Will Derail Lin’s Comeback Hopes
Other insiders have a more pessimistic outlook on Lin’s chances of returning to the league. Dieter Kurtenbach of The Mercury News wrote that the tightness in his back appears “likely to derail his goal” to make it back to the NBA.
Kurtenbach noted that while Lin has looked NBA-ready this season, he has failed to answer the lingering questions about his durability.
“But if the No. 1 goal was, indeed, to prove that he is healthy enough to play in the NBA, missing two of seven SeaDubs games will be difficult, if not impossible, for NBA decision-makers to overlook,” Kurtenbach wrote.