Heading into his first free agency period, Jeremy Lin is going to try and find a team with a starting role to offer him at point guard. But being a backup in the right situation with the right minutes might be even better for him. Anything is better after a year with the Los Angeles Lakers and Byron Scott.
Despite his wishes, Lin might have to settle for a sixth man role, which isn’t such a bad idea. Coming off the bench doesn’t mean you won’t get a lot of minutes or stay off the court during crunch time. Lin might not be at his most useful when without the ball, but has worked pretty well in backcourts of three guards or next to another point guard, as long as he gets his fair share of the ball handling, which is making the most of his talents; something his last two NBA coaches managed to let slip through their fingers.
Obviously, the ideal situation for Lin is playing on a team that doesn’t have anyone at point guard threatening the starting spot and their shooting guard isn’t a ball dominant player; someone who doesn’t mind moving without the ball and picking his spots for shots instead of doing it all on his own with the ball. The pickings are slim, but they are out there.
One team looking to find a point guard are the Sacramento Kings. Rajon Rondo is always being mentioned with them, and now that there’s the DeMarcus Cousins trade talk going on, Ty Lawson is also an option. But if not, why not Lin? If Cousins is still on the team that gives Lin a very good center to work off of and thrive with in the pick and roll. Lin would fit well in an offensive system that tries to play as fast as possible.
The Indiana Pacers are a team that’s trying to pick up the pace after a few years of playing slow, methodical, boring, physical basketball. David West is opting out, Roy Hibbert is no longer held in high regard, and it’s a changing world. George Hill is their point guard, but despite being just 6’1, Hill is often better without the ball in his hands. He’s a good shooter and is a very good defender, which means he can keep his eye on bigger shooting guards without a problem.
The Dallas Mavericks might be the ideal team in this case. They don’t have a point guard (or shooting guard) at the moment. Devin Harris isn’t going to start. Rick Carlisle wants an offense that moves the ball and plays quickly. Chandler Parsons is on this team, which would re-ignite the bromance. The Mavericks have plenty of cap space (right now at least). Sounds good, but as with all other options, the Lin team is very quiet.
The Golden State Warriors seem nice. They need a backup point guard and putting Lin next to Shaun Livingston and Andre Iguodala sounds like a great idea. But that would mean Lin won’t get too many minutes, and the Warriors can’t offer him too much. Lin is willing to take less than he made in the last three years, but cut his salary by half?
The Miami Heat might sound nice if they can get rid of Mario Chalmers and Shabazz Napier. Lin is better than both of them, but there are just too many question marks for the Heat to address before they make any new signings. The Memphis Grizzlies could be an option if they move Beno Udrih but then again, it doesn’t mean a whole lot of minutes for Lin.
If Kirk Hinrich doesn’t pick up his player option, the Chicago Bulls and backing up Derrick Rose, which minutes and opportunities to start as Rose rest or gets injured (hopefully not), doesn’t sound too bad either. Again, there has been no news in that regards, but the Bulls changing coaches to Fred Hoiberg, much more offensive oriented and knowledgeable than Thibodeau does make this an attractive option.
We can go on forever and list every team in the league. Lin won’t go to the Lakers, shouldn’t come anywhere near the Knicks or the Rockets, for different reasons. The Toronto Raptors (possibly trading Lowry) could be an interesting choice, but that might mean heading towards a team that’s changing its goals towards rebuilding and yes, tanking. The Milwaukee Bucks and playing for Jason Kidd sounds like a great idea. The Portland Trail Blazers need someone better than Steve Blake on the team, but then again, backing up Lillard doesn’t promise a whole lot of minutes.
We’ll know a lot more once teams get their draft affairs in order (very soon). Maybe the lockdown on news coming out from Lin’s direction will be lifted and we’ll be a little bit less in the dark. Up until then it’s all speculation. In 2014 it was a trade and in 2012 it was restricted free agency and an offer from one team, without Lin having control of the situation. Having more control doesn’t promise him making the right choice, but it narrows down the chance of Lin finding himself once again wasting away on the wrong team with the wrong coach.