Hopefully getting substantial minutes from Byron Scott which is something he can never count on, Jeremy Lin might be playing in more than just a regular season game. Facing his former team, the New York Knicks, Lin might actually be auditioning for his next contract.
Well, one might say that every game for a player that’s about to hit free agency is an audition. But rumors have been showing up over the last few weeks about Lin’s next destination. Some speak of the Lakers re-signing him, although that doesn’t make a lot of sense considering Kobe Bryant and Byron Scott are staying. The Houston Rockets, another former team for Lin, have also been mentioned. But why are things going to be different? This is still James Harden’s team, without too many minutes left for Lin to actually play point guard.
And then we come to the New York Knicks, that according to the standings are the worst team in the NBA. The Knicks provided the background for the short Linsanity phase which propelled Lin from nowhere to one of the most recognizable faces and names in the NBA, although it has also been something of a curse, because quickfire success brings with it a lot of hate that’s still being trailing Lin ever since due to some weird perception of his basketball skills as inferior to what they really are, not to mention a hint of racism due to his Asian heritage.
But I’m not saying anything new. Linsanity is old news. Lin’s next contract, next team, is the subject at hand right now. Sure, there’s what’s left of this season for the Lakers but frankly, it’s rarely exciting news. Following a tanking team is never easy because of the very few moments of actual importance going on most of the time. The mundane experience of seeing the same thing over and over again puts you to sleep, and sometimes makes you miss the few moments that are actually worth watching the Lakers in. More often than not, it happens when Lin is on the floor.
Back to the Knicks. They have only $34 million committed to next season; $22.8 million to Carmelo Anthony, $7.4 million to Jose Calderon. Clean slate, more or less, besides that. Tim Hardaway Jr. is going to stick around and so will Langston Galloway. There’s room for a lot of new players. And is Lin one of them? This is, according to reports, Phil Jackson’s team, not James Dolan’s anymore. Or at least so they say. There can only be so much losing and terrible basketball an owner can endure without his ego stepping in.
His ego. They say Dolan didn’t match the offer sheet from the Rockets because of that ego. Dolan didn’t like watching a player he probably had no idea about suddenly carry the Knicks in superb fashion. Anthony? That was the guy he pushed to bring over and maybe doom the Knicks to another long period of mediocrity (at best). Lin? That had nothing to do with Dolan, and so, maybe, he just had to go. It’s all speculation in any case.
Is there something there? The triangle offense doesn’t sound like such a fit for Lin, if that tactic of attack stays. Lin needs quick basketball and open floor, although he’s adding more and more to his game with every offseason. He’s a smart enough player to adjust. And yet that’s not what he’s best suited for. The problem is that due to how things have developed over the last three years, Lin isn’t hitting free agency with the kind of leverage he had in 2012 (as a restricted free agent back then). Picking the ideal situation would be… ideal, obviously, but Lin might eventually have to settle for the lesser of two (or more) evils.