After being wasted and misused by the Houston Rockets for two whole seasons, Jeremy Lin has been traded to the Los Angeles Lakers where he’ll once again find himself next to a ball-dominant shooting guard but with a clean slate to succeed and hopefully not play under a head coach that has something against him.
The Lakers, according to Lin’s agent, have been interested in Lin for quite some time. The Rockets needed to part of a first round draft pick in order to complete the trade, with the Lakers swallowing Lin’s $8.3 million cap hit and his $15 million salary this season. The Rockets were hoping this gives them the cap space to sign Chris Bosh, but they were burned on that end as well, with Bosh signing with the Miami Heat.
For the Lakers, this isn’t the superstar they were hoping for. They can still sign Carmelo Anthony, but it seems Anthony himself is more inclined to either stay with the New York Knicks or sign with the Chicago Bulls. Still, Lin, if he’s used in the right way, might become a much bigger hit than they are expecting him to be, and his usefulness will come not just from his contract expiring and helping the Lakers shed cap space going into the 2015 offseason.
So far in his short NBA career, Lin has been often compared to Steve Nash for his vision and passing ability. Now he gets to play next to him, and with a very good chance of starting due to Nash’s bad back and inability to stay healthy for a very long time over the last couple of years. Kendall Marshall is also on the team, but he has a non-guaranteed contract and it’s not quite clear whether they’ll be keeping him on or not.
Lin played next to James Harden in Houston. Now it’ll be Kobe Bryant. The difference? Not that big actually, with Bryant actually known to be a tyrant to some of his teammates. But this is a fresh page for Lin after two rough years under Kevin McHale. It didn’t matter how good he was when given the chance to show his abilities; one mistake sent him to the bench, and as step down in the rotation. With the Lakers, he should at least be given a new chance, unless they’re also planning on misusing him.
There won’t be a championship this season in Los Angeles. Maybe not even the playoffs unless we start seeing some new players coming in. Nick Young has been re-signed on a four-year, $21.5 million deal. Jordan Hill has also stayed on a two-year, $18 million deal. The roster is fleshing out, but the Lakers still have room for more signings, although they won’t be as big as they wanted.