We’re getting closer and closer to the beginning of free agency. Jeremy Lin, unrestricted for the first time, has a big decision ahead of him. The best teams for him might be the Dallas Mavericks or Sacramento Kings, but playing for the Chicago Bulls or Golden State Warriors, even without starting for them, wouldn’t be too bad either.
Update: There’s one report (not the most credible of sources, but who is credible when it comes to these crazy rumors?) suggesting 7 teams are going after Lin in free agency: The Warriors, Rockets, Nuggets, Mavericks, Pacers, Nets and Suns.
Boston Celtics – The Celtics have Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley, Phil Pressey, Isaiah Thomas and they also drafted Terry Rozier. Not that Lin isn’t a good fit for this team, but the slate is full.
Brooklyn Nets – Deron Williams, Jarrett Jack and now also Steve Blake, although he might be moved on, who knows. Jeremy Lin would be an upgrade for them, but for a team that can’t run and with a rather uncreative head coach in Lionel Hollins, this doesn’t really make sense.
New York Knicks – A lot of people want this to happen again. The Knicks need someone like Lin, who isn’t just a better player than whatever they have at this position (washed up Jose Calderon and Jerian Grant, a rookie), but will also create some buzz among fans. But the Knicks shouldn’t be touched with a 3000-mile stick by Lin.
Philadelphia 76ers – Can the 76ers use Lin? Yes. But should Lin go there? Nope. The 76ers haven’t got their tanking plans figured out. This is a team to stay away from for pretty much everyone.
Cleveland Cavaliers – Maybe more of a mixed choice. Kyrie Irving means not a lot of chances to start, and if Matthew Dellavedova is re-signed that’s another player to fight over minutes with. LeBron James (unless he leaves) means not getting to touch the ball a whole lot. This is a good team to play for, but Lin would be wasted on it.
Atlanta Hawks – Jeff Teague and Dennis Schorder as his backup. Not going to happen for Lin.
Toronto Raptors – Interesting. Kyle Lowry right now is their point guard but he might be traded. Greivis Vasquez was traded. Delon Wright, a point guard, is the Raptors first round rookie, but he won’t stand in the way of Lin starting. But if Lowry is traded, it might mean the Raptors are tanking. How badly does Lin want a starting job?
Chicago Bulls – The only point guard the Bulls have signed right now is Derrick Rose. Aaron Brooks and Kirk Hinrich are free agents. They need a backup to Rose, and backing up Rose means minutes and even starting opportunities. Fred Hoiberg brings along a great offensive flavor with him. Interesting opportunity for Lin.
Detroit Pistons – Regardless of whether Stan Van Gundy thinks Lin is a good fit, a lot here depends on what happens with Jennings – is he traded or not, and most importantly Reggie Jackson and his re-signing saga. The Pistons offer an interesting opportunity to Lin, but it’s had to say whether or not that’s actually realistic right now.
Indiana Pacers – The Pacers have been one of the teams mentioned as showing interest in Lin, and why not? They have George Hill and basically no one else, especially if Rodney Stuckey is going to sign somewhere else. Lin can make Hill play some two-guard and help the Pacers in their attempts to play fast-paced basketball for once.
Milwaukee Bucks – Described by many as an ideal landing spot for Lin, but that doesn’t happen unless the Bucks start offloading some guards, which they have quite a lot of. Lin would make sense for them because it gives them a player who knows what to do with the ball instead of simply lowering his head and running into a wall of players.
Charlotte Hornets – Lin isn’t going to start for them, but their only point guard right now is Kemba Walker, with Mo Williams hitting free agency again. Lin could carve out a nice playing niche with the Hornets, where he can do some nice things with big men like Al Jefferson and Frank Kaminsky.
Miami Heat – A lot of unknowns right now. Dwyane Wade is unsigned, and so is Goran Dragic. The Heat don’t want Mario Chalmers or Shabazz Napier anymore. But if Dragic and Wade are on the team, Lin won’t have too many minutes of having the ball in his hands, but backing up the two and being part of some three-man rotation on two spots isn’t a bad idea.
Orlando Magic – Elfrid Payton and Victor Oladipo are going to start in the Magic’s backcourt. Beyond that? Lin has a chance to get minutes here, but being coached by a hard head like Scott Skiles, despite his point guard past, might not be the best of solutions for Lin.
Washington Wizards – The backcourt of Bradley Beal and John Wall doesn’t leave a lot of place and mintues for others. Ramon Sessions is also going to eat up minutes Lin doesn’t want to lose.
Denver Nuggets – Another team rumored to be interested in Lin. Mike Malone isn’t a bad coach to play for as well. However, the Nuggets still have Ty Lawson on the team and drafted Emmanuel Mudiay. Lin’s answer is probably not here.
Minnesota Timberwolves – Ricky Rubio, Zach LaVine, Kevin Martin, Andrew Wiggins. Not enough minutes or balls to include Lin in as well.
Oklahoma City Thunder – Russell Westbrook isn’t great to play behind, but they also have D.J. Augustin and Dion Waiters. Lin won’t find minutes or the right role on this team.
Portland Trail Blazers – They do need a backup point guard to Damian Lillard, but he plays almost 36 minutes a night. There’s also Wesley Matthews and C.J. McCollum in this backcourt. Lin could do a lot of good on this team, but it’s hard to see him getting too many minutes, which means he needs somewhere else.
Utah Jazz – Trey Burke and Dante Exum aren’t going anywhere soon, and Gordon Hayward gets to handle the ball quite a lot as well. Lin won’t find his answer here.
Golden State Warriors – Very interesting option for a number of reasons, especially if Leandro Barbosa doesn’t stay. Stephen Curry means no starting spot for Lin, but playing on a second unit next to Shaun Livingston and Andre Iguodala isn’t bad at all, and the Warriors do love some small ball set ups. There’s also the huge following Lin will have in the Bay Area. Not the best option in terms of minutes and a starting spot, but great in other aspects.
Los Angeles Clippers – With Jamal Crawford backing up the guard positions, Paul Pierce probably arriving and Lance Stephenson joining the team, before we even mention Chris Paul as the starting point guard, there’s no room here for Lin.
Los Angeles Lakers – Been there, done that, won’t happen.
Houston Rockets – A better fit than the Lakers, but still, no place for Lin to be at.
Phoenix Suns – If Brandon Knight doesn’t re-sign with them there’s clearly an opportunity for Lin to maybe even find a starting role (the Suns play a lot of two-point guard sets), but a lot is unclear at the moment about their roster of guards besides Eric Bledsoe.
Sacramento Kings – As we’ve mentioned, this might be perfect for Lin. But that depends on the Kings not making a move for Ty Lawson or Rajon Rondo, although Lin should still have a place to play significant minutes with them on the team as well. Too murky and unclear right now.
Dallas Mavericks – The Dallas Mavericks need a point guard bad. Lin could be fantastic for them, and also teaming up with his bromance buddy, Chandler Parsons. The Mavericks need a lot of other things as well, and will go after LaMarcus Aldridge and DeAndre Jordan before making other moves.
Memphis Grizzlies – No starting role here for Lin. But backing up Mike Conley and getting some minutes behind him? Only if Beno Udrih is traded, but right now, doesn’t seem like too many minutes to go around for Lin to poach.
New Orleans Pelicans – Alvin Gentry knows offense, but is there room for Lin? If Jrue Holiday is healthy, he’s starting. Tyreke Evans gets a lot of time with the ball as well. The Pelicans were happy with Norris Cole, but he’s a free agent. Not a great place for Lin to land in.
San Antonio Spurs – Could be amazing for Lin, as Tony Parker plays less minutes than before, Manu Ginobili might not return and only Patty Mills eating up point guard minutes. But there are a lot of ifs to consider, so right now, without the Spurs making moves to clear a way for a new point guard, it’s not going to happen.