Yesterday was about the fantasy, wishful thinking – What would be the ideal situation for Jeremy Lin in order for him to stay a Charlotte Hornets player this offseason. Today is about reality, which most likely pulls him in another direction.
The most important thing to remember is this: The Charlotte Hornets aren’t changing themselves for Lin. There might be teams in the league willing to give him the starting point guard position, but the Hornets are not one of them.
Steve Clifford isn’t going to get fired after a 48-win season, although we have seen something similar happen over the last few years: A head coach leading a team to their best season in a while and still get fired for underachieving. Don’t think it’s the case this time.
Kemba Walker isn’t getting traded, and isn’t going to get moved. Not to the bench to become a scoring sixth man (although his playing style is perfect for it) or become a guard that plays off the ball. He’s a terrible defender and too often gets locked up in his isolation mode, but Michael Jordan wants him as the star of this team, Clifford is eager to please (or just thinks the same thing), and that’s that. If Lin stays, it’ll always be as either a backup to Walker, or his inferior partner in the backcourt.
And money. Well, the Hornets might offer Lin the $7-8 million or maybe slightly more he should be worth now once he opts out of his deal (and it’ll be insane for him to not opt out, even if his main goal is staying in Charlotte), but I’m assuming other teams will be offering just as much. The Hornets have a lot of free agents to re-sign and add to the team, not to mention think about the long term and the next contract they give Walker, although there’s some time until we get to that point.
While the playoffs move on with the Heat, Raptors, Cavaliers, Hawks, Warriors, Blazers, Spurs and Thunder, teams already on their summer vacation begin thinking about next season, and the offseason. The draft prospects they’ll be working out. The missing pieces from their rosters and lineups. Lin could be a great fit for a number of teams. He could be a great fit for the Hornets too, but for that to happen it’ll take changes that simply aren’t going to happen. Lin might love playing in Charlotte, but it comes down to what’s the most important thing to him at this stage in his career, and in the end that’s probably going to lead him somewhere else. They’re not going to be selling a lot of these in Charlotte a few months from now.
If you haven’t checked out the fantasy version from before, now is a good time to do so.