Jeremy Lin, Free Agency, and Shutting People Up

Jeremy Lin

Jeremy Lin has a big day, 72 hours, or week ahead of him: He’s entering unrestricted free agency for the second time in his career, in a much better position this time, with the Charlotte Hornets behind him, and a fair number of what should be good offers laid out in front of him.

There was this tweet from Rick Bonnell earlier today:

In hard-sell, he means the Nets are going to overpay Lin. And there seems to be a notion, as I read message boards, forums, Facebook comments and more, that Lin is somehow taking advantage of a situation, and probably walking into a contract he doesn’t deserve. And it just goes to show how people cast their opinions just by reading certain writers, reading certain box scores, or simply establishing an opinion on a matter from something they knew years ago, and haven’t actually seen the man in action recently.

As we’ve mentioned a number of times, Lin didn’t have the perfect season in Charlotte, otherwise they would have been working a lot harder to keep him. The Hornets aren’t that happy that Lin is slipping through their fingers, but when you put Nicolas Batum and Marvin Williams as your top priorities, without wanting to go even a little bit over the luxury tax, don’t be surprised when one of the most important players on a team has little interest in coming back.

Lin is a starting point guard in the NBA. Not just a point guard who can start on bad teams or something of the sort. He’s the kind of guy who can be a key part in the backcourt of a good team, with serious ambitions. His numbers as a starter, time and time again, prove it. His ability in big games, when the ball is in his hands, proves it. Forget about Linsanity, or the good & bad in Houston/Los Angeles. Think about last season. The best games the Hornets had, in the regular season and the short playoff appearance, came when Lin was getting credit to lead them. It wasn’t a one-time thing. Almost every time Clifford turned to Lin, wanting to or not, it paid off.

There’s a reason Lin is more in demand this offseason than last year. His season with the Lakers, regardless if it was or wasn’t his fault, didn’t really make general managers hungry to sign him. Lin had to settle for well below his market value. He did enough this year to position himself to earn money he deserves, and get the minutes & role he deserves. From what it looks like, a lot of people are having a hard time coping with reality, which they either refuse to watch or are simply blind to.

Free agency begins in a few hours (or maybe has already started, depends on when you’re reading this post). Lin has leverage and suitors, and probably the ideal team and situation for him. If the rumors are true and our hunches are right, Lin isn’t stuck in a position of having to wait for someone like Kevin Durant to make up his mind so he can sign the contract he wants. In most free agency scenarios, it’s better to get things signed as quickly as possible, before vacancies start disappearing.

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