The situation of Jeremy Lin in the upcoming free agency has changed with all the trades happening around the league. Besides his Charlotte Hornets option (which is difficult to gauge), the Chicago Bulls just became a lot more interesting of a destination, although above all, the Brooklyn Nets are probably the favorites to sign him.
The Utah Jazz and the Indiana Pacers options probably closed. The Jazz added one more piece to their loaded (not necessarily with quality, but with bodies) backcourt by adding George Hill. The Pacers got the upgrade at point guard they wanted with Jeff Teague, while the Atlanta Hawks opened more minutes for Dennis Schroder, who didn’t really get along all that well with Teague according to his reaction after the deal was announced.
The intriguing option of the San Antonio Spurs isn’t off the table, although they did draft Dejounte Murray, which doesn’t mean much short term, but it’s impossible to ignore the decline of Tony Parker, which is happening faster than some expected. Is Lin an option there? Not a lot has been said of it that’s leaked out to the media. Initially, the Spurs are going to be busy trying to convince Kevin Durant to sign with them, After that, who knows what the order of business will be.
The Brooklyn Nets did add two rookies via the draft, both of them guards, but none of them are something to worry about if you’re looking to get minutes there. Isaiah Whitehead is a nice player, but there’s a long way before he displaces anyone for a starting point guard position. All the links and openings connecting Lin to the Nets point guard position are still there. But Brooklyn isn’t the only place for Lin to consider signing with, if the option is available to him.
What makes the Bulls such an enticing option now? Lin was perfect to be a backup point guard for them last season. Now he’s perfect for the starting job, although Denzel Valentine being draft might suggest otherwise. As talented as an all-around player as Valentine may be, he’s not starting point guard material. Not right now, and I’m not sure it’s his ideal position to carve out a successful future in the NBA, but obviously, basing predictions on what one did with Michigan State isn’t always wise.
The Bulls pretty much said this with their deal: This is Jimmy Butler’s team. Everything else is up for grabs. Jose Calderon isn’t starting point guard material for a team that’s interested in making the playoffs. While Butler likes to have the ball, it’s more of a Paul George situation, like in Indiana. He’s the main guy on this team, but not everything will go through him, unless the Bulls plan on continuing their slide towards irrelevance. If, and I assume that’s the plan, Fred Hoiberg’s offense will start featuring a lot more in the Bulls’ plans, Lin could be perfect for it. In creating a big backcourt next to Butler, with long arms, great defense and the ability to switch things up offensively.
Ideal? I’m not sure there’s such a thing for Lin. The Dallas Mavericks could also be a very good landing spot for him. It’ll take some moving of players, but the potential is there. Lin opting out makes his financial intentions clearer than his team-oriented ones, but that can be said about every player. The Nets remain the best thing out there for Lin when you consider his fit with the program and the people running it, but the Bulls just became something that is difficult to ignore, especially if the money’s right.