Jeremy Lin Degree of Difficulty Rises as Brooklyn Nets Strike Out on RFA’s

Jeremy Lin, Greivis Vasquez

The Brooklyn Nets missed out on signing restricted free agents Tyler Johnson and Allen Crabbe, as the Miami Heat and Portland Trail Blazers respectively matched their offer sheets. This just means that for Jeremy Lin and the rest of the remaining/changing roster, things are going to be more difficult next season.

The ambitious offers made by the Nets came with poison pills, which means that the Nets did take into account that they might not succeed in bringing these players over. At least, by not being able to sign them, they took out competitors in the free agent market for other players. The Nets have more than $30 million in cap space and will have to use it on other players: Maybe another restricted free agent like Dion Waiters, Tyler Zeller, Donatas Motiejunas and Maurice Harkless, or maybe go for other targets like J.R. Smith, Terrence Jones and Jared Sullinger. With the amount of needs the Nets have, they can add pretty much anyone that’s on the list of remaining free agents ands they’ll still be getting help.

One player that has been signed way way in the background of the no-no from Johnson and Crabbe is Greivis Vasquez to play as Lin’s backup point guard. The Venezuelan point guard who was a first round pick in 2010 missed most of last season with an injury, playing 23 games for the Milwaukee Bucks, averaging 5.7 points and 4 assists per game, playing 20 minutes a night. He’s a big PG (6’6) who can also play shooting guard and even small forward in super small lineups, but he isn’t a threat to Lin’s position and minutes. If he’s healthy, he’s not a bad guy to have coming off the bench, and keep the team’s tempo up.

Once more, we can see how important Lin is to this team in terms of being one of the few players to be counted on for next season, and for the future. Lin might find it frustrating at times considering the players around him. There’s a lot of unproven talent, with a potential for some good shooting and scoring, especially from Sean Kilpatrick. Without any control of their first round draft pick until 2019, the Nets’ way of getting better is developing their current young players, and free agency. Developing some of their young players right now can give them some trade assets once it’s time to reel in bigger fish, if it’s possible.

Overall, the big picture for Lin hasn’t changed. Same role, same responsibility, same opportunity. The window to make it into the playoff is probably as narrow as possible, but strange things have happened, and teams can click in surprising ways, especially with team-first point guards like Lin. This season was always more about establishing himself as a starting point guard than positioning himself to be a contender. As we mentioned before, this is why this season is so important: Working out well for him on a personal and team level can make their combined future so much brighter, even if it means taking in a lot of losses early on.

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