Jeremy Lin got his start in 2010 with the Golden State Warriors, signing as an undrafted free agent. Since then, he has gone from New York to Houston, developing into a solid NBA pro, and even captivating the nation for a few months when he absolutely went berserk while playing for the Knicks.
Well, “Linsanity” could end up back where he started. According to Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group, the Warriors are interested in trading for Lin from the Rockets. No deal is imminent, and it is contingent on the Rockets’ interest in signing LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony. Because it would take a max contract to lure James or Anthony to Houston, the Rockets must shed salary, and Lin is due to make $14.9 million next season in the final year of his contract. The Rockets have already shed Omer Asik’s salary by trading him to the Pelicans, and it appears that Lin is next on the block.
But who could possibly be willing to pay Lin nearly $15 million? Enter the Warriors, who have the luxury of a $9.8 million trade exception. This trade exception expires on July 10, so the Warriors might as well as use it. According to Thompson, only $8.37 million of Lin’s salary next season will count against the salary cap, so the Warriors can essentially acquire Lin without worrying about any financial obstacles with the exception of going into the luxury tax.
So, money aside, what could Lin bring to the Warriors? He is a far cry from the player who scored 2.6 points per game for Golden State during his rookie season. He is a legitimate NBA point guard, and a very viable backup for Stephen Curry — a better option than the erratic Jordan Crawford or the passive Steve Blake. Lin is aggressive, and can create shots for others, something neither Crawford nor Blake did last season. He can also spot up and hit threes, which fits the Warriors offense. Lin averaged 12.5 points and 4.1 assists in 71 games with the Rockets last season.
Perhaps there are other options the Warriors are considering to use their trade exception on, but presumably they would look at players who have expiring contracts and are unwanted by their current team, since the Warriors don’t want to give up too much in return.