The Big Apple’s second taste of” Linsanity” will take place across the Brooklyn Bridge.
The Nets agreed to sign unrestricted free agent guard Jeremy Lin to a three-year deal worth $36 million, according to ESPN.com and Yahoo Sports. The deal reportedly includes a player option on the final season. Lin, 27, averaged 11.7 PPG, 3.2 RPG and 3 APG while earning $2.1 million for the Hornets last season. Brooklyn will be the sixth team in Lin’s seven-year career and the fourth since 2014.
In the four years since he burst onto the global stage as a member of the Knicks, Lin has shifted between starting and reserve roles as he moved from the Rockets to the Lakers and on to the Hornets. For a contender, Lin would fit best as a third guard, where he could use his pick-and-roll comfort and attack mentality to provide a punch off the bench without being exposed too badly defensively.
The Nets, of course, might very well be a decade away from contention, so Lin pencils in as a budget starter who should give the franchise’s relevance a bump. Kenny Atkinson, Brooklyn’s first-year coach, was a Knicks assistant during the “Linsanity” period, and he will have no choice but to lean heavily on Lin for offense initiation and playmaking. Earlier this week, Brooklyn released incumbent starting point guard Jarrett Jack, who suffered a season-ending torn ACL in January, clearing a massive opportunity for Lin in an incredibly barren backcourt.
From an individual standpoint, Lin can’t ask for much more than this: He gets to play for a coach who knows his game, he gets a major role without any obvious competition for the ball, he gets a steep raise and a lucrative multi-year contract, and he faces zero pressure to win given the Nets’ ugly long-term outlook. After some lean years in Houston and L.A., Lin did well to rehabilitate his reputation in Charlotte and cash in with a career pay day.
While skeptics will rightfully wonder whether Lin is up to the task as a quality full-time starting point guard, given his shaky shooting, mediocre assist numbers and struggles defensively, Brooklyn filled an obvious need, it didn’t drastically overpay, it added a potential trade piece down the line, and it acquired a badly-needed spark to one of the league’s blandest rosters. Were the Nets going anywhere before the move? No. Are they going anywhere after the move? No. But atrocious teams with cap flexibility are prone to making big mistakes, and this wasn’t one.