The Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers reached a deal on Friday to send Jeremy Lin to L.A., according to sources.
The Lakers also received a future first-round draft pick in exchange for cash considerations, USA Today reported. Currently on a basketball tour in Asia, Lin is scheduled to fly from China to L.A. to undergo a physical with the Lakers to officially consummate the trade.
Houston’s original plan was to move the 25-year-old former New York Knicks standout in order to free up salary cap space to sign forward Chris Bosh away from the Miami Heat. Reports indicated Bosh would take the Rockets offer of $88 million over four years if LeBron James decided to stay with the Heat, but Bosh instead chose to re-sign with Miami to the tune of $118 million over five years.
While the Lakers and Rockets have thus far whiffed during free agency, L.A. at least received a solid point guard and a much-needed draft pick. Lin’s agent told ESPN that the Lakers had actually shown interest in Lin during his first stint in the NBA’s summer league back in 2010 before the Golden State Warriors snapped him up.
But it’s important to note that L.A. doesn’t appear to have long-term plans for Lin at the moment. The Lakers evidently agreed to the trade because Lin only has one year left on his current contract, and he allows the team to keep its cap flexibility for next summer and beyond. Lin’s expiring contract will count for more than $8 million in 2015.
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Lin spent two years in Houston after the Knicks decided not to match the Rockets three-year, $25 million offer sheet. Over two seasons, Lin averaged 13 points and 5.2 assists, but in the second year he lost his starting spot to more defensive-minded guard Patrick Beverley.
The Rockets appeared intent on trading Lin, but only if they could land Bosh or highly coveted forward Carmelo Anthony. Houston evidently also held talks with the Philadelphia 76ers and Milwaukee Bucks, but a deal never materialized.
Even with his playing time in flux and trade speculation swirling throughout his time in Houston, Lin appeared happy on the Rockets, right up until the team offered up his No. 7 jersey to Anthony on a billboard during their pitch for the free agent.
Lin will be the fourth point guard on the Lakers roster after Steve Nash, Kendall Marshall and rookie Jordan Clarkson. Even with so much competition at his position, Lin will continue to play for a major-market team and can take advantage of the same marketing and endorsement opportunities he had during his brief stint with the Knicks.