The Charlotte Hornets, one of the lowest-scoring teams in the NBA last season, came to terms with point guard Jeremy Lin Wednesday. Lin took to Instagram to announce the deal with his fifth team in his five-year career, after averaging 11.2 points and 4.6 assists with the Los Angeles Lakers last season.
It could be suggested Lin’s become an NBA journeyman, but the Hornets may be just the fit Lin said he was looking for in free agency.
From Charlotte’s perspective, Lin’s addition fills several holes and his reported contract could be a bargain on a team payroll that will be the third-highest in the league next season.
Yahoo Sports reported the Hornets agreed to a two-year, $4 million deal with Lin, which won’t raise Charlotte’s $71 million in player salaries too much. Lin takes a pay cut after making more than $14 million the last two seasons, but he wasn’t expected to garner offers in that range anyway.
The move adds more guard depth to an offense that ranked No. 28 in the league with 94.2 points per game, and could relieve some pressure placed last season on leading scorer Kemba Walker. Charlotte also managed to account for the loss of guard Mo Williams, who agreed to join the Cleveland Cavaliers, as well as the trade that sent Lance Stephenson to the Clippers.
Lin is the latest in a series of moves by Hornets GM Rich Cho. He traded for small forward Nicolas Batum, a solid rebounder and outside shooter, as well as guard Jeremy Lamb, who Lin might have to battle for minutes next season.
As for what he can bring to the squad, Lin could be asked to score almost exclusively considering the Hornets defensive prowess. Charlotte was sixth in the league in points allowed and eighth in opponent field goal percentage last season, with burgeoning guard Michael Kidd-Gilchrist stalking the perimeter and big men Al Jefferson and Bismack Biyombo clogging the paint.
His troubles on defense exposed, Lin struggled with the Lakers under head coach Byron Scott and eventually lost his starting job after 19 games and for the season to then-rookie Jordan Clarkson.
But with the Hornets Lin could slot in nicely as the second or third scoring option behind Walker and Jefferson, and act more as a help defender to Kidd-Gilchrist. Lin has also played the passing lanes well throughout his career, with 1.3 per game, so he will be making contributions on the defensive end.
The two-year length of the deal could also work out well for Lin. If he regains some semblance of the magic that shot him to fame with the New York Knicks back in 2012, Lin won’t have to wait too long to sign a more lucrative deal.