The Jeremy Lin era with the Los Angeles Lakers has been far from a success, and it could be coming to an end soon. With the point guard in the final year of his contract and the 2015 NBA trade deadline set for Thursday afternoon, Lin may not be in L.A. much longer.
At the very least, it doesn’t seem likely that the Lakers will re-sign Lin in the offseason. He’s set to become a free agent in the summer, and the marriage between Lin and Los Angeles hasn’t worked out as well as both sides would have hoped.
Since “Linsanity" took the NBA by storm in early 2012, the Harvard grad hasn’t come close to producing the numbers he put up with the New York Knicks. As a member of the Lakers, he’s averaging 10.2 points and 25.5 minutes per game on 42.6 percent field-goal shooting, his lowest totals in the last four seasons.
As the Lakers look to get back to respectability, Lin doesn’t appear to be in their future plans. The 26-year-old has seen his playing time decrease from earlier in the season, losing his starting job after the first 20 games of the year. Concerns about Lin's defense prompted head coach Byron Scott to bench Lin in favor of Ronnie Price.
With the Lakers out of the playoff race and headed for a top pick in June’s draft, L.A. would deal Lin if they could get something of value, in exchange, without taking on a lot of salary. That might not be realistic, though, since Sean Deveney of the Sporting News has called the market for Lin “weak.” Not only has Lin struggled this year, but his 2014-2015 salary is $14.9 million, which will deter teams from acquiring him.
Scott has been frustrated with Lin’s inconsistent play, and teammate Nick Young said Lin could have focused on passing more this year. While Lin is disappointed in himself, he’s indicated that he could have performed better if he were in a better situation to succeed.
“There are adjustments that could’ve been made everywhere from everybody’s standpoint,” Lin said, via Mark Medina of the LA Daily News. “I don’t know what they are right now. But if I sat down and thought about it for a long time, I could come up with some stuff.”
Lin was paired in the backcourt with Kobe Bryant to start the year, but the shooting guard only played 35 games, before a torn rotator cuff ended his season. First-round draft pick Julius Randle went down for the year in the season opener, and Lin has been a part of one of the worst rosters in the NBA.
There is some interest in Lin, according to one report. Longtime NBA writer Howard Beck says the Houston Rockets “remain high” on Lin, though the report states they’ll look to acquire him in the summer.
The Rockets traded Lin to the Lakers in July, but the move was largely made for salary-cap reasons. The team cleared space in their attempt to sign Chris Bosh, though the big man stayed with the Miami Heat. Houston is looking to acquire a point guard before the trade deadline, but they have their eyes set on Goran Dragic, whom the Phoenix Suns might be willing to move.
The Lakers aren’t likely to make any trades that will help them this season. At the All-Star break, L.A.’s 13-40 record is the fourth-worst in the league, and it would behoove the team to keep losing. Los Angeles has no chance of making the playoffs, and their first-round pick will go to the Suns, if it doesn’t fall within the top five.