Atlanta Hawks point guard Jeremy Lin is in the middle of what has been probably the best season of his career, as he is averaging 10.9 points, 3.6 assists and 2.4 rebounds over 19.1 minutes per game while shooting 50.2 percent from the floor, 38 percent from three-point range and 82.1 percent from the free-throw line.
The thing is, he plays for the Hawks, a young, rebuilding team that clearly has no need for a 30-year-old backup floor general. It would be a complete shock if Atlanta didn’t try to move Lin by next month’s trading deadline, and you can bet that there will be a decent amount of teams interested in his services.
So, let’s break down five realistic trade possibilities for Linsanity:
5. Miami Heat
This one wouldn’t have made much sense earlier in the year, but Goran Dragic’s knee injury changed things. With Dragic out for the foreseeable future, Lin would be a perfect addition to a Heat team that could certainly use some backcourt scoring.
Heck, Miami could use scoring in general, as it ranks 22nd in the league in offensive efficiency. Not that Lin will be a be-all-end-all solution to the Heat’s problems, but he will definitely provide a nice boost for an offense that sorely needs it.
Right now, Miami is struggling to stay afloat, only benefiting from the fact that the bottom half of the Eastern Conference standings is a cesspool of teams that should be in the lottery.
Still, the Heat do want to make the playoffs, and Lin would help in that regard.
But for this season? Portland’s depth behind its two best players is thin, with Evan Turner, Seth Curry, Nik Stauskas comprising the bulk of its backup backcourt rotation.
Lin would allow Lillard and McCollum to take a breather, alleviating some of the pressure that they face to consistently get buckets night in and night out.
As good as Lillard and McCollum are, the Blazers are actually not a great offensive team, ranking 12th in the league in offensive efficiency largely due to the fact that they lack backcourt scoring depth.
Lin would give Terry Stotts a nice option to turn to if one of his top guards are off their game.
The Pelicans are not going anywhere this season. That much is obvious. However, they are going to want to make an effort to make the playoffs in order to appease Anthony Davis and show him they are committed to winning.
The thing about New Orleans is that it is not lacking talent in its starting lineup. Davis, Jrue Holiday and Nikola Mirotic is a nice trio, and E’Twaun Moore is nothing to scoff at. But the Pelicans’ point guard and depth situation? That is another story entirely.
Jeremy Lin would be a great addition to the Pelicans, and last year, he would have actually made a pretty big difference. Will he elevate them to the playoffs this season? Probably not, but it would at least show Davis that the franchise is making an effort.
How appropriate would it be for Lin to go back to where his NBA career began? Lin originally joined the Warriors as an undrafted free agent during the 2010-11 campaign, playing in 29 games.
A couple of years ago, you probably would have laughed at the possibility of Lin returning, but now, in 2019, it actually makes some sense.
Golden State is absolutely starving for bench production, as Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston are just not quite what they once were and Alfonzo McKinnie is not exactly reliable. Lin would provide the Dubs with a dependable scorer off the bench and someone who can handle point guard duties and play off the ball. A backcourt tandem of Lin and Stephen Curry certainly sounds interesting.
Even with the Warriors getting DeMarcus Cousins back on Jan. 18, you have to think they would be looking to add more pieces for depth at the trade deadline, and Lin could be one of the guys they look to acquire.
If there is another team in more need of bench help than the Warriors, it’s the 76ers.
Let’s call it what it is: Philadelphia’s bench stinks. Right now, it’s most dependable reserve is probably Mike Muscala, which tells you everything you need to know about the Sixers’ depth situation.
The 76ers sacrificed a lot of depth to acquire Jimmy Butler, but they have not done anything to remedy the issue. If Philadelphia even wants to make it out of the first round of the playoffs, it needs to add some bench pieces.
Lin would be perfect, filling the role that Markelle Fultz was supposed to play coming into this season. He would not only give the 76ers a good bench scorer, but he would provide them with a ball-handler other than Ben Simmons who is actually a legitimate threat.