While the move ultimately ended up fruitless for the Houston Rockets, Daryl Morey certainly didn’t die trying in opening up cap space to attempt to sign Chris Bosh. Jeremy Lin, who was the Rockets’ sixth man last season and his $15 million salary were considered superfluous to Morey’s needs and was sent to the Lakers, along with a first-round draft choice in exchange for cash and the rights to an as yet unnamed overseas prospect.
At the apex of Linsanity, Jeremy Lin was the hottest fantasy waiver-wire pickup I’ve seen in years of playing fantasy basketball. His run at the end of the 2012 season was mind-boggling to say the least and he parlayed that into a big three-year deal with the Rockets. Now, because of the back loaded nature of that deal, the Rockets are keen to move him on and the Lakers were happy to accept him, with the proviso that they receive another asset in return.
So, the Lakers replace the first-round pick they lost in the Steve Nash trade and also get an expiring deal in Lin, with preserves their cap flexibility for the 2015 offseason.
In the 2013 preseason, Lin was beaten out of the starting point guard job in Houston by Patrick Beverley, but Lin was still able to start 33 games due to injuries to Beverley and James Harden and acquitted himself respectably. Here’s how Lin’s numbers looked last season.
As you can see, even though he was a bench player, Lin had value in 12 team leagues and at times during the season, in 10 team leagues as well. Moving to Los Angeles, his numbers should rise as the main competition he has at point guard is Nash, whose body will not allow him to play a full season and Kendall Marshall, who is not the player Lin is. The Lakers also acquired a point guard in the draft, buying the Washington Wizards’ second-round draft choice, Jordan Clarkson out of Missouri.
Nash managed just 15 games last season due to numerous back, leg, and nerve issues and has publicly stated he won’t be able to last a full campaign, in what is most likely his last NBA season. An added twist in all of this is that Nash may be waived using the teams’ stretch provision or he could also be included in a sign and trade deal sending Pau Gasol to the Chicago Bulls, which is apparently in the works at the time I’m writing this.
Another factor to consider when looking at Lin’s production for next season is the health of Kobe Bryant. Bryant played only six games this season and while he has stated that he is 100 percent healthy, a old man coming off knee and Achilles injuries doesn’t inspire much confidence in his ability to play the full 82 games. If Bryant is not himself or gets hurt again, Lin will be the lynchpin in the backcourt and could be a very valuable fantasy asset.
I project Lin to be the Lakers’ starting point guard next season and while he won’t reach the height of Linsanity type production, he will be a solid fantasy option. One unknown is, the fact that the Lakers still don’t have a coach, so the style and pace of the team is a mystery.
I think a target of 32 minutes is realistic for Lin as there will be times when he plays 30 minutes, but there’ll be times he play 36, depending on Nash and Bryant’s injuries. Those numbers project him right around pick 100 so don’t be scared of taking a flyer on Lin in the ninth or tenth round as I think he has a very large upside and could end up being a key to many fantasy championships.