Tim Chisholm examines the reports of Toronto pursuing Lin this off season and comes to a conclusion that I never thought I'd agree with: just keep Bayless.
By now, you've probably heard the rumor about the Toronto Raptors having an interest in pursuing New York's Jeremy Lin this summer. You've heard his agent put doubt in the minds of Knicks fans about Lin's inevitable return to Madison Square Garden. You've heard that 'sources' have confirmed Toronto's interest in the breakout guard and no doubt by now you've formed an opinion of Lin's fit in Toronto's future. All things being equal, though, I don't personally understand the interest.
That isn't a sleight to Lin. While I remained a skeptic for much of his 25-game pre-injury run this season as a starter with the Knicks, he clearly demonstrated that he has a future in the NBA and may well have a very good one if he keeps improving. However, there are several other factors at work here that make me question the advisability of going after Lin in free agency this summer, but no factor looms larger than Toronto's own free agent guard, Jerryd Bayless.
First, some stats. Here are Lin's numbers as a starter this year for the Knicks:
25 games, 18.2 ppg, 7.7 apg, 4.7 TOpg, 3.7 rpg, .445 FG%, .343 3PFG%
Now, here are the numbers Bayless posted as a starter in his two years with Toronto:
25 games, 18.0 ppg, 6.1 apg, 2.6 TOpg, 3.3 rpg, .460 FG%, .383 3PFG%Source: TSN.caEnough lines of interest fit (a 'name' free agent, international appeal, a player that generates more attention than wins) that I couldn't shake the sense of déjà vu when Lin's name started popping up linked to Toronto, but that doesn't mean Colangelo is eager to repeat history with an offer. It would take a lot to shake Lin loose from New York and Lin's agent may simply be angling for as good a deal as he can get from the Knicks with little-to-no leverage by planting (and perpetuating) this story. Plus, with their comparable games, going hard and heavy after Lin while Bayless is still technically in the team's bloodstream would make next to no sense, unless the Raptors see something dramatic in Lin that I do not.
Suffice it say that the rumors of Toronto's impending pursuit of Lin leave me more than a little skeptical, with my only hesitation coming from Colangleo's past infatuation with Turkoglu. Some team, most likely New York, may bet big and win on Lin in the coming years, but the Raptors have enough gambles to deal with already under contract to start canvassing the league for someone else's. If the Raptors want to keep Bayless, fine, but going after Lin makes no sense to me.
The only thing I would add to reassure Tim Chisholm is last summer's rumours were all about Toronto signing *insert free agent big man HERE* and that turned out to be nonsense. Also, the Turkoglu rumours were long before Colangelo's ill-fated Tyson Chandler trade which has since created a deep silence over Raptorland with regards to anything roster change related.