Linsanity is coming to Toronto.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Atlanta is finalizing a buyout with guard Jeremy Lin after which he is expected to sign with the Raptors.
Jeremy Lin is finalizing a buyout with Atlanta, clearing the way for him to sign with Toronto, agents Jim Tanner and Roger Montgomery tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 11, 2019
Lin will provide the Raptors with some much needed depth at both guard positions with the departures of Delon Wright and C.J. Miles. He’s averaging 10.7 points, 2.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists in about 20 minutes but won’t be asked to do nearly as much in Toronto. Also noteworthy, Lin’s currently shooting a career-best 53.5 percent inside the arc but is only knocking down 33.3 percent of his threes. Who knows, a change of scenery may be all he needs to get his legs into those deep jumpers. Not like we haven’t seen it before.
On the season, it appears as though Lin primarily prefers to attack the right side of the floor, and that will be something head coach Nick Nurse will have to bear in mind as and when he looks to deploy the Harvard grad.
Based on a little bit of video I’ve watched since the signing, it does appear the nine-year veteran capable of attacking closeouts effectively when given a step to force him left.
It will take at least 48 hours for the 30-year-old to clear waivers — no team is paying $12.5 million to claim him from there — at which point the Raptors could just wait out the all-star break to sign him and incur just a little bit less of a tax hit.
Edit: With Fred VanVleet ruled out for at least three weeks, the need to save tax dollars may go to the wayside and the Raptors can look to work him in sooner than they may have initially planned.
Regardless of when it happens, considering the Raptors’ needs after the trade deadline, this certainly qualifies as one of the biggest coups of the buyout market upon completion.
Looking at the projected roster once reported moves are complete, we’re looking at:
PG: Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, Jeremy Lin
SG: Danny Green, Norman Powell, Patrick McCaw, Ben McLemore
SF: Kawhi Leonard, Malcolm Miller
PF: Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby
C: Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka, Chris Boucher
The case can be made that another depth addition of someone who is primarily a power forward would be nice, but either way, there’s enough talent on the roster to have strong lineups throughout the playoffs. Powell will likely slot into backup small forward minutes while Lin can move up a slot to the two-guard as well. Depending on the matchup, Anunoby will be between the three and the four, and even Ibaka might see some time at power forward and away from the center slot he’s been so effective at all season.
Fitting that bill would be the likes of Michael Beasley, Markieff Morris and maybe even Frank Kaminsky with his ability to stretch the floor. All come with their own set of risks, Beasley is considered a great teammate but is perhaps not the most engaged, Morris has been dealing with a rare neck injury termed transient cervical neuropraxia and was ruled out for six weeks in January, while things have really fallen off for Kaminsky in Charlotte.