Game 53 Atlanta Hawks v Washington Wizards: Narrowing Down Potential Lin Suitors Before The Feb 7 Trade Deadline

Will Jeremy Lin get traded? Or will he stay put as an Atlanta Hawk after the February 7 trade deadline passes? Those are the questions running through many Jeremy Lin fans who are faithfully watching their favorite player’s minutes continue to drop before the looming deadline. In the last 3 games, Lin’s playing time has dipped below 20 minutes (19, 11, 14) and the trend might continue in tonight’s game vs Washington Wizards.

Has a trade related to Lin been finalized so it makes sense to phase him out of the Hawks playing rotation? Or it is a matter of giving more playing time to developing young Atlanta Hawks players as they have shown improvement lately.

A Case of Showcasing Jeremy Lin

Looking back to the last 15 games, Jeremy has received the most playing minutes against Toronto Raptors (Jan 8, 2019 with 35 minutes) and Orlando Magic (Jan 21, 2019 with 30 minutes). If these were games that Lin was given the green light to play more and shoot more, he aced the Raptors test with 20 points, 8 assists, 4 rebounds with excellent 8-10 shooting while he performed OK in the Magic game with 15 points, 2 assists, 1 rebound with good 5-9 shooting.

It is understandable that both teams (Raptors and Magic) were rumored to have interest in Jeremy Lin in the December and January time-frame. But it is unknown yet if the trade conversations have materialized into a deal with Atlanta Hawks. 

Notable games are against Portland Blazers (4-13 shooting in 21 minutes; 10 points, 6 assists, 2 rebounds ) and Sacramento Kings (2-6 shooting in 19 minutes; 11 points, 5 assists, 2 rebounds. Lin did not play well in the Blazers game but did quite well in the Kings game except for the limited minutes. Both teams were also showing previous interest in Lin.

But The Blazers might be out of the running for Lin’s services after trading for forward Rodney Hood from Cleveland Cavaliers.

This leaves us with 3 potential trade destinations in which Lin was showcased by being given more minutes or shooting attempts:

  1. Toronto Raptors
  2. Orlando Magic
  3. Sacramento Kings

Lin arguably played the best this season against Toronto Raptors (23 points, 5.5 assists, 2.5 rebounds, 0.5 steal average in 2 games with 83% sharp-shooting) so if performance is the only indicator, the Raptors should be very interested to trade for him.

But then again, there might be other potential NBA playoff teams who might be interested to trade for Lin after watching these strong games.

Dipped Shooting Performance After 12/5 Back Injury

The only downside for a potential trade could be Lin’s worse shooting performance after he suffered the 12/5/18 back injury. His 3-point shooting percentage dropped from an impressive 41% to below-average 26%. This might give a pause to playoff teams who need excellent 3-point shooting to bolster their bench production.

It is only 3 days before the February 7 trade deadline, which ironically schedules Atlanta Hawks to host Toronto Raptors in a Chinese Lunar New Year event. Will Jeremy change his jersey on that day to the Raptors or other NBA’s team? If yes, he probably will not be eligible to play because traded players would need to undergo physical fitness test or be held out from playing to prevent potential injury.

Buyout Negotiation Option If There is No Trade

If there is no trade after February 7 trade deadline passes, Jeremy Lin’s camp would need to decide if they prefer him to stay as an Atlanta Hawk with dwindling minutes which will hurt his Free Agency value in the summer of 2019 or try to negotiate a buyout to allow him to sign with a playoff team in hopes of increasing his market value to get several good offers on a new contract. Hopefully, Atlanta Hawks GM Travis Schlenk will give the green light on the buyout process to help Jeremy get a chance to shine in the playoff in hopes of better contract offers.

In a twitter poll, 82% of 159 people voted that Lin’s agent should negotiate a buyout if he’s not traded and will continue to receive reduced playing time to 10-15 minutes per game.