Progressing Young Nets and Lin’s Future Scenario in 2018-19 Season
Mid-way through the season, the young Nets continue to progress while being ranked 13th in the Eastern Conference standing with 17-29 record. Playoff seems to be out of reach with the 8th place Bucks possessing 23-22 record. Nets is 6.5 games behind with the schedule getting more difficult after the soft December schedule.
Rebuilding Nets with Young Talent
To be fair, Coach Kenny Atkinson has done a marvelous job in developing young players (Dinwiddie, LeVert) in the absence of their top two players (Jeremy Lin and D’Angelo Russell) and integrating new players (Jahlil Okafor and Nik Stauskas). Losing their defensive leader in Trevor Booker in December 2017 trade with the 76ers did not help the Nets to win more games. But the name of the game seems to be Sean Marks trying to stock up the Nets with young talent.
Both Russell and Okafor were the 2nd and the 3rd draft pick in the 2015 NBA draft so the Nets certainly have long-term plans to develop them. They are both still 22 years old and the emergence of Spencer Dinwiddie (24 years old) and Caris LeVert (23 years old), they certainly look to be the future building blocks for the Nets. This certainly leaves the future of a 29-year old Jeremy Lin up in the air when he comes back next season.
Lin’s Future Scenario as a Nets
A healthy Jeremy Lin most likely would be the starting Point Guard in 2018-19 season but with 1 year remaining in his 3-year contract, it is unknown if the Nets and Jeremy Lin would extend his role with another contract.
There would be trade rumors abound next season with his $12M contract being attractive in a trade scenario to get more young talents. His special relationship with Coach Atkinson and his veteran leadership would be valuable to teach the young Nets how to win games but will it be strong enough to keep him as a Nets? There is also the X factor with Joe Tsai as the new minority owner whose favorite player is Lin and understands his potential marketing value in Asia as the 3rd most popular NBA player in Asia. NBA is a business after all so Phokhorov and Tsai understand the tremendous business values that Jeremy Lin brings so it may play a huge factor.
Even if the Nets want to shop Lin around for trades, many teams would probably want to see whether Lin can be healthy after being sidelined with injuries 1.5 out of the last 2 seasons. The Nets would certainly want Lin to play well before the Feb 2019 trade deadline to make proper assessment whether they want him to stay as a veteran/mentor or a valuable trade asset. Only DeMarre Carroll (31 years old) seems to be the other veteran leader who is needed to mentor young players.
What could happen is for the Nets to entertain the idea of a new contract with reduced salary where Lin might slowly transition the starting PG role to the future PG. If Lin’s camp does not like the idea, he might end up being traded to a different team before his contract expires so the Nets can get some asset back. If that is the case, hopefully and ideally they will try to trade him to a playoff team so Lin has chances to win championship ring(s).
Sun, 21 Jan @Detroit Pistons 16:00
Tue, 23 Jan @Oklahoma City Thunder 20:00
Fri, 26 Jan @Milwaukee Bucks 20:00
Sat, 27 Jan @Minnesota Timberwolves 21:00
Tue, 30 Jan @New York Knicks 19:30
Wed, 31 Jan Philadelphia 76ers 19:30
Fri, 2 Feb LA Lakers 19:30
Sun, 4 Feb Milwaukee Bucks 12:00
Tue, 6 Feb Houston Rockets 19:30
Wed, 7 Feb @Detroit Pistons 19:00
Sat, 10 Feb New Orleans Pelicans 18:00
Mon, 12 Feb LA Clippers 19:30
Wed, 14 Feb Indiana Pacers 19:30
Thr, 22 Feb @Charlotte Hornets 19:00
Mon, 26 Feb Chicago Bulls 19:30
Tue, 27 Feb @Cleveland Cavaliers 19:00