With 2018 NBA free agency dying down, the Atlanta Hawks and Brooklyn Nets decided to make moves to inject more life back into the offseason.
As first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Nets have agreed to send point guard Jeremy Lin to Atlanta as the precursor to another trade with the Denver Nuggets. Brooklyn is clearing the remaining one year and $12.5 million on Lin’s contract in order to make enough room to take on Kenneth Faried, Darrell Arthur and a pair of draft picks from Denver.
Meanwhile, the Hawks are adding another fun point guard to a backcourt that just drafted Trae Young and Kevin Huerter. According to Woj, Atlanta will also receive a 2025 second round pick and the right to swap second round picks in 2023.
The Nets, meanwhile, get a 2020 second round pick (via the Portland Trail Blazers) and the rights to Isaia Cordinier, a 2016 second round pick who will probably never suit up for the team.
- PG - JEREMY LIN
- 2025 2ND ROUND PICK
- RIGHT TO SWAP 2023 2ND ROUND PICKS
- RIGHTS TO ISAIA CORDINIER
- 2020 2ND ROUND PICK
The question is, how do the Hawks and Nets fare in this exchange? In order to sort it out, here are NBA Trade Grades for both sides.
Brooklyn’s move here may seem curious on paper, since they’re basically shelling out a useful bench piece, a second-rounder and the right to swap second-rounders for a closer second-rounder.
However, in conjunction with another move with the Nuggets, it makes perfect sense. Once again, general manager Sean Marks is doing an excellent job putting his team in position to be players in the near future.
By getting rid of Lin’s contract and waiting to officially re-sign Joe Harris (thus giving the Nets his $1.5 million cap hold to work with, rather than his full $8 million salary), Marks had the space to absorb the contracts of Faried and Arthur from Denver.
This means next summer, the Nets will have $21.2 million in expiring contracts coming off the books, allowing them to be players in free agency.
Whether they actually attract star players in a market that will feature more teams with max cap space remains to be seen, but Marks has done an excellent job restocking a bare cupboard with future assets.
As for Lin himself, it’s unfortunate to see his tenure come to an end this way after signing an exciting three-year, $36 million deal in 2016. In the end, he was only able to suit up for 37 games in Brooklyn, including just one contest last year after rupturing his patellar tendon in the first game of the 2017-18 campaign.
In his time with the Nets, Lin averaged 14.6 points, 5.1 assists and 3.6 rebounds per game, shooting 43.7 percent from the field and 37.3 percent from 3-point range. His departure clears out Brooklyn’s backcourt logjam, making it easier for head coach Kenny Atkinson to provide plenty of minutes for D’Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert moving forward.
The biggest takeaway from the Lin trade is whatever questions may have lingered about the future of Dennis Schroder, they’ve now been swept off the table. With Jeremy Lin set to join an exciting young backcourt featuring Trae Young, Kevin Huerter and Kent Bazemore, the writing is on the wall.
Whether the Hawks are actually able to trade him is another matter entirely, however, since no one seems to want an average point guard with a bad reputation and a remaining three years and $45.5 million on his contract.
In any case, the move places extra urgency on working to get a Schroder trade done, which was a priority for the Hawks all summer long. Adding Lin also represents the exact kind of one-year gamble Atlanta should be taking right now.
It’s no secret the Hawks are going to be bad again in 2018-19, so why not provide a disinterested fanbase with a little more excitement? Young is a brand unto himself, he and Huerter are already being dubbed as the Splash Babies and with Lin joining the mix, this team may actually be entertaining to watch on NBA League Pass every now and then.
There are the obvious health risks, of course. Lin missed all but one game last season, and missed another 46 the year before. There’s a chance he’s unable to contribute anything meaningful before hitting unrestricted free agency next summer.
However, the Hawks don’t need Lin to help them win games, and they’ll be looking forward to his $12.5 million coming off the books next summer regardless of what he does in 2018-19. This move is a short-term injection of adrenaline for the upcoming season, but even in the worst-case scenario where he gets hurt again, he still has value as an expiring contract.
Watching him recapture Linsanity as the leader of a young backcourt would be fun, and he should get ample minutes whether he’s coming off the bench or helping ease Young into the starting job. Given the professionalism and respect that have followed Lin throughout his career, this figures to be a no-risk addition to a young and exciting backcourt, no matter what his role winds up being.