Jeremy Lin will have new teammates next season after the Brooklyn Nets acquired D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov from the Los Angeles Lakers. The Nets traded away All-Star center Brook Lopez and the 27th overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft. The latest NBA rumors suggest that Lin and Russell can co-exist but the former could be on his way out of Brooklyn next offseason.
ESPN reported that Lakers and Nets agreed on the trade on Tuesday and it will become official at the 2017 NBA Draft. The Lakers are expected to draft Lonzo Ball with the second overall pick while also having $60 million in cap space next summer since Lopez is going to be a free agent. Los Angeles will surely target Paul George when he hits free agency and LeBron James is also not out of the question.
On the other hand, the Nets finally have a franchise cornerstone in D’Angelo Russell. The 21-year-old has the potential to be great but he still has maturity issues. Russell can certainly improve under head coach Kenny Atkinson, who is known for developing players and specifically point guards. Jeremy Lin had his breakout year in 2012 under the guidance of Atkinson in New York.
Lin and Russell are different players and they could potentially co-exist next season to make the Nets a competitive team. However, the future of Lin is up in the air next summer because he can opt out of his deal at the end of the 2017-18 NBA season. Jeremy was limited to just 36 games last season due to injuries and the Nets could already be looking to build around Russell.
According to Anthony Puccio of SB Nation’s NetsDaily, Nets general manager Sean Marks got what he wanted in Russell, a franchise player who can lead the team back to relevancy. Puccio added that the Nets are preparing for the future and it might not involve Jeremy Lin, who will be 29-years-old next summer. The Nets also have Caris LeVert as the future backcourt partner for Russell.
“D’Angelo Russell is the point guard of the future for the Brooklyn Nets. Jeremy Lin has only one year left on his deal before he can opt out of his three-year, $36 million deal. It’s a given he will. It seems unlikely that the Nets would trade Lin but they’re certainly preparing for life without him after this year. Kenny Atkinson now has two very useful and young assets to develop for the future in Russell and Caris LeVert.”
However, it should be noted that these are just purely speculative at the moment and nothing has been confirmed. Jeremy Lin was very vocal in his support of both Kenny Atkinson and Sean Marks for what they have done last season. Lin was very productive when he was on the court but he needs to stay healthy in order for the Nets to be competitive.
The Nets’ offense under Atkinson requires multiple ball handlers and playmakers at different positions. Both D’Angelo Russell and Jeremy Lin can play both guard positions while Caris LeVert, Isaiah Whitehead, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Sean Kilpatrick can handle the ball. The Nets will have the money this summer and next season it is still unknown if they will re-sign Jeremy Lin in what could be his one final big-money contract.
Nevertheless, the future appears to be bright for the Nets now that they have Russell and Lin could play a pivotal role in his development. Lin can help Russell mature and realize his potential. Jeremy is known for his fun personality and it helps that he can put Russell under his wings. Having a good locker room helps Russell conquer his immaturity and become a better a player.
It’s also possible that Jeremy Lin stays in Brooklyn and signs an extension. Lin chose the Nets because of Kenny Atkinson and if the team performs well next season, there is a chance that he opts and stays to become the veteran leader of the Nets.
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