The Los Angeles Lakers are facing rumors of an early exit for Jeremy Lin, with sources saying the guard is ready to leave his quickly diminishing role with the team and test free agency.
When Lin came to Los Angeles, there were hopes that he could take on a large role with the team and a leadership position for Kobe Bryant’s transition to retirement. But instead, he has seen his playing time drop, falling down on the depth chart and losing his starting job.
On Sunday, Lin played behind both rookie Jordan Clarkson and veteran Wayne Ellington, and coach Byron Scott didn’t sound too optimistic about his chances of increasing playing time.
“I’ll give him as many chances as he’s been getting,” Scott said.
“About the same amount of minutes that he’s been getting.”
Jeremy Lin hinted that the shifting situation in Los Angeles and his streaky playing time is hurting his confidence.
“I’ve been asked to wear a lot of different hats and so that can be difficult,” Lin said.
“I think there are a lot of obstacles that I have to try to continue to face and overcome everyday as I try to play.”
As Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops noted, rumors indicate that the Los Angeles Lakers could be losing Jeremy Lin after this season, when he hits unrestricted free agency:
“With half of the season left before unrestricted free agency, playing time and production will be crucial to help Lin land a new deal and a possible starting job elsewhere. However, it’s unlikely that will happen with the Lakers since he’s not a part of the long-term plans. The team is committed to giving Clarkson more playing time to quicken his development in place of Lin.”
Lin didn’t address the rumors that he could be leaving the Lakers, saying “I’ll just cross that bridge when the time comes.”
But many believe the Los Angeles Lakers are already crossing the bridge, with rumors that Jeremy Lin is already on the trade block in the hopes of getting something in return before he leaves via free agency.
Whatever happens to Jeremy Lin, it could come down to Kobe Bryant. Sources close to the Los Angeles Lakers say they are taking his advice on which direction to go with trades and free agency.