The Los Angeles Lakers are rumored to be shopping guard Jeremy Lin as the trade deadline draws near, but the team may be facing an uphill climb in finding a trade partner.
Lin came to the Lakers with hopes of taking on a larger role and possibly taking over a leadership position once Kobe Bryant retires, but instead he has seen his playing time drop and his starting spot disappear. Though Lin is still having a productive season with 10.4 points and 4.7 assists per game, the Los Angeles Lakers are rumored to have him on the trade block.
Lin could be a strong asset to a title contending team, but there is one big problem, notes ESPN Insider Nick Borges — his big contract.
“Lin is on the salary cap this season for $8.37 million, but he’s actually making close to $15 million as part of the offer sheet he signed with the Houston Rockets in July of 2012. Lin is currently still owed $6.05 million this season. For that reason and his lack of production, the Lakers can only deal Lin if they are willing to take back an equally bad contract.”
If the trade rumors are true, the Los Angeles Lakers may be willing to take what they can get. Lin is set to become a free agent, and sources close to the team say that he is likely leaving Los Angeles.
A trade could be mutually beneficial. Jeremy Lin, who made a name with the New York Knicks in his breakout season with his fearless play, has hinted that the situation in Los Angeles is impacting 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.”
Whatever might happen with Jeremy Lin could ultimately be up to Kobe Bryant. Sources close to the Los Angeles Lakers say the team is taking his advice heavily into account when making trades and free agent acquisitions this year.
Jeremy Lin isn’t saying much about rumors that he could leave the Los Angeles Lakers via trade or free agency, saying “I’ll just cross that bridge when the time comes.”
[Image via Los Angeles Times]