Ever since the All-Star break, the Los Angeles Lakers have been playing better basketball. Players like Jordan Clarkson and Ed Davis have really stepped up their game and even though the Lakers have still lost the majority of their games, every single one has been competitive.
One player, however, who has clearly been playing his best basketball of the season has been Jeremy Lin. Since the All-Star break, Lin is averaging over 15 points and five assists while upping his field goal percentage to a very solid 48.4 percent.
Lin is an unrestricted free agent after the season and with how he had played early in the season, it was pretty much expected that this would be his only season in Los Angeles. However, with his current stretch, Lin is looking like an exceptional backup point guard who may be worth keeping around.
One of the more polarizing players in recent Lakers history, the Lakers will have a very interesting decision once this summer comes. So we asked our panel of experts if they want the Lakers to bring back Jeremy Lin next season? And if so, at what price? This is what they had to say:
Corey Hansford (@TheeCoreyH): Jeremy Lin has definitely stepped up his game as of late, however I’m just not a fan of giving him a multi-year deal once his contract ends this summer.
Lin is definitely a talent, but his inconsistency is still troubling. While he has good stretches, he almost always reverts back to the norm.
Point guard is expected to be one of the major positions addressed this off-season, be it through the draft or free agency. With Jordan Clarkson already on the roster and not going anywhere, Lin could easily be the third-string point on the roster at which point it is useless paying him anything substantial.
In no way is Lin a bad player, but giving him a multi-year deal when you already have a young point guard full of potential, and possibly another one coming in the off-season, just makes no sense.
Nathan Kim (@Kimchiz): I would definitely advocate the re-signing of Jeremy Lin next season. He has had his share of inconsistencies and turnovers, but I believe he still has great potential and his recent stat line is reflecting it.
Jeremy Lin has been playing great since the All-Star Break averaging 15.5 points per game including two 20+ games. He has also been averaging 5.6 assists, 3.3 rebounds, and just under 2 steals. While these stats are not astounding they are solid numbers and are much better than earlier in the season.
He has attributed much of his success to his teammates and to the trust of coach Byron Scott. He is beginning to understand how to play under Scott and thus I believe he’ll continue to fill up the stat sheets over time. Therefore, I think that he should be given a chance to continue to grow as a player with the current coaching staff and team in order to draw out his potential, which was on full display during the “Linsanity” era with the New York Knicks .
Furthermore, Jeremy Lin is one of the few remaining reasons for fans to continue to attend games. Although next season will mark the return of Kobe Bryant, Julius Randle, and other possible free agents acquired during the off-season, no one attracts the Asian demographic quite as well as Lin. Los Angeles has a huge Asian population and therefore I believe the Lakers should also keep Lin simply for ticket sales and other marketing reasons.
Kevin Chan (@Kevin_Cruiser): I think it would be great if the Lakers decided to keep Jeremy Lin in Los Angeles next season and beyond. Lin is essentially a high level back-up point guard at this juncture of his career. He’s paired very well with Jordan Clarkson lately and could even plug in as a starter
if need be.
Lin’s three-year, $25 million contract expires after this season and the Lakers front office should definitely pursue re-signing him. Last year the Lakers gave Nick Young a four-year $21.5 million contract. Using that as a measuring stick for the Lakers front office’s appetites one could guess that the Lakers wouldn’t give Lin anything higher than that. I would resign Lin on a four-year $16 million contract. Under that contract his average annual salary would be just about $4 million a year.
But then again I’m no GM, so who am I to say what a fair price is for a back-up point guard? Regardless, I think the Lakers front office should definitely engage Lin and his agent in talks this off-season. He’s too valuable of a team player to just let him walk after one season.[divide]
LKN Lakers Jeremy Lin Explains His Personal Progression