On Friday, Jeremy Lin was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers according to a report by ESPN’s Jeff Goodman. Along with Lin, the Lakers will receive a future first round pick, but the arrival of Lin was an indirect result of the bigger news of the day: LeBron James’ move back to Cleveland.
With James announcing his return to Cleveland, the Miami Heat "Big Three" project evaporated. The Houston Rockets had already aggressively targeted Chris Bosh, but Bosh was holding out on making a decision until James had made his future known. With James picking Cleveland on Friday morning, Bosh’s return to Miami was far less likely.
As such, the Rockets did not wait around. They began to clear the cap space required to sign the two-time champion power forward. With reports of Carmelo Anthony close to a decision and having eliminated the Lakers from the running in the background, the Lakers appeared willing to accept Houston’s offer as long as a draft pick was included.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, who first broke the story, the Lakers sent cash and rights to an overseas player in exchange for Lin and the Rockets’ first round pick in the 2015 NBA Draft.
For the Lakers, the salary cap hold for Lin is $8.4 million and the team will pay the point guard $15 million for the final year of his contract. Lin, who was born in Los Angeles, made waves with his stellar play with the New York Knicks during the 2011-12 season. Famously, his stretch of standout performances was dubbed “Linsanity.”
With James Harden playing as an on-ball point guard in Houston, however, Lin only started 33 of the 71 games he took part in during the 2013-14 season. In his last season with Houston, Lin averaged 12.5 points, 4.1 assists and 2.6 rebounds per game.
With the Lakers, Lin automatically jumps to the front of the line and would expect to be a starter. Also, his contract fits in line with the Lakers’ strategy to remain financially flexible going forward. Even with the signing of Lin, the Lakers have enough space to sign Anthony, should the star power forward have a last minute change of heart.
In any case, “Linsanity” is coming to Los Angeles.