Anyone who wants to catch the next chapter of “Linsanity” will need a plane ticket to China. Along with Jeremy Lin, they can also watch Lance Stephenson play the air guitar and get a look at Jerian Grant, Chasson Randle and more as a dozen former NBA players are heading to the Far East.
Luke Adams recently chronicled the number of players who were in the NBA last season and have signed overseas contracts this summer. While China leads the way, a significant amount of talent is also headed to Israel, Russia, Spain, Turkey and other locations.
The significant thing about these overseas migrations is that all the seasons are done before the NBA’s. So every March, a new crop of players becomes available, and many of them find roles with contenders who are eager to add depth before the start of the playoffs.
Here are a few players who should attract attention in roughly six months:
- Lin didn’t see much playoff action with the Raptors, but his regular season numbers were pretty good. He averaged 10.7 points and 3.5 assists in 51 games with the Hawks, followed by 7.0 PPG and 2.2 APG in 23 games with Toronto. Even though he didn’t receive a training camp invitation, Lin showed he still has plenty to contribute after two seasons lost to injury in Brooklyn.
- With the Lakers in turmoil seemingly all season, L.A. may not have been the best place for the already-volatile Stephenson. Still, he was part of the rotation for 68 games and posted a 7.2/3.2/2.1 line. He’s only 28 years old and should have a few productive years left.
- Greg Monroe, who’s headed to Germany, didn’t provide the spark that either the Celtics or Sixers were hoping for when they each signed him late in the season. However, he’s only 29 and was a valuable bench presence for Boston in 2018/19.
- Isaiah Canaan, who will play in China, was the Suns‘ starting point guard at the beginning of last season before being waived in late November. Even though he has bounced around the league and has dealt with injuries, the 28-year-old remains an explosive scorer who can provide instant offense.
- Ian Clark, who also signed in China, played in two NBA Finals with the Warriors and has spent the past two seasons as a valuable reserve for the Pelicans.
- Omri Casspi, who will play in Israel, spent almost the entire 2017/18 season with the champion Warriors before being waived just before the playoffs. At 31, he’s a little older than the other candidates on this list, but he’s a stretch four with a nice touch from 3-point range.
We want to get your input. Which overseas players do you think might make a difference in the NBA come springtime? Please leave your answers in the space below.