Jeremy Lin

Atlantic Notes: Raptors, Celtics, Horford, Knicks

Fred VanVleet returned to the Raptors‘ lineup at the right time, suiting up for the team on Sunday for the first time since injuring his thumb before the All-Star break. As Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca details, Toronto threw VanVleet into the deep end in his return, playing him for 31 minutes in a tightly-contested loss to Detroit, and the club was at its best when he was on the floor.

VanVleet won’t be relied upon to play quite as significant a role once Kyle Lowry is ready to return from his ankle injury, but Jeremy Lin‘s struggles since joining the Raptors last month have highlighted VanVleet’s importance, Grange notes.

In 15 games since he arrived, the Raptors have a -5.9 net rating when Lin plays and a +12.9 rating when he sits. With VanVleet back in the rotation and Lowry nearing a return, Lin’s role is in danger of being cut back significantly as the postseason approaches.

Here’ more from around the Atlantic:

  • Although he only played for the Celtics for three seasons, it felt like 15 based on the love he was shown by fans in Boston, Isaiah Thomas tells Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. Suggesting that he’ll always consider Boston home, the veteran guard said he wouldn’t close the door on returning to the Celtics at some point. “You never know,” Thomas said. “You can’t predict the future. My options are always open for anybody. I’m a Denver Nugget now, but I’m a free agent at the end of the season, and you never know what can happen. Who knows?”
  • Over the weekend, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens told reporters, including Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston (Twitter link), that the club plans to sit Al Horford for three or four games down the stretch. Horford’s impact has been a little inconsistent this year, which is due in part to nagging injuries, so the C’s want to make sure he’s ready for the postseason.
  • Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving have been frequently linked to the Knicks this season, while they’ve had contentious exchanges with the media nearly just as frequently. In a column for Newsday, Steve Popper wonders how Durant, Irving, or any other star who signs with the Knicks this summer would handle the pressure and expectations that would face them in New York.

Raptors Notes: Lin, VanVleet, Kawhi, Green

When the Raptors landed Jeremy Lin on the buyout market last month, it looked like a perfect fit. Toronto had just lost backup point guards Fred VanVleet (to injury) and Delon Wright (in a trade), opening the door for Lin to play a key role off the bench. However, the veteran hasn’t looked comfortable with the Raps so far — entering today, he was a minus-46 in 140 minutes and made 0-of-17 three-point attempts, as Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca writes.

“We’ve gotta get him more comfortable,” Raptors head coach Nick Nurse said. “He’s just a little uncomfortable with me, I think, more than anything. I like to let those guys [have freedom]. I say to him, ‘Jeremy, hey, call something. You know, you get the ball in your hands and you look like you don’t know what you want to do out there.’

“I say, ‘You don’t have to look at me, just call this, this or this, pick one.’ He’s got to get a little more comfortable. Even though I’ve tried to shorten it down to three things, he’s so new that he can’t quite come up with one. I need to give him more help. I need to give him more help until he’s more comfortable with that.”

Lin admits that he has more freedom in Toronto than he’s accustomed to, suggesting that he hasn’t had this sort of “empowerment” since he played for Mike D’Antoni in New York, as Lewenberg relays. The 30-year-old welcomes the opportunity to return to that style of play.

“That is kind of how I always played,” Lin said. “I was always more of a free space, free-flowing playmaker. That’s just kind of who I am by nature. That’s my personality. That’s probably what attracted me to this team and obviously vice-versa. We got to just make the pieces fit and [we] will.”

Here’s more on the Raptors:

  • The Raptors’ bench will get some reinforcement when VanVleet returns, and according to Lewenberg (via Twitter), he’s ahead of schedule in his recovery from a thumb injury. Nurse expects VanVleet to return to Toronto’s rotation at some point within the next couple weeks.
  • Appearing on the Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective podcast, ESPN’s Michael C. Wright reiterated a point he’s made before, suggesting that he doesn’t believe Kawhi Leonard is interested in heading to the Lakers to play alongside LeBron James this offseason. “I do not,” Wright said, per RealGM.com. “That’s just what I’ve been told. It’s what I’ve been told going back to last summer. I don’t see that as something that’s happening. … I think he goes to the Clippers.”
  • While Leonard’s free agency will be the biggest storyline in Toronto this summer, his longtime teammate Danny Green will also be an unrestricted free agent, and Green’s impact on the Raptors this season shouldn’t be overlooked, writes Dan Feldman of NBC Sports.

Atlantic Notes: Butler, Pelle, Carroll, Lin

Despite the bizarre way their time together in Minnesota ended, Jimmy Butler insists he still has a good relationship with former Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau, relays Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Butler was campaigning for a trade prior to the season, when he reportedly engaged in outlandish behavior at a Wolves practice. Butler wound up getting dealt to the Sixers and Thibodeau was fired shortly afterward, but Butler said they have remained on good terms.

“I’m sure Thibs would tell you like I tell you. I’ll take all the blame. I’m sure he’ll say he’ll take it too,” said Butler, who added that Thibodeau called him before tonight’s game. “Somebody got to point the finger at somebody. But like I tell everybody, Thibs is a big part – and you can tell I’m smiling – because it’s the truth, he’s a big part of who I am today as a player.

“He gave me an opportunity after not letting me play at all my first couple of years [with the Bulls]. But then he saw something in me, and he let me rock a little bit. That’s my guy. He’s always in my ear talking to me about the game. To tell you the truth, believe it or not, he talked to me about life. He does.’’

There’s more tonight from the Atlantic Division:

  • Power forward/center Norvel Pelle has played well for the Sixers‘ G League team in Delaware and may get a shot at the NBA, tweets Serena Winters of NBC Sports Philly. A Sixers official said Pelle was given a workout today so the team could take a closer look at what he can offer. Injuries have left Philadelphia in need of frontcourt help.
  • The Nets have benefited from DeMarre Carroll‘s willingness to accept a reserve role, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Carroll had started all but five games in his first five years in the league and has Brooklyn’s second-highest salary at $15.4MM, but he agreed to the move to help the team. “It was an opportunity for me to see how I can impact the game, watching it from the side first,” he said. “I think that was the biggest thing, to get used to it, to get comfortable to it and embrace it. That’s what I tried to do.”
  • The addition of Jeremy Lin hasn’t worked out for the Raptors so far, says Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. Lin has missed all 17 of his 3-point shots since coming to Toronto and is shooting 30% overall. Smith notes that the return of injured guard Fred VanVleet should help the bench unit, but that’s still projected to be a couple of weeks away.

Eastern Notes: Portis, Bulls, Lin, Pacers

The agent for new Wizards forward Bobby Portis, Mark Bartelstein, clarified his client’s comments about being traded in an interview with K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune this week.

Portis, who was moved to Washington with Jabari Parker in exchange for Otto Porter Jr. on trade deadline day, explained his unhappiness with how the transaction went down at the time:

“They told me how much they loved my energy, my heart, how hard I worked, how much I loved playing for the Bulls,” Portis said, as detailed in a previous Hoops Rumors story. “Them telling me that I’m going to be there [through the deadline] and telling me that they want to work things out this summer [in restricted free agency]. We weren’t able to agree to a contract extension [before the October deadline], but they said they wanted to agree to something this summer before free agency hits.

“I think back on everything they told me. All this stuff was said and then I don’t even get notified when I’m getting traded? (pause) It’s just a crazy feeling. I guess I’m getting my first taste of the business. Business is business, I guess. I just don’t think it was done the right way.”

Bartelstein then clarified that his client and the Bulls are on the same page, as was evident by how Portis visited Chicago’s locker room after their game against the Wizards last Saturday.

“[General manager] Gar [Forman] made it very clear to me they had no interest in trading Bobby and wanted him there long term,” Bartelstein said. “However, like with anyone else, they had to listen to offers coming in. A day before the deadline, he didn’t think anything was going to happen. There’s no doubt in my mind that Gar and [executive vice president] John Paxson were sincere about their desire to re-sign him.

“I told Bobby: ‘They love you. They want to get a deal done this summer and have no interest in trading you. But if the right offer comes about, absolutely you can get traded.’ The analogy I said to Bobby — these weren’t Gar’s words, they were mine — was, ‘If the Warriors offer Kevin Durant and the Lakers offer LeBron James, you’re getting traded.’ Basically, if somebody offers something the Bulls can’t refuse.”

There’s more from the Central Division tonight:

  • The Bulls are expected to focus on adding a point guard around the draft or free agency this summer, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times writes. Chicago’s list, according to Cowley, is headlined by Ricky Rubio and Darren Collison — two players who could push starting guard Kris Dunn going into training camp.
  • When Jeremy Lin was asked why he joined the Raptors as a free agent, Lin explained that the team “really, really” wanted him, as relayed by Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports (Twitter link). “That means something,” Lin said of Toronto’s interest. Lin holds several years of NBA experience and has made the postseason four times, but he’s never advanced past the first round.
  • The Pacers and city officials are negotiating a deal that would keep the team in Indiana for roughly 25 more years, Chris Sikich of the Indianapolis Star writes. The Pacers’ current deal is worth $160 million and expires in 2024, according to Sikich. The team has floated the idea of publicly funding upgrades to Bankers Life Fieldhouse for about two years.

Raptors Sign Jeremy Lin

Two days after agreeing to a buyout with the Hawks, Jeremy Lin has officially signed with the Raptors, the team announced on Twitter. Toronto has been the expected destination for the 30-year-old guard once he cleared waivers.

Lin will make approximately $697K for the rest of the season, which matches the amount he gave back to the Hawks in his buyout, and will carry a $487K cap hit, posts Bobby Marks on ESPN Now. The Raptors’ moves this month have saved them $13.5MM in luxury taxes and they have trimmed their projected tax bill to $21.2MM.

Lin played in 51 games for Atlanta, nearly all as a reserve, and posted a 10.7/2.3/3.5 line in 19.7 minutes per night. He also proved that he can stay healthy after missing significant time with injuries in each of the past two seasons.

Although he is far removed from his “Lin-sanity” days in New York, Lin still has the ability to help a contender. He arrives at a good time for the Raptors, who will be without reserve guard Fred VanVleet for around five weeks after he undergoes thumb surgery.

Toronto coach Nick Nurse had planned to use Lin as a combo guard, but he will inherit the role of backup point guard until VanVleet returns, tweets Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun. Lin will make his Raptors debut tonight.

“He’s a good player,” Nurse said of Lin. “We want to get good players on the floor.”

Jeremy Lin Finalizes Buyout With Hawks, Plans To Sign With Raptors

4:19pm: The Hawks have officially waived Lin, Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets.

12:41pm: Veteran point guard Jeremy Lin is in the process of finalizing a buyout with the Hawks, agents Jim Tanner and Roger Montgomery tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. According to Wojnarowski, Lin intends to sign with the Raptors once he reaches free agency.

Lin, 30, has played well off the bench for the Hawks this season after missing most of the last two years in Brooklyn with injuries. In 51 games (19.7 MPG) for Atlanta, he has averaged 10.7 PPG, 3.5 APG, and 2.3 RPG with a shooting line of .466/.333/.845.

Although Lin was mentioned in a number of trade rumors leading up to last Thursday’s deadline, the Hawks ultimately didn’t find a taker, with his $13.77MM cap hit likely acting as an obstacle in negotiations. Once Lin remained on Atlanta’s roster through the deadline, reports indicated that the team was unlikely to buy him out, but it seems that stance changed within the last few days.

By agreeing to a buyout with the Hawks, Lin will give back a little of his remaining salary with the Hawks, which he should make up when he signs with the Raptors. However, he’ll also forfeit the chance to earn possible incentives that were written into his previous contract, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks observes.

When Lin was traded from Brooklyn to Atlanta last summer, a 10% trade kicker in his deal ensured that he received a $1.25MM bonus for this season, so perhaps that extra money helped convince him that it was worth surrendering some money in a buyout and giving up his opportunity to earn those incentives.

The Raptors gave up five players in three deadline-week trades and only received one (Marc Gasol) in return, so adding Lin will help the club replenish some of its lost backcourt depth. While it’s not clear exactly what sort of role Lin will assume in Toronto, the Raps found playing time for three point guards before trading Delon Wright to Memphis, and both Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet have battled health issues throughout the season. There should be plenty of minutes available for Lin.

After dipping to 10 players following their deadline deals, the Raptors have since signed Malcolm Miller and Chris Boucher, and are now poised to add Lin and Ben McLemore (10-day contract) to get back to the league-mandated minimum of 14 players.

As for the Hawks, they’ll drop to 12 players once they officially part ways with Lin, so they’ll need to add at least two players to their roster soon.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Hawks To Waive Daniel Hamilton

The Hawks will waive guard Daniel Hamilton after agreeing to a trade with Boston, according to Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Atlanta acquired Jabari Bird and cash from the Celtics today, with NBA rules requiring that they clear a roster spot to make the deal official.

The Hawks will also waive Shelvin Mack, who was acquired in a separate deal with Memphis for Tyler Dorsey, according to Vivlamore.

It appeared as if Atlanta would have been able to hang onto Hamilton if it had completed the trade for Mack first, then waived him to clear a roster spot. However, Vivlamore suggests that the team had to release Hamilton due to a “technical error.”

Hamilton, 23, was the No. 56 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft out of Connecticut. He appeared in 19 games with the Hawks this season, holding per-game averages of three points, 2.5 rebounds and 10.7 minutes on 38% shooting.

The Hawks held onto the likes of Jeremy Lin, Taurean Prince and Dewayne Dedmon past today’s trade deadline despite each player seeing their names surface in rumors. According to Vivlamore, there are currently no plans to buy out veterans like Lin and Dedmon.

Trade Rumors: Wolves, A. Davis, Irving, Conley, More

After making a big splash earlier in the season by sending Jimmy Butler to Philadelphia, the Timberwolves remain active on the trade market, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic, who reports that GM Scott Layden is “canvassing the league for available deals.” Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News relays a similar sentiment, tweeting that Layden has been “much more communicative” than in past years.

According to Wolfson, players on expiring contracts are available, as are Jeff Teague and Gorgui Dieng. However, as of Tuesday, there was “zero sense” that anything was close to getting done. Meanwhile, sources tell Krawczynski that multiple teams checked in last month on Andrew Wiggins to see if the Timberwolves might be willing to move him for “pennies on the dollar.” Those inquires qualified more as due diligence though, and didn’t really go anywhere, per Krawczynski.

Here are several more trade rumors from around the NBA:

  • The Pelicans still have yet to respond to the Lakers‘ most recent trade offer for Anthony Davis, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). L.A. reportedly pulled out of talks on Tuesday after making a big offer on Monday night, though it appears the club would be ready to re-engage if New Orleans makes a counter-offer.
  • While Kyrie Irving‘s comments on his upcoming free agency last week had some league observers wondering if the Celtics would consider moving him at the trade deadline, the team – unsurprisingly – has no intention to do so, writes Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. “Boston’s not taking calls on Kyrie,” one general manager said. “That was made pretty clear.”
  • The Grizzlies are believed to be seeking multiple first-round picks in any package for Mike Conley, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times. According to Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune, the Jazz’s final offer to Memphis was a first-round pick, a second-round pick, and expiring contracts (likely Ricky Rubio and Derrick Favors). The Grizzlies asked for Dante Exum, but were told no, per Jones (Twitter link via John Martin of 92.9 ESPN).
  • A source tells Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times that the Bulls have received “a handful” of calls about Jabari Parker within the last week. Parker is a candidate to be traded, or to be bought out if Chicago can’t find a suitable deal.
  • According to Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link), the Hawks have started to receive more calls on veteran trade candidates Kent Bazemore, Dewayne Dedmon, and Jeremy Lin. Smith adds (via Twitter) that Knicks forward Noah Vonleh is another trade candidate to watch, as he has generated multiple inquiries.

Deveney’s Latest: Blazers, Harkless, Saric, Matthews

After officially acquiring Rodney Hood in a trade with Cleveland earlier today, the Trail Blazers may not be done dealing, writes Sean Deveney of Sporting News. According to Deveney, some executives around the NBA have suggested that Portland regretted its relative inactivity at last season’s deadline and is more willing to make moves this time around.

Whether the Trail Blazers do anything drastic may hinge on their willingness to move second-year big man Zach Collins, according to Deveney, who says that the team has “resisted inquiries” on Collins so far.

Maurice Harkless is among the Trail Blazers who could be had though, and the team is open to moving its first-round pick as well, per Deveney. Harkless has one more year on his contract after this season, which figures to limit his value — teams like the Knicks and Nets have had interest in him in the past, but won’t want to compromise their 2019 cap flexibility by acquiring him now, Deveney observes.

Here’s more on the Blazers, plus a couple other notes from Deveney on the trade market:

  • Nikola Mirotic (Pelicans), Jeremy Lin (Hawks), Evan Fournier (Magic), and JaMychal Green (Grizzlies) are among the players the Trail Blazers have expressed interest in, sources tell Deveney.
  • Dario Saric‘s production and playing time has dipped since Ryan Saunders took over as the Timberwolves‘ head coach, and Deveney suggests that it wouldn’t be a shock to see Saric back on the trade block in the offseason, or even this week. “He could be had for a decent offer, a first-rounder and a player,” one league executive told Deveney.
  • Deveney reiterates that the Raptors and Rockets are expected to be among the favorites for Wesley Matthews if he’s bought out, as we heard earlier today. The Bucks wouldn’t be among Matthews’ suitors, per Deveney, though Milwaukee hopes to add one more frontcourt piece via trade or free agency.

Hawks Seeking Trades For Future Assets

The Hawks are looking to make deals to acquire future assets with point guard Jeremy Lin and center Dewayne Dedmon the most likely to get traded, Chris Kirschner of The Athletic reports. Atlanta is one of the few clear-cut sellers heading toward next month’s trade deadline and GM Travis Schlenk wants to continue collecting draft picks and opening up cap space.

“We’re looking for future assets,” Schlenk told Kirchner. “We already have five picks in this draft and more than likely, two firsts and three seconds. Any of the deals we do will be future assets or a deal that maybe will increase our (cap) flexibility moving forward. We’re still on the same trajectory.”

Lin has an expiring $13.77MM contract but several contenders are looking for a quality point guard, Kirschner notes. Lin, who is averaging 10.9 PPG and 3.6 APG in 19.9 MPG, has been linked to the Kings, Sixers, Pelicans and Trail Blazers.

Dedmon, who has an expiring $7.2MM contract, has increased his value by adding the 3-point shot to his game. Dedmon is averaging 10.2 PPG and 7.5 RPG in 24.7 MPG.

Atlanta would also like to move swingman Kent Bazemore and center Miles Plumlee, Kirschner adds. Bazemore is making $18.1MM this season and holds a $19.27MM option for next season. Bazemore is leaning toward opting in and has been shopped for more than a year, according to Kirschner. Bazemore hasn’t played since December 29th due to an ankle injury, which isn’t helping the Hawks’ efforts to move him.

Plumlee has another year left on his contract paying him $12.5MM this season and next. He was playing sparingly before injuring his knee and hasn’t seen the court since New Year’s Eve. Atlanta has talked to Memphis about taking on Chandler Parsons‘ contract with Plumlee being part of the deal. Atlanta would want a future pick from the Grizzlies as an incentive.