One of of the L.A. Clippers’ main objectives this summer (along with dealing with DeAndre Jordan) will be to fortify a bench that was one of the league’s shallowest last season. Several of the reserves had their moments (Austin Rivers’ Game 3 barrage against Houston comes immediately to mind), but it was evident almost from day one that the backups would be a major weakness for them.
The Clips will be over the salary cap even if Jordan bolts as a free agent, which obviously limits their free agency options. Because the team crossed the luxury tax threshold, they won’t have the full midlevel at their disposal. So, instead of being able to offer over $5 million annually to free agents, the number is closer to $3.4 million. So, there’s little wiggle room.
They can always trade somebody in an effort to free up some more cash, but there’s really nobody to trade outside of Jamal Crawford. And if you trade Crawford, then your bench is even weaker than it already was. Robbing Peter to pay Paul, you know.
But there will be players free this summer that will take that $3.4 million the Clippers will be offering. It’s not like Los Angeles needs to add another big bopper. We saw how dangerous they could be with the group that should’ve reached the Conference Finals last month. They’re essentially in need of a few tweaks here-and-there.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a player in the league today more polarizing than Jeremy Lin. He’s insanely popular, but his on-court performance hasn’t exactly lived up to his lofty salary over the past couple of seasons with the Rockets and the Lakers. However, I also think he’s been wrongfully tagged as a “flash-in-the-pan”, etc.
Last season, he was stuck on a pathetic Lakers team that had no idea what it was doing on either end of the floor. His individual per-game numbers suffered a bit, though he did enjoy the finest three-point shooting season of his short career. Lin connected on nearly 37% of his triples, which is more than respectable. If you extrapolate his numbers to per-36 minutes, though, they’re actually fairly decent. Per-36, he averaged nearly 16 points, 6.5 assists, 4 rebounds and 1.5 steals. The field goal shooting was poor (42%), but, hey, he can hit threes.
He’s notoriously poor on defense, but the Clippers wouldn’t really need their third guard to be a lockdown type, anyway. Lin is big enough and a good enough shooter to play alongside Chris Paul, as Austin Rivers did at times. Lin’s both a better shooter and off-the-dribble playmaker than Rivers is, so, naturally, he’d be a likely upgrade.
Would he take the Clippers’ relatively small offer? Lin’s stock today is likely as low as it has been since bursting on to the scene with New York in 2012, so who knows? He’s a serviceable combo guard that spent an awful lot of time playing out of position last season with the Lakers. He’s more of a shooting guard in a point guard’s body, yet the Lakers utilized him as the point man an awful lot of the time. Let’s also not forget how dreadful most of the players around him were. Lin was able to find some success both on- and off-ball alongside James Harden with the Rockets, and I think the fit with CP3 would prove to be similar.
If the money is right and Lin is cool with a reserve role, he could prove to be a viable rotation option in the backcourt for the Clippers next season.
About the Author
Written by Taylor Smith
Taylor Smith is a writer for the Los Angeles Clippers.