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How Much Is Jeremy Lin Worth in Loaded 2015 NBA Free-Agent Class

Published by Bleacher Report on Fri, 13 Mar 2015

At the end of the season, Jeremy Lin will be an unrestricted free agenthis one-year experiment with the Los Angeles Lakers having produced more questions than answers.The debate will soon move from his role this season with the purple-and-gold franchise to what his value will be on an open market loaded with fellow point guards like Goran Dragic of the Miami Heat, Rajon Rondo of the Dallas Mavericks and Brandon Knight of the Phoenix Suns.All three of those aforementioned players were traded this season and could be on the move again come July 1.Similarly, Lin also finds himself on the merry-go-round, having been traded from the Houston Rockets to the Lakers last summer on an expiring contract. For the 26-year-old guard who rocketed to fame with the New York Knicks during a 35-game stretch in 2011-12, this current season was supposed to be about solidifying his identity and worth once and for all.But instead, the picture presented in Los Angeles has been one of uncertaintyan enigma who has gone from starter to role player and from lost to found at various points with Lakers coach Byron Scott.AsBleacher Reports Howard Beck recently wrote, the search for Lin's identity and the various versions on display this season dont point toward an L.A. encore:Whatever that version is, it will not be rediscovered in Los Angeles. The three-year, $25 million contract Lin signed with Houston in 2012the one Carmelo Anthony called "ridiculous"expires this summer. Lin will be free to choose his own destination as an unrestricted free agent, and he is certain to be moving again.But as Lin pointed out to Beck, the cloudiness of his next step mirrors the elusive middle ground of a career marked by highs and lows: "There's always been doubt around me, around my name, ever since I stepped foot in the NBA. That's literally all I've had, is just a huge cloud of uncertainty, doubt and in a lot of ways maybe polarizing criticism around me, for whatever reasons. It's part of the journey."Lins scoring dropped from 13.1 points as a starter in November to 7.3 points off the bench in December. But during his most recent stretch in March, while still playing a supporting role, his output has climbed back to 13.1 points per game along with 6.4 dimeshis highest assists average of the season.What has changed' For one, the guard who graduated from Harvard is now operating more freely out of pick-and-roll sets, rather than the Princeton-based offense that has often restricted him.In the late stages of the Lakers losing season, Lin is showcasing his strengthspushing the pace, improvising, finding teammates when theyre open and taking the ball to the hole when theyre not. His more aggressive approach has also resulted in more frequent trips to the charity stripe, with a season-high 5.1 free-throw attempts per game in March.But despite his recent improvement, it is doubtful Lin will be invited to stick around beyond this season. His overall inconsistency has been contrasted by the rapid development of second-round rookie Jordan Clarkson, whose contract next season is a bargain at$845,059.Still, Lin is likely succeeding in salvaging some semblance of his financial worth on the open market. It wont result, however, in a futurepayday anywhere near this years astronomical $14,898,938. The reason for that high-water mark is the back-loaded nature of the poison-pillcontract the Rockets employed to lure Lin away from New York in 2012.Interestingly, as Beck notes, the deal Houston struck with Los Angeles this summer was purely a bookkeeping moveand doesnt reflect its true level of interest: The Rockets remain high on Lin and are expected to be among his chief suitors this summer.Beyond the Rockets, there will no doubt be other interested parties. After all, the NBA has increasingly become a point guards league, and Lins potency in the open court plays to the current pick-and-roll vogue.The quicksilver quality of his career will likely keep a ceiling onoffers, howeverthe fifth-year player has yet to fully live up to his Linsanity promise, and hes never been known for excellence on the defensive end of the court.General managers around the league will be watching Lin closely during the final stretch of the Lakers snakebitten season. Given the nature of his up-and-down year, his ultimate worth in a loaded 2015 free-agent class is hard to accurately determine.Another variable is free-market supply and demand. If major players like Dragic and Rondo are quickly retained by their present employers, cash-rich teams may overbid for the leftovers.But equivocation does not lend itself to a precise answer for our central question.Theoretically, Lin's value is more than the current NBA average salary of $3,983,567and significantly less than his now-inflated rate.The crystal ball says Jeremy Lin will earn between $4.5 and $5.5 million per year for his next contract.
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