On Wednesday evening it was reported that the Sixers and Rockets agreed in principle to a deal that would ship point guard Jeremy Lin, and a future first round pick to the Sixers.
The reported deal is of course contingent on the occurrence of a couple other events; namely LeBron James returning to Cleveland, and Chris Bosh in turn going to Houston.
If said events do indeed occur, or if Houston becomes interested in clearing cap space to peruse other options, a Lin signing might make sense for the Sixers.
At first, the inflated figures of Lin’s contract are overwhelming; $15 million is a ton of money for a team to pay a player, especially for someone who wouldn’t even be considered premier at their position. But, once you get over the initial number and realize that the agreement would only be for a single season, and that taking on the contract would bring with it additional assets, then you can start to see some merit in the move.
The first obvious benefit of making the move would be the acquisition of a future first-rounder from Houston, whether it be their own pick, or the Pelicans’ pick in 2015. The Sixers, still stationed solidly in rebuilding mode, need to continue to add assets to form the foundation. First round selections are a the best way to form a franchise, along with free agency, and you know Hinkie’s motto: the more the merrier.
A single first rounder may not be enough for Hinkie to help Houston however, and the Sixers might end up with a couple future picks for absorbing Lin’s crazy contract, which would of course be even better. With no immediate intention to contend this season, the Sixers likely aren’t going to use all, or any of their salary space anyway, so if they can use it acquire future picks for signing a player that will be off the books after a single season, why not?
If the Sixers do end up with Lin, there is some speculation that the team would buy him out and that he wouldn’t even suit up for the Sixers. This is a possibility, but it is also feasible that the franchise would hold on to him until the trade deadline and try to flip him for further future considerations. Not that they would get much for Lin at that point, considering he is a free agent after the season, but teams making a playoff push in need of backcourt depth might be interested; sort of similar to the Evan Turner situation last season.
A pick or two at the outset, and then another potential pick or two at the deadline wouldn’t be a bad haul for baby-sitting a salary for a season, even one as large as Lin’s.
Lastly, there is the [very small] possibility that if acquired, Lin, who is still only 25, would fit in well in the Sixers’ system, and would consider re-signing at a reasonable price for some type of reserve role. If not, he is off of the books after a single season with no future cost to the organization.
Depending on what else they can get in turn for helping Houston and taking on such a super-sized contract for the season, a Lin signing would make some sense for the Sixers.