Jeremy Lin hasn't been the point guard the Los Angeles Lakers expected him to be this season. Although it's still too early in the campaign to tell, his struggle to run the offense along with his on-and-off shooting could make a potential trade bait for Mitch Kupchack when the trade chatter heats up after All-Star break.
Acquired by the Lakers from the Houston Rockets in exchange for virtually nothing, the 26-year old Lin entered the 2014-15 NBA season in high hopes of becoming a big contributor for a rebuilding Lakers team.
While he started training camp as a backup for two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash, the opportunity of starting for a big-market NBA ball club opened like the Red Sea when Nash was ruled out for the entire season because of a nerve problem on his back.
Nash's injury was indeed a big setback for a Lakers team already deprived of star power after mission on elite free-agents last summer. On the other hand, several analysts viewed the situation as a blessing in disguise for Lin to finally recapture his old mojo that catapulted him to greater height in New York three years ago.
After a solid showing in the preseason, Lin's performance was a far-cry from what everybody wanted him to be. To give him credit, the Asian-American wasn't the only one to blame for the Lakers 1-7 woes.
Injuries obviously top the list, while bad defense and lackluster personnel would come a close second and third in the list of reasons to this miserable season. But in a guard-driven league, Lin's body of work is irksome in the eyes of many purple-and-gold supporters.
It's true that he has all the tools to become a big time player in the NBA and he certainly showed that in some of the games - including a 17-point, 9-assists game against Chris Paul and the Clippers. However, for basketball pundits, Lin is still a diamond in the rough that needs more polishing in his game. Unfortunately for him, the Lakers are not known for being patient.
So what's next for Lin and the Linsanity saga? As an expiring contract, it won't be a surprise if the Lakers would keep him at the end of the season and part ways after that. Then again, there's always the possibility that he could be used as an asset to get a young player with higher ceiling.
The Philadelphia 76ers aren't going anywhere but to the lottery again. Frustrations are etched in the face of every Sixers fans these past three seasons, but the team's future is certainly bright with a collection of incredible young talents like Joel Embiid, Nerlens Noel and Dario Saric.
As for reigning Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams, the Sixers are still not sure if he's really their point guard of the future. This was evident when the Sixers reportedly attempted to trade the young playmaker in last draft. And with the kind of poise Emmanuel Mudiay has been showing against pro players in the Chinese Basketball League, the Sixers won't even flinch in losing Carter-Williams for a shot at even better playmaker waiting in the wing.
Unlike the Sixers, the Lakers aren't buying the concept of tanking, thought it appears they are right now. With expectation still unbelievably high for the Lakers, a significant trade should happen in the coming weeks.
Nash's expiring contract is certainly not the most attractive trade bait out there, but there might be some interest somewhere. As for Lin, the market is still not closing the door on him. After all, he remains a solid point guard with the ability to rack up points when hot, though he's clearly not an ideal starting playmaker for a big-market franchise.
Weeks before the Rockets dealt Lin to the Lakers, the Sixers did express interest in trading for the Asian-American standout. And why not? Lin's open-court and pick-and-roll brilliance is perfect for Brett Brown's run-and-gun system. Moreover, there's no Kobe Bryant, James Harden or Carmelo Anthony there who would try to bully him in the backcourt. In short, the Sixers would have been heaven for Lin's career.
Apparently it's not too late for Lin to fulfill his Sixers dream. The Lakers are pursuing a big time trade to upgrade their roster, long and short term, and the Sixers could be willing to help the Busses. In this trade proposal, the Lakers would send the expiring contract of Nash and Lin in exchange for Michael Carter-Williams, and expiring contracts of Alexey Shved and UCLA alum Luc Mbah a Moute.
The Lakers would significantly improve their roster by acquiring a young point guard in Carter-Williams and decent rotation players like Shved and Moute, while the Sixers would have the luxury of going over the minimum and at the same time, get more cap room next summer to sign big time free-agents.
This made-up trade should be taken with lots of grains of salty. Then again, it seems a win-win deal for both teams and the careers of those players involved.