Why did Sean Marks trade Jeremy Lin?
Entering the offseason, it was likely Marks was going to shop Lin due to his $12.5 million salary, triggered when Lin exercised his option in February for the final year of the three-year deal he signed with the Nets in 2016.
Since his arrival in Brooklyn, Lin has faced several heartbreaking injuries. These injuries would sideline Lin for 127 games over the past two seasons. In other words, Lin has only played in 37 out of the last 164 games.
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Brooklyn was able to play around Lin’s injuries due to its guard rotation, which has great young potential. It is very unfortunate Lin went down with serious injuries, but that is not one of the main reasons Marks sent Lin to Atlanta.
Brooklyn would not have made all their offseason moves without shopping Lin first. His $12.5 million salary was not only a huge hit for the 2018-19 cap space, but his cap hold would have been a factor in the summer of 2019.
After Brooklyn dealt Lin, which freed up $12.5 million in cap, the Nets were able to obtain two more future draft picks from the Denver Nuggets as the sweetener for taking on the contracts of Kenneth Faried and Darrell Arthur.
That deal, in turn, allowed the Nets to send the last year of Arthur’s deal to the Phoenix Suns on Friday to pick up veteran Jared Dudley, who fills in a roster blank at the stretch 4 spot.
Lin’s age also factored into the deal. Lin turns 30 next month and with other younger guards earmarked for important roles in the ongoing rebuild of the Nets, that number — 30 — fit less well than the $12.5 million cap hit.
Marks is aiming to build a young Eastern Conference team loaded with talent and eyes on becoming a championship contender in the next couple of years.
In addition, Brooklyn has a handful of talented young guards who are less expensive to keep around for next season and can make more of an impact for their price tag.
D’Angelo Russell, who is entering the final year of his contract, was going to be a starting guard for the Brooklyn Nets regardless of Lin’s presence on the club, but Russell’s price tag for this season is $7,019,698 next season, via Jeff Siegel of Early Bird Rights.
Not only is he just about half as expensive as Lin, but as of now, he is the face of the Brooklyn Nets rebuild. The Nets also have Spencer Dinwiddie, who has played great for Brooklyn over the past two seasons, at $1,656,092 for the 2018-19 season.
With that being said, Brooklyn has the point guard rotation they need for next season while storing up nearly $50 million to $70 million available under the cap for 2019.
Now, even if Marks decided to keep Lin for this season, the likelihood he would have return for the 2019-20 season is very slim. Overall, considering all the information above, the trade was a smart move for Brooklyn to make.