NBA Trade Rumors: Could Los Angeles Lakers Trade Jeremy Lin to Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers or Detroit Pistons?
It's been a disappointing season for the Los Angeles Lakers.
The team is currently 9-20, good enough for last place in the Pacific division behind the Sacramento Kings, Los Angeles Clippers, Phoenix Suns and Golden State Warriors. The Lakers currently have the second-worst record in the Western Conference only ahead of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Even with more than 50 games remaining in the season, it's obvious that this squad won't be making the postseason, especially in this vigorous Western Conference. Future Hall of Fame shooting guard Kobe Bryant is nearing retirement, and the Lakers' defense ranks dead last in the NBA, allowing 109.2 points per game. The Lakers are a franchise in transition, and they need to rebuild.
One potential impending option for the Lakers could be to trade point guard Jeremy Lin.
Lin is in the final year of his contract, and the Lakers aren't benefiting from his play whatsoever. Despite playing only the fourth most minutes on the team, Lin still leads the Lakers in total assists with 138. Obviously, Bryant is an all-time great player, but he's having the worst shooting season of his career. Bryant is shooting a career-low 37 percent overall, and just 27 percent from the perimeter. That's not to say Bryant is solely to blame for the Lakers' struggles, but Lin and other point guards just don't have a lot of weapons to pass to.
So where could Lin end up if the Lakers shop him before the deadline?
A team that could make the Lakers an offer is the Miami Heat. The Heat are just 14-16 this season, but still the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference. We've seen Lin play well in the East before with the New York Knicks, and wouldn't it be something to watch Lin face his former team at Madison Square Garden?
The Heat rank 27th out of 30 teams in assists. In other words, they have a lot of passing issues. Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers are the two best passers on the Heat, but both are better scoring threats without elite passing capabilities. Adding Lin to the Heat would provide a more balanced attack to a Heat offense that presently ranks 25th in scoring.
Trading for Lin would also help the Heat with bench minutes and resting time for older veteran players.
Another team who may want to keep an eye on Lin before the trade deadline is the Indiana Pacers. This Pacers team has made it to the Eastern Conference Finals the last two seasons with Frank Vogel as their head coach. It's been a rough start without Paul George (who is expected to miss the entire season) as the Pacers are just 10-19.
As bad as 10-19 sounds, the Pacers are just two games behind the Brooklyn Nets for the No. 8 seed playoff spot.
Not many people realize it, but the Pacers have the No. 1 ranked defense in the NBA with center Roy Hibbert leading the way. Inserting Lin into a defensive lineup that is already rated as the best in the league could have huge benefits for a team that has the 29th-ranked offense. Lin is a good ball distributor and driver to the basket, but his defense isn't the greatest. The Pacers could be the best fit because Lin won't be asked to play nearly as much defense.
Imagine Lin going from the Lakers' defense to the Pacers defense?
Without George playing for them, the Pacers rank 25th in team assists, which is third worst in the East.
One more team that may show interest in the 26-year-old point guard is the Detroit Pistons. The Pistons offense ranks 26th in scoring and 23rd in assists per game. It's unlikely this will happen, but the Pistons could use an upgrade in their passing game. Chauncey Billups isn't walking through that door anytime soon. Even if Lin doesn't work out in their system, the Pistons can simply just not re-sign him at the end of the season. At this point, they may not have much to lose by giving Lin a shot.
The NBA trade deadline is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015, at 3 p.m. EST.