The Lakers have officially moved on to Plan B.
Oh, the Lakers are still waiting to hear officially from Carmelo Anthony on if he has ruled them out. But with LeBron James announcing he will leave the Miami Heat and return for a second stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the free agency dominoes have started to fall.
The Lakers are finalizing a deal that will entail acquiring point guard Jeremy Lin, a 2015 first round pick and other draft considerations from the Houston Rockets for cash and the rights to an overseas player, according to a league source familiar with the situation.
The moves makes sense for the Lakers on several fronts. One, Lin would immediately bolster the Lakers’ point guard spot and prove reinforcements to an injury-riddled Steve Nash, a developing Kendall Marshall and untested rookie in Jordan Clarkson. Second, Lin’s $14. million salary expires after this season and includes a cap hit of $8.3 million, making him both a valuable trade chip and a player that would not compromise the Lakers’ hope to maximize their financial flexibility for the 2015 offseason.
Third, the Lakers will receive a much-needed first round draft pick for next season, something they originally did not have after sending away such assets as part of the Nash trade two years ago. Fourth, although Anthony and Lin have tension stemmed from their time with the Knicks, the Lakers believe financially that does not compromise their unlikely chance of securing Anthony.
Lin became a sensation with the New York Knicks two years ago, after an anonymous reserve quickly took the NBA by storm with a six-game stretch in which he scored at least 20 points. Lin, who became the first American-born NBA player of Taiwanese descent and the first Harvard product to play in the NBA since 1954, left Golden State and Houston guilty for passing on him before the Knicks picked him up. The Rockets made up for their mistake by signing him last year to a three-year, $25 million deal.
But it became clear the Rockets were planning to trade him. When they hosted Anthony last week with a sales-pitch meeting, the Rockets featured billboards of Anthony wearing a Houston uniform jersey donning his No. 7, the same number that Lin wears. The Rockets also reportedly were closing in on a deal on Miami forward Chris Bosh, who may accept a max contract offer after James left for Cleveland.
Yahoo! Sports first reported the deal.
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