Lakers guard Jeremy Lin downplayed both Thursday’s NBA trade deadline and his pending free agency. But this did not just involve Lin staying politically correct with reporters following Wednesday’s practice. During the Lakers’ week-long break during All-Star weekend, Lin reported that he declined to discuss those issues even with his family and agent.
“I said there is no use talking to me about it now,” Lin said at the Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo. “You don’t know what’s going to happen with the trade deadline and what happens when free agency comes around. There’s literally no point in me thinking about it right now because what it looks like right now won’t be reality when the decision needs to be made. I haven’t focused on it and I’ve refused to talk about it even with my agent. I’m not worried about it.”
Lin reported that his agent told him there is no imminent deal involving him. But any effort for the Lakers’ to trade him becomes complicated. He has averaged 10.2 points on 42.6 percent shooting, 4.6 assists and 2.7 turnovers in 25.5 minutes per game. Lin’s expiring contract, worth $14.9 million, could become too burdensome even if $8 million of his salary goes against the cap.
That’s why numerous NBA sources outside of Lin’s camp and the Lakers are skeptical either party would want a reunion. Lin has admittedly struggled sharing ball-handling duties and adapting to Byron Scott’s Princeton-based offense after playing in traditional systems with New York and Houston. But even when Lin’s agent asked him about his outlook for this summer, the Lakers guard responded, “Let’s just talk about that when the season ends.”
Yet, Lin seems more consumed with wanting to reduce his turnovers and play with more efficiency.
“You keep trying and learn from the individual process. When you try to look at it from the big picture, it can wear on you and you lose focus of the here and now of what you’re trying to accomplish today,” Lin said. “The biggest thing for me is playing again. [The break] allowed me to say the game is so fun.”
Lin spent the first part of his break in New York City where he reunited with various family members. Lin enjoyed it so much that he said, “I can’t remember laughing as much as I did.”
Lin then returned to Los Angeles to increase his workouts and diet after staying limited last week because of a recent stomach bug.
“I was able to clear my mind and come back and hit the ground running,” Lin said. “It doesn’t hurt I got the sun back with me. New york was negative four [degrees] every day. I was out here with the beach and my bike. I was all right.”
How does Lin carry that positive outlook once the Lakers (13-40) start playing? After all, they have lost six consecutive games and 15 of the past 16 contests. Yet, Lin maintained he would keep pushing and not worry about the big picture implications.
“Free agency is one of those situations where you have more control,” Lin said. “But until then, you really don’t have control on your behalf. The biggest thing I want to do is end things a different way than where we’re going with the Lakers. That’s what I’m going to focus on.”
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