Article Written by Adam Corsair (@AdamCorsair)
Masai Ujiri has reportedly made good on his word to be aggressive in the buyout market for the Toronto Raptors.
Jeremy Lin is finalizing a buyout with Atlanta, clearing the way for him to sign with Toronto, agents Jim Tanner and Roger Montgomery tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 11, 2019
This is a solid signing for the Raptors and will provide some much needed play-making ability, as well as some decent shooting. Of the buyout candidates that have been floated out there, Lin is definitely one of the top grabs and provides stability off the bench in the event that Lowry or VanVleet suffer long-term injuries. Further, adding another veteran presence to the bench is a good thing and perhaps having Lin there for players like OG or the aforementioned two new additions to pick Lin’s brain a bit can only be beneficial.
So long as Lin doesn’t cut too deep into the minutes of say Fred or Norm, it’s hard not be like the signing.
His numbers have taken a dip as of late, but his season average isn’t terrible. Over the course of 51 games with Atlanta, he’s shot just about 47% from the field and 33% from deep, with about 11 points per game. The numbers don’t jump off the page, but it’s probably a safe bet that the Raptors won’t expect nearly as much from him as Atlanta did. I’m guessing that the chances of the Raptors playing him approximately 20 minutes a game are extremely slim and we’re more than likely looking at 10-12 minutes, maximum, off the bench.
I understand the concern regarding his recent slump, but it’s not something I’m overly troubled with. Since being inactive on January 15th, Lin has averaged 10.3 points, shooting 43% from the field and only 29% from deep over the course of 12 games, You’d like that 3p% to creep up a bit, especially with the lack of consistent shooting from deep on the team as of late. But perhaps a change of scenery and being on a team that has a legitimate shot at a deep playoff run may bring something out of him. There really isn’t much to scoff at with the move and the Raptors are better than they were yesterday as a result.
Here's where the Raptors stand (2 spots open, have to fill at least 1 in the next 10 days):— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) February 11, 2019
Lowry, VanVleet, Loyd (2-way).
Green, Lin (still has to clear waivers), McCaw.
Leonard, Powell, Miller.
Gasol, Ibaka, Boucher.
This is definitely one of the more notable buyout transactions this season, and it was one that the Raptors needed. As I touched on above, Lowry and VanVleet have both been battling injuries this year, so Lin is a suitable piece to help supplement the load a bit and ease the tension on the two guards heading into the playoffs. Recall how much of a void there was during the first round of the playoffs last year with the absence of VanVleet. Having a guy like Lin mitigate the pressure off of both Fred and Lowry in the event that one needs a rest is extremely valuable for the Raptors right now. The last thing the team needs is to have Lowry dealing with a nagging back injury during the most crucial playoff stretch in franchise history. So having this signing is - at the very least - somewhat of a preventative measure.
Again, in a vacuum, it’s not a huge signing, but given the buyout market and what’s available, it’s certainly a move that adds some much needed stability to a depleted roster. I get that the missing piece now seems to be another big to “complete” the entire roster (Markieff Morris? Enes Kanter?), so we’ll have to wait and see if the team is done exploring the market. Don’t rule out the notion that the Raptors are done exploring.
Otherwise, good pickup for the team! (The Artist Formerly Known As) LINSANITY is coming to Toronto!
UPDATE 4:13 p.m.: Soooooo about that thing I said about acquiring Lin in the event that Lowry or VanVleet go down with an injury? Yyyyeeeahhhh….
Raptors guard Fred VanVleet will miss at least three weeks with left thumb injury, team says.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 11, 2019
So the signing makes even more sense now and Raptors fans can sort of breathe a sigh of relief that the team was able to scoop up Lin. Granted, the Raptors will have to wait 48 hours until Lin officially joins the team, but it’s good to have a solution in place ready to go.
It’ll be interesting to see who the backup point guard is tonight against the Nets, but at least we can rest assured that the Raptors are at least covered while Fred recovers. Also, I get that 3 weeks seems like a long time but consider that the Raptors have only 2 games before the All-Star Break and then they will be off until February 22nd (DeMar!). Point being, about a week and a half of the the 3 weeks Fred will miss, the team will be off.
Silver linings, man.
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