As expected, Jeremy Lin opts out of deal with Hornets to become free agent

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After a rough season with the Lakers had depressed his value, the Charlotte Hornets got a steal picking up Jeremy Lin for the bi-annual exception last season of $2.2 million. He played a sixth-man role for the Hornets, and while his stats remained similar to the season before — 11.7 points and three assists per game — he had the ball in his hands more than in Houston or Los Angeles, which allowed him to play to his strengths of attacking and creating. He just looked more comfortable.

Which was going to mean a pay raise.

As he said he would do, Lin has opted out to become a free agent, reports Chris Haynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

The question is how much money will Lin get on the open market this summer, a time when a lot of teams will have cash burning a hole in their pocket due to the influx of money from the new television deal spiking the salary cap by $22 million.

Lin could find himself making starter-level money, which in the new NBA is north of $10 million a season. He has said he would like to return to the Hornets, but if he gets paid in that range it will be tough for Charlotte to keep him. The Hornets top priority is re-signing Nicolas Batum, which will be a max or near max deal. After that, the Hornets may only have about $12 million in cap space to resign Lin, Marvin Williams and Al Jefferson (the Hornets only have early-Bird rights on Lin, which is not going to cut it, so they need to use cap space to sign him).

There will be teams interested, including potentially Houston where he would reunite with coach Mike D’Antoni. Teams that target Mike Conley and strike out will turn to Lin and Rajon Rondo as their next targets. Teams such as Dallas or New Orleans could be fits.

Wherever he lands up, opting out was the right move for Lin.