The NBA can be a cold, hard business.
Jeremy Lin has not landed an NBA contract for next season, and for teams that is a roster decision based on point guard they have in house, what they are looking for in a backup, and choosing younger players they can develop for those reserve slots over veterans. For most fans, that’s business, NBA players are seen as a commodity, discussed as numbers, and moved around like pieces on a chessboard.
Players, however, are human beings. With families, lives and interests outside the game, and emotions. Basketball, and the NBA, have been at the center of their lives for a long time, and free agency can take a toll. Lin is touring Asia right now and in this stop talked about how free agency has impacted him (you can see the full context of his comments above, this is just the highlight).
Lin is uncertain about his future in the sport he has dedicated much of his life to, and that would be unsettling for anyone. He’s not been wanted by NBA teams, and that has shaken him deep in his being.
For most of last season, Jeremy Lin was a solid rotation player for the Hawks, coming off the bench and averaging 10.7 points per game, shooting 34.7 percent from three. Lin was waived by the Hawks and picked up for the playoffs by Toronto, but he fell out of the rotation, playing 27 total minutes in the postseason for the eventual champs. He was a non-factor.
That last part is what seems to have stuck in the minds of NBA teams.
Lin has interest from CSKA Moscow and certainly could get a spot on a Chinese league team, but that is not what he wants. The cold business question for him is how long does he wait on that NBA contract, or does his career evolve in another way.
But for Lin (and other players in his shoes), that is not some cold, unemotional calculus. It’s personal. It’s emotional. And it’s not simple and easy.