Jeremy Lin

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Trainer: Carmelo Anthony wants farewell season

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Carmelo Anthony was playing a major role for the Rockets.

Then, nothing.

Anthony’s 10-game stint with Houston looks like it might have been the odd end to his NBA career.

The Rockets kept him rostered in exile a while. They eventually traded him in a tax-avoidance maneuver to the Bulls, who waived him. He reportedly had multiple NBA options. Most chatter centered on the Lakers. All of it went nowhere.

But Anthony’s trainer, Chris Brickley, said the forward is “100 percent” ready to play in the NBA and maybe even ready to start.

Brickley on The Breakfast Club

Yes, given the situation. Allen Iverson. Do you remember?

He kind of got, some people say, not blackballed, but got into a situation at the end of his career where teams would be like, “Oh, he’s going to want this role. So, we’re going to stay away.” And I think that’s what’s going on with Melo right now. He’s easily better with 60 percent, 70 percent of NBA players walking around. It’s just I think teams are afraid of, “I want to be a starter” or “I want this.” That’s not the case, though. Melo just wants to have a final season, farewell season, do what D-Wade did, do the jersey swap. He had a great career. He’s a Hall of Famer. So, hopefully that can happen.

I don’t trust Brickley’s assessment of Anthony’s current playing ability. Anthony employs Brickley. That makes Brickley an unreliable evaluator here.

I’m more interested in Anthony’s motivations. Brinkley has more credibility on revealing those.

Dwyane Wade clearly enjoyed his farewell season with the Heat. Anthony saw some of it firsthand. It must feel really nice to spend a year travelling around the country having your praises sung.

But few players leave the NBA on their own terms. Jeremy Lin is openly grappling with the emotions of not getting the job he wants. Anthony has handled his saga more privately. I suspect there are overlapping feelings.

Wade was still just good enough to get another NBA season. It helped that Miami has such an attachment to him after he spent so much time there, including winning three titles. Anthony doesn’t have that bond with any franchise.

How will Anthony convince another team to sign him?

Brickley downplayed the idea Anthony wants a big role, I think that concern is overstated. Anthony just no longer appears good enough for any role. Even his scoring has become quite inefficient. I don’t believe he’s better than anywhere near 60 percent of current NBA players.

Anthony looked washed up at age 34. That almost never gets better at 35.

But if Anthony is motivated to return for a sendoff season, more power to him. It’s fascinating to learn what drives players, especially ones as famous as Anthony.

Nate Robinson wants Jeremy Lin to play in The Big3

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Jeremy Lin is having a hard time finding work in the NBA. Lin broke down the other day, saying he’s felt as though he hit rock bottom.

Lin can still be a useful third PG it seems. According to Synergy, he ranked as “Very Good” at his position both in the pick-and-roll game and in transition, two play types that made up 64 percent of his possessions last season.

But it’s late July and Lin still doesn’t have a team. Point guard is a position many teams still need to fill, and you’d think at a veteran’s minimum Lin would be enticing to teams like the Phoenix Suns, Orlando Magic, Portland Trail Blazers, etc.

Meanwhile, former NBAer Nate Robinson has another idea for Lin: play in The Big3.

Via Instagram:

Lin could certainly go to The Big3, but he still has NBA talent and he will be just 31 by the time next season starts. He’s not going to win you any games on defense, but as a third point guard and 14th or 15th man, it does feel a little odd there’s nothing out there for him. Perhaps his asking price is too high? Lin did play for the minimum last year, and unless his agent has other ideas, that’s where he’s going to be the rest of his career.

Maybe this saga will end soon enough, and Lin will find a team. If not, we know that Nate Robinson always has a spot for him.

Seven best free agents still available, players who could help a team

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The dust has settled. What was the wildest free agency summer in NBA history is winding down, and while there are a few questions still out there — what uniform will Chris Paul be in at the end of next season? — for the most part teams are picking up the 14th and 15th guys on the bench, plus handing out two-way contracts. The rosters are basically set.

Yet there are still some veteran free agents of note available out there. Guys who could help teams. These players may have to wait into training camp or even the start of the season to find a spot, once roster holes become glaring or injuries send a team scrambling. Others may choose to play overseas. But here are seven veterans still on the market who could help a team.

1) Jeremy Lin

It’s been an emotional offseason for Lin, one where he has gone from the high of being on a championship team to not finding a home for next season. While he fell out of Toronto’s playoff rotation last May and June — and that seems to be what front offices remember — he played solidly as a backup point guard for the Raptors and Hawks and averaged 9.6 points and 3.1 assists per game overall last season. Lin knows how to run a team, can get to the rim, can hit the three enough you have to respect it, and is a better defender now than his reputation. Lin has interest from CSKA Moscow but it’s unclear what direction he will go.

2) Iman Shumpert

Wing defense is in demand around the NBA, and while Shumpert is not near the defender he once was he can still provide some solid defense at a position of need. Shumpert also shot 34.8 percent last season overall from three (that time was split between Sacramento and Houston). He played in eight of the Rockets’ playoff games last season and was respectable in those. If a team is looking for a respectable role player on the wing, Shumpert can be that guy.

3) Jamal Crawford

Need buckets off the bench? Crawford, at age 39, can still get them. The three-time Sixth Man of the Year has slowed in recent years, but he still averaged 7.9 points per game off the bench and lit it up for the depleted Suns at the very tail end of last season. He’s also improved the playmaking aspect of his game. For a team that needs bench scoring, look no further.

4) Vince Carter

Vince Carter’s role has evolved from high-flying wing to stretch four — he played 56 percent of his minutes as a power forward last season, shooting 38.9 percent from three. He’s also a respected leader in the locker room. Fans and fellow players love him, and a few times a season he can jump in the hot tub time machine and remind everybody why he is one of the all-time great dunkers the league has seen. Carter could help several teams off the bench.

5) J.R. Smith

Cleveland waived Smith not because they couldn’t use his basketball skills, but to save a lot of money. Smith will turn 34 before next season starts and his skills are in decline, he shot just 30.8 percent from three last season. In the right situation (on a likely contender) Smith could play a role off the bench. Teams will have to live with the occasional mental vacation during games (and teams may not want to play him clutch minutes in a Finals game).

6) Jonas Jerebko

Jerebko struggled for the Warriors in the playoffs, when injuries forced him into an outsized role, but during the regular season he was a solid reserve for Golden State. Jerebko averaged more than 16 minutes a game for the Warriors last season (73 games), shot 36.7 percent from three, and averaged 6.3 points per game. Jerebko could help a team looking for a stretch four off the bench.

7) Thabo Sefolosha

He has evolved into more of a switchable, defensive-minded forward who can play the three or the four off the bench for teams and give them solid minutes. He shot 46.3 percent from three last season in Utah, and while that is probably not sustainable he is a good floor spacer on offense (who does not do much else). There are certainly teams Sofolosha could help off the bench.

Jeremy Lin: ‘I feel like in some ways the NBA has kind of given up on me’

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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.

Report: CSKA Moscow targeting Jeremy Lin

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Jeremy Lin played pretty well for Atlanta last season. He was on the court for 51 games as a backup to and mentor for Trae Young, scoring 10.7 points per game, shooting 34.7 percent from three, and generally being a solid NBA rotation player.

That’s not what everyone remembers, however. Lin was waived by the Hawks and picked up for the playoffs by Toronto, but by then he was out of their rotation, playing 27 total minutes in the postseason for the eventual champs. He was a non-factor.

That’s what other teams have seemed to remember this summer as Lin has not yet signed with an NBA team. Now Euroleague champs CSKA Moscow is targeting Lin, reports Sportando.

Jeremy Lin is CSKA Moscow’s top target at guard position, a source told Sportando.

The EuroLeague and VTB League reigning champions need a guard to finalize the roster for next season and they made an offer to the NBA champion who is actually free agent…

If Lin doesn’t accept the proposal, CSKA Moscow will consider another NBA free agent, Ron Baker.

There are questions here we don’t have an answer to, specifically what is the offer? Lin rightfully believes he will probably get a vet minimum contract offer at some point (during training camp or early in the season), which is $2.3 million if for the full season. Is CSKA Moscow’s offer for more than that (which would make him one of the highest-paid players in Europe)? Even if it’s for less, is Lin willing to accept the deal on a “bird in the hand” theory? Would Lin, if he is going to play overseas, prefer to play in China, both for branding reasons and that season ends early enough that he could hook up with an NBA team in March for a playoff run?

CSKA Moscow is thin at point guard heading into next season and is not going to wait around a long time to fill that vacancy.