Hornets unlikely to have space to sign Jeremy Lin after other priorities

ByChris Broussard ESPN logo
Monday, June 27, 2016

The Charlotte Hornets would like to re-sign free agent Jeremy Lin but are fearful of losing the point guard, according to league sources.

The Hornets' top priority is bringing back Nicolas Batum, their free-agent swingman who had a breakout season, and they also want to re-sign Marvin Williams, who is a strong presence in the locker room, sources said.

Because Charlotte doesn't own Lin's Larry Bird Rights, those deals are likely to eat up the cap space the team would need to retain Lin.

While the door to a return is not completely closed, sources said Lin will meet with three other clubs beginning at midnight ET on July 1. The meetings will be held in Lin's hometown of Palo Alto, California.

Lin, who has played for four teams in the last five years, is looking for stability and hopes to find a long-term home this summer. After coming off the bench the past three seasons with theHouston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakersand Hornets, he also wants tostart.Lin averaged 17.5 points and 4.8 assists in 13 games as a starter last season.

"I've played six years in the NBA; I've played on five different teams. I've played for two D-League teams -- so seven cities in six years. I'm tired of boxes, I'm tired of moving companies, and I want to find a home," Lin said in an interview with the World Economic Forum over the weekend.

Lin had a strong season last year for Charlotte, averaging 11.7 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3 assists as the club's sixth man and helping the Hornets reach the playoffs.

"I want to see how good I can become," Lin said. "I'm 27, and an athlete's prime, or at least in the NBA, your prime is usually 27-30. That's when you kind of peak physically [and] mentally and that's where most players perform their best. So I'm going into my prime and I want to see how great I can be as a player, and that's my purpose in free agency -- so I'll just exhaust every opportunity to see which one will be the best for me."