Call it Linsanity 2.0. When I asked for questions for this week’s mailbag on Monday morning, most were about when the Warriors will sign Jeremy Lin.
Of course everyone remembers Lin — who has played well in four G League games for the Santa Cruz Warriors — for his 2012 exploits with the Knicks. Devastating crossovers and game-winning shots on the sport’s biggest stage made Lin a star — if only for about a month. He then played for six teams in seven years before injuries knocked him out of the league in 2019. All the while, he remained popular with basketball fans around the world. Now, after playing a season in China, Lin is attempting his NBA comeback.
It seems many of you want that to be in Golden State. We’ll get to that, but first we have another point guard to address.
Is there any sense of urgency at all to get a real backup point guard? Brad Wanamaker just is not it. — @DubsPainTour
At this point, Brad Wanamaker just hasn’t given the Warriors what they hoped to get when they signed him to a one-year, $2.25 million deal. After two seasons in Boston, Wanamaker was considered a 3-and-D wing who could help space the floor, play-make and defend at a high level. But in 27 games with the Warriors, Wanamaker is shooting 23.3% from 3-point range and has failed to make much of an impact. As a result, Golden State is being outscored by 2.4 points per 100 possessions when Wanamaker is on the court. That’s a problem as this team tries to cobble together effective lineups when Stephen Curry is on the bench.
However, if the Warriors decide they want to replace Wanamaker, it won’t be easy. They would have to clear a spot on the 15-man roster, and waiving Wanamaker would be a non-starter since his deal is guaranteed and would be an additional expense the ownership group doesn’t want to incur. Trading him could also be costly because it would likely cost them a future draft pick. And with the Warriors’ other point guard options (rookie Nico Mannion and Jordan Poole) currently in the Walt Disney World bubble for the G League season until mid-March, Wanamaker will most likely continue in this role through the first part of the season.
Any chance they bring in Jeremy Lin or not at all? — @gswcowboy.
If Golden State is able to clear a roster spot and is motivated to replace Wanamaker, Bay Area native Jeremy Lin could make some sense. Lin, who is averaging 18 points per game on 51% shooting in four games for the Santa Cruz Warriors, could provide floor spacing and playmaking in a way Wanamaker hasn’t. Most importantly, he seems recovered from the string of injuries that forced him out of the NBA in 2019.
Lin is respected by the front office and has ties to the organization through his childhood friend and assistant general manager Kirk Lacob. It was Lacob who lobbied for Lin before Lin signed with Santa Cruz. And while Mannion and Poole will likely finish out the G League season in the bubble, nothing is stopping the Warriors (or any other team, for that matter) from signing Lin to an NBA contract before that point. If Lin continues to impress, he’ll have plenty of suitors to help him complete his NBA comeback.
Who would be first to go when Juan Toscano-Anderson’s 45 games run out? — @Game6KlayPod
After starting the last six games in place of injured centers Kevon Looney (left ankle sprain) and James Wiseman (left wrist sprain), Toscano-Anderson has 35 NBA games left on his two-way contract. So, the Warriors have some time to promote him to the 15-man roster, but not a lot. Clearly, he’s proven he belongs on the team, with head coach Steve Kerr counting as one of his biggest advocates.
As with Lin, finding a spot could be difficult and costly. The most straightforward solution would be to waive Alen Smailagic, who hasn’t played this season because of a knee injury and doesn’t seem to have a place on a team that hopes to contend for a title. But because Smailagic’s contract is guaranteed, they would have to eat that cost and pay Toscano-Anderson, all of which would add to an already historic luxury-tax bill.
The Warriors could seek to solve both problems by making a trade before Feb. 24 (the date when all contracts are guaranteed for the season) in which they move Wanamaker, Smailagic and a future draft pick for non-guaranteed deals they could immediately waive. (A quick scan of the league shows that New Orleans and Utah could have the contracts to make it work.) That would clear room to promote both Toscano-Anderson and Lin.
Contributed by local news sources