With the trade deadline fast approaching and the Sixers in desperate need of bench help, the rumors are bound to start flying.
On Saturday, a report surfaced that the Sixers have “inquired” about Hawks guard Jeremy Lin. While Lin makes sense as a player that can create off the dribble and make shots, the report is not true, a team source tells NBC Sports Philadelphia.
Though Lin would provide an immediate scoring punch to the team’s bench, the defensive end of the floor is where the Sixers have had their biggest issues. A large part of that is having to rely on young players like Furkan Korkmaz and Landry Shamet to guard elite perimeter scorers.
Brett Brown has openly acknowledged this to be the team’s most glaring need.
“A perimeter defensive player interests me the most,” Brown said back on Dec. 21. “If you box me in, I’ll give you that answer.”
Lin, 30, would offer more in the way of NBA experience, but defense is certainly not his strength.
Another issue could be Lin’s contract. He arrived in Atlanta via trade this offseason from Brooklyn. The Nets inked Lin to a three-year, $36 million deal back in 2016. While it’s an expiring contract, his cap number is $12,516,746 for the 2018-19 season.
That would be tough for the Sixers to make the salaries match unless they give up on a struggling Wilson Chandler or an ailing Markelle Fultz. Neither of those deals likely helps the Sixers in the short or long term because of Chandler's defensive versatility and Fultz being just 20 years old.
The team will certainly look at internal options for its bench like Fultz and 2018 first-round pick Zhaire Smith, but it’s doubtful that GM Elton Brand will sit on his hands. With an open roster spot as a result of the Jimmy Butler deal, Brand has mentioned he’ll be patient in filling it.
“Despite what's been reported, we're going to take our time and evaluate the landscape,” he said following Butler’s introductory press conference. “We feel like we can actually add an important piece with that roster spot, so we're not in a rush. Nothing is imminent right now, but we think we can use that to do some real damage and help our team.”
So definitely look for Brand and company to be active before the Feb. 7 trade deadline and ensuing buyout market. Just don’t expect Linsanity to be coming to Philadelphia — at least not as of now.
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