Jeremy Lin expected to bolster Raptors' playoff run following buyout with Hawks

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Point guard Jeremy is expected to sign with the <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nba/teams/toronto/" data-ylk="slk:Raptors">Raptors</a>. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Point guard Jeremy is expected to sign with the Raptors. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

The Toronto Raptors shored up their roster ahead of a playoff run by acquiring three-time All-Star center Marc Gasol earlier in the week, but they’re not done improving yet.

Point guard Jeremy Lin is finalizing a buyout with the Atlanta Hawks, and he intends to join the Raptors, his agents Jim Tanner and Roger Montgomery told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

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Lin will largely be replacing the role of backup point guard Delon Wright, who was shipped to Memphis in the Gasol trade. Although both Wright and Lin have been 33.3 percent three-point shooters, Lin had a major advantage in two-point field goal percentage (.535 to .485) and assist rate (27.1 percent to 16.9 percent).

Fellow backup point guard Fred VanVleet is expected to remain a key cog off the bench, as Lin has plenty of experience playing alongside other smaller guards.

The Hawks tried to deal Lin ahead of the February 3 trade deadline but could not find a match in part due to the 30-year-old’s $12.5 million salary. However, now that Lin is expected to be bought out — and presumably clear waivers — he will be available for a prorated portion of the league minimum, about $700,000.

Lin was effective as a backup and mentor to Hawks’ first-round pick Trae Young. After missing all but one game of the 2017-18 season with a ruptured patella tendon, Lin has averaged 10.7 points in 19.7 minutes per game. However, since he was unlikely to return after hitting free agency this summer, the Hawks are planning to cut him loose to save some money.

The Raptors are currently one game back of the Milwaukee Bucks for the top seed in the Eastern Conference, as they both have 41 wins but the Raptors have two extra losses. With the top tier of teams in the East engaging in an arms race at the trade deadline, the Raptors will welcome any help they can get.

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