Jeremy Lin will join the Charlotte Hornets on a two-year contract

Still one of the most popular players in the NBA, unrestricted free-agent point guard Jeremy Lin has agreed to terms to join the Charlotte Hornets, soon to be his third team in as many seasons. Lin, who turns 27 in August, announced the news on Instagram:

He even put up an altered image of himself in a Hornets jersey:

Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski reported later that Lin will sign a two-year contract worth more than $4 million in total, in line with the league's biannual exception. That's a significant, though expected, paycut for Lin, who joined the Houston Rockets on a three-year, $25-million deal the offseason after his life-changing "Linsanity" run with the New York Knicks in 2012. Lin did not reach those same heights in his two seasons with the Rockets and last season with the Lakers, and at this point he seems pretty well established as a third guard and fill-in starter.

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That's not to say he's without value. In fact, Lin has proven himself to be an adept scorer (15.6 and 15.7 points per 36 minutes in the last two seasons, respectively) and has improved his outside shooting to a career-best 36.9 percent in 2014-15. He can have a fairly long career as a poor man's Jamal Crawford, coming off the bench to run the pick and roll and keep the offense active while starters rest.

That should be his role in Charlotte, where Kemba Walker seems like a clear starter. It wouldn't be a shock to see Lin play with Walker somewhat often given the team's dearth of backcourt scoring, but the offseason acquisition of Nicolas Batum and defensive dominance of wing Michael Kidd-Gilchrist could find head coach Steve Clifford bucking trends and resorting to bigger lineups to maximize talent. Each of those players should also help cover for Lin's defensive weaknesses, as should other members of last season's ninth-most efficient defense.

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Regardless of how the Hornets optimize their available players, they figure to rely on Lin for a great deal of scoring, just as they often lean on Walker for shot creation. The team's needs should also benefit Lin, who has also looked his best when he can dominate the ball. Unlike many role players, he thrives when more is asked of him.


The unfortunate news for Lin is that he has most likely not found a long-term home, if only because he has a very movable contract under a general manager, Rich Cho, who hasn't shied away from making copious low and mid-level moves in the pursuit of assets. While it's somewhat rare for a player of such immense popularity to find himself cast as a journeyman, this will probably be an ongoing state of affairs for Lin. The fact is that he's an odd player, a ball-dominant guard not effective enough to justify serving as the center of the offense. Crawford, a superior player, had to go through five teams in 12 seasons before finding a semi-permanent late-career home with the Los Angeles Clippers. Perhaps Lin will eventually find a similar spot with a contender.

The Dallas Mavericks were also rumored to have been interested in Lin to fill their gaping hole at point guard, although they would have needed to trade another player or to reach a sign-and-trade deal with the Los Angeles Lakers to make it work under the salary cap. It's not clear if Wednesday's decommitment from DeAndre Jordan affected those negotiations.

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Eric Freeman is a writer for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!