It’s official: Jeremy Lin is coming home.
While it may not be a move as big as LeBron James’ return to Cleveland, Lin being traded to his hometown Los Angeles Lakers was a significant transaction, nevertheless.
The trade was agreed to in principle on Friday and was made official today.
According to a press release from the Lakers, the Houston Rockets sent Lin and their own 2015 first-round pick to L.A. in exchange to the draft rights to Sergei Lishchuk, an overseas prospect who has never played in the NBA.
The Rockets also sent the Los Angeles Clippers’ 2015 second-round pick to the Lakers in the deal.
“This trade allows us to acquire a solid player who will make us a better team, as well as draft picks to improve our team in the future, while at the same time allowing us to maintain financial flexibility,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said in the press release. “In addition to what he’ll bring us on the court, we think Jeremy will be warmly embraced by our fans and our community.”
The financial flexibility Kupchak mentions refers to Lin’s $8.3 million expiring deal – the 25-year-old will actually earn $15 million from the Lakers next season, though only $8.3 million counts against the cap – which will allow the Lakers to have maximum flexibility in the summer of 2015 when players like Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge, Rajon Rondo and Marc Gasol could be available.
The Rockets’ first-round pick is protected 1-14 next season, according to the Houston Chronicle. After that, it would be protected through 10 picks for two seasons and then 1-5 the following year.
Lin, who had to share ball-handling duties with James Harden during his two-year stint in Houston, averaged 12.5 points, 4.1 assists, 2.6 rebounds and 1.0 steal in 28.9 minutes per game last season while shooting 44 percent from the field and nearly 36 percent from deep.