It wasn’t all that long ago that Jeremy Lin was considered the top player on the NBA’s buyout market with his eyes set on the Toronto Raptors.
Back in 2019, the Raptors looked like the worldbeaters they’d eventually become and Toronto had room to make another move. Just days before his February 11, 2019 buyout from the Atlanta Hawks, Lin remembers Raptors guard Kyle Lowry relentlessly trying to recruit him to come to Toronto mid-game.
“I’m in the middle of the game and I don’t know anything about anything, I’m just playing, and Lowry’s just like defending me, he’s like ‘hey man, are you rolling with us?’ I’m like what?” Lin recalled just days after the 2019 trade deadline. “‘I’m like what are you talking about?’ and he’s like ‘you’re coming over right.'”
It was only after the game Lin said he realized the Raptors were interested in signing him if he agreed to a buyout with the Hawks.
Two days after Lin’s buyout he inked a deal to sign with Toronto. It didn’t go entirely as he or the organization had planned. He logged 18.8 minutes per game through to the end of the regular season, but some self-confidence issues, he said, plagued him as his shooting numbers fell to just 37.4% from the field and 20% from 3-point range.
Once the playoff started Lin found himself stapled to the back of the bench. He played a total of 27 minutes for Toronto in the 2019 playoffs and he said housing the Larry O’Brien trophy was a little “bittersweet” because he felt like he didn’t quite contribute to the team’s overall success.
Since the end of that championship run, Lin said he hasn’t set foot in an NBA facility. He spent the 2019-20 season playing overseas in China before returning to the United States this past season and starring in the G League for the Santa Cruz Warriors.