The 2019 NBA offseason continues to hum along. While the bulk of the excitement has passed for the summer, there are still some quality free agents available and storylines yet to unfold. Most rosters are nearly complete, but there is still work left to do.
For many teams, that work includes filling out the roster with role players. Shooters, defensive specialists and second-team ball-handlers are all valuable cogs on a successful NBA roster, even if they aren't prime targets in the early goings of free agency.
The list of quality role players still on the market includes the likes of J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, Joakim Noah and Jeremy Lin.
Unfortunately for Lin, the transition from superstar to role player has been a taxing affair.
Is Lin Really Running Out of NBA Options?
Lin has had quite the NBA career. He came from seemingly nowhere in 2012 to spark the revolution known as "Linsanity" with the New York Knicks back in 2012. Roughly seven years later, he finally won an NBA title as a backup with the Toronto Raptors. In between those two points, he's been a quality point guard for several franchises and has averaged 11.6 points per game during his career.
What seems to be weighing on Lin is the fact that he didn't have a huge hand in Toronto's series against the Golden State Warriors in the Finals. He appeared in just eight postseason games and only logged a minute of game action against the Warriors.
"There were times in all honesty where I felt I had to tell myself I deserve a championship," Lin told the Off The Pill podcast. "As a competitor who plays and has played my whole life, I'm not used to not playing, so I was like, 'This is tough, do I really deserve it?'"
The reality is that yes, Lin deserves his ring. He helped Toronto get to the Finals, and he helped his teammates prepare for and beat the seemingly unbeatable Warriors. However, going from Linsanity to being a bit-part player cannot have been easy for the former Harvard star, nor can a questionable future.
"There's a saying, and it says once you hit rock bottom, the only way is up, but rock bottom just seems to keep getting more and more rock bottom for me," Lin said during a recent event in Taiwan. "So, free agency has been tough. Because I feel like, in some ways, the NBA has kind of given up on me."
Has the NBA really given up on Lin? Probably not, but it does seem that teams no longer view him as a top-tier option.
However, Lin can be a valuable depth player for a contending team—he averaged 9.6 points, 2.4 rebounds and 3.1 assists with the Raptors and Atlanta Hawks last season—and he should spark some interest before the regular season kicks off in October. If he doesn't, he could have a premier opportunity in the EuroLeague, according to Sportando:
"Jeremy Lin is CSKA Moscow's top target at guard position, a source told Sportando. The EuroLeague and VTB League reigning champions need a guard to finalize the roster for next season and they made an offer to the NBA champion who is actually free agent."
If Lin really does want to be a star player once again, perhaps CSKA Moscow has the right opportunity for him.
Teams Still Eying Iguodala
The Los Angeles Lakers were undoubtedly one of the big winners of the early offseason. They managed to deal for star Anthony Davis and added role players like Danny Green and DeMarcus Cousins to the supporting cast. They could still add one more quality player to the mix—if they can convince the Memphis Grizzlies to part with former Warriors sixth man Andre Iguodala.
According to ESPN's Dave McMenamin, the Lakers are still targeting Iguodala for their final roster spot. The problem, of course, is that Los Angeles dumped a lot of assets into the Davis deal, and the Grizzlies do not seem keen on selling low with Iguodala.
"Everyone assumes we're in the business of re-trading the veterans," one unnamed Grizzlies executive told Keith Smith of RealGM. "Maybe it comes to that later, but right now, we want to win and compete."
While Memphis doesn't want to dump Iguodala for pennies on the dollar, the right offer could still spark a deal—and there is enough interest in the former Finals MVP that his market price should remain high.
The Lakers are not the only contender with interest. The Houston Rockets, who recently swung their own blockbuster deal for Russell Westbrook, have also had considered adding Iguodala.
According to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, the Houston Rockets were actually targeting Iguodala before they nabbed Westbrook from the Oklahoma City Thunder.
"[GM Daryl Morey] was in talks throughout that week with the Grizzlies about a deal for Andre Iguodala, according to two individuals with knowledge of the Rockets' thinking." Feigen wrote.
The Rockets could still be eying an Iguodala deal before the end of the summer. Morey Feigen that any additional offseason moves would likely come via a trade rather than free agency—and that additional moves could indeed be coming.
"You know us, we're never done," Morey said, per Feigen.
As is the case with the Lakers, the Rockets could struggle to put together an enticing offer for Iguodala after dealing future first-round picks to Oklahoma City for Westbrook. Should Iguodala's price tag come down between now and October, though, the Rockets, Lakers and several other teams could scramble to acquire him.
The Clippers Had an Eye for Beal
The future Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal is going to remain one of the biggest storylines of the late offseason until he agrees to the three-year, $111 million contract extension he has been offered.
So far, Beal has not agreed to the offer, and he appears in no rush to do so.
"We're not locked in on specific dates in terms of all that," Beal's agent, Mark Bartelstein, said, per Candace Buckner of the Washington Post. "There's nothing that needs to be decided at this moment. There's a lot for Brad to consider."
Could Beal consider trying to force a trade the way Davis did earlier this offseason? It's possible, especially if he doesn't like the direction in which the Wizards organization is heading. With John Wall expected to miss all of the 2019-20 season, this too is a possibility.
One team that had interest in acquiring Beal is the Los Angeles Clippers. They needed to deal for a second superstar in order to land Kawhi Leonard in free agency, and they eventually settled on Paul George. According to Jovan Buha and Sam Amick of The Athletic, however, the Clippers first looked into dealing for Beal.
Is Beal still an option for Los Angeles? Probably not after it sent four first-round draft picks to the Oklahoma City Thunder for George. However, a deal would still make sense for the Wizards if Beal is determined not to sign his extension.
Beal has two years remaining on his current contract, and he'll be eligible for a supermax extension if he manages to make the All-NBA squad next season. This means Washington could be looking at the prospect of losing Beal in two years or paying heavily to keep him. With Wall out for 2019-20, the Wizards could be looking at just one meaningful year of having Beal on the roster.
Instead of hanging onto hope, the Wizards could get something valuable for Beal now and theoretically start their rebuild two years early.