UPDATE: The Atlanta Hawks have officially waived Jeremy Lin.
The Atlanta Hawks were expected to be active prior to the trade deadline but, when the music stopped, the organization wasn’t unable to make much headway in moving veteran players. Travis Schlenk and company did clear two roster spots while parting ways with Tyler Dorsey and Daniel Hamilton but, in the end, players frequently involved in trade discussions like Dewayne Dedmon, Taurean Prince, Kent Bazemore and Jeremy Lin remained on the roster.
Then, Schlenk addressed the media and indicated that the organization would not proactively initiate buyout discussions with players on expiring contracts, instead putting the ball in the court of any player that wanted to explore that avenue. As such, things were quiet on the buyout front through the weekend but, on the heels of three consecutive home losses, the dam reportedly broke on Monday afternoon.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports that Lin is nearing a buyout with the club and, once complete, the veteran point guard plans to sign with the Toronto Raptors.
Jeremy Lin is finalizing a buyout with Atlanta, clearing the way for him to sign with Toronto, agents Jim Tanner and Roger Montgomery tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 11, 2019
In the event of a formalized buyout on Monday, Lin would clear waivers on Wednesday and his minimum contract amount at that time would be $697,358. If the process is not finalized until Tuesday, Lin would clear on Thursday with a minimum contract of $685,124 if he were to sign with the Raptors (or any team) at that juncture. From a Hawks perspective, parting ways with Lin would leave the team with only 12 players (plus a pair of two-way contracts) and, beyond that, Atlanta would have only Trae Young and Jaylen Adams at the point guard position.
From a salary cap standpoint, the impact would be minimal for Atlanta, as Lin’s contract was set to expire at the conclusion of this season. The Hawks would have been able to re-sign him using Bird Rights but, considering his eight-figure salary cap hold, that would not have been a likely avenue for the organization and it makes sense that Lin would pursue a playoff opportunity with a team like the Raptors.
The 30-year-old guard averaged 10.7 points and 3.5 assists per game with the Hawks in 51 appearances. In Toronto, Lin would also be a supporting piece on a team that employs Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet but, unlike Atlanta, he would have the opportunity for playoff exposure and the pursuit of a championship this season.
Specifics are unclear at this juncture and, as a matter of team policy, the Hawks would not announce financial information pertaining to a buyout. With that said, all signs point to Lin moving on and it will be interesting to see how Atlanta acts in filling out its roster (the team has until Feb. 21 to sign at least two more players and bring the roster to 14) in the coming days.