Jeremy Lin is on his traditional summer Asia tour, where speculation about where he’ll play next is at a fever pitch. Lin recently told media in Taiwan: “Everyone knows that I’m a free agent. The most important thing for me is that I want to be happy.” But what makes Jeremy Lin happy? He had an excellent first year in Charlotte, being an important contributor on a much-improved Hornets team that exceeded expectations and made the playoffs. The low-key scene in Charlotte seems to suit Lin’s demeanor better that his stops in New York, Houston and Los Angeles have, too. But the basketball is the key. The Hornets organization likes Lin, and head coach Steve Clifford likes him too. But can he achieve there what he might achieve elsewhere?
Lin did offer a clue to his recipe for happiness — and if it’s different than any other player in history that’d be a surprise. Lin wants to start. Sure the NBA gives out a Sixth Man of the Year Award, but Lin and every other player in the league wants to be on the court at tip-off. (Lin finished 7th in Sixth Man of the Year voting 2016.) Problem in Charlotte is that Lin is a point guard. And though he plays some shooting guard too — and has teamed well with Kemba Walker in that role — Lin figures to get most of his time at point guard if he goes to another team. As for staring, it appears that Walker has the starting point guard spot in Charlotte sewn up for the foreseeable future. So if Lin really wants to start, he has to move. But another factor is that Lin would like to start his Asia trips a little later in the summer. After all, the NBA Finals are still being played. Can Charlotte provide that kind of happiness? Deep-run playoff happiness? That’s a factor and it’s unknowable.