It's more or less conventional wisdom that the Nets will have a tough time attracting free agents this summer despite having a tidy salary cap stash approaching $30 million.
Jeremy Lin disagrees.
At his exit meeting with the New York media, Lin made a surprising argument when asked about potential difficulties on the free agent horizon.
“I honestly don’t think it’s going to be that hard of a sell,” Lin said matter-of-factly, when asked about free agency. “First of all, it’s Brooklyn, it’s New York.
"Second of all, everyone can tell this culture is completely different. There’s a freshness, a different vibe. I think what we did after the All-Star Break will help, but also, players just want to be treated the right way and I know there’s definitely a lot of interest.”
Lin not only said what he said, but offered it with confidence, noting that players in the league have already begun doing their due diligence when it comes to where they’ll work next season.
And they like what they hear about Brooklyn. It's not second hand either. Lin says many players have asked, their interest piqued by the Net culture and direction, not something commonly an attribute of last place teams.
“Players are asking a lot about us because they saw the way Kenny (Atkinson) coached, saw how hard these guys (us) play night in and night out, how unselfish we played, they want to be a part of that,” said Lin.
“There’s already been a lot of interest…people are asking questions whether it’s to me or Brook or other players – I don’t think it’s going to be as difficult. We’re by nature already involved, immersed and we’ll continue to be involved going forward.
“I’m sure when July comes around – I’ll know what the plans are and I’m sure I’ll be pitching and doing my best.”
Around Brooklyn, as Lin alluded, and there’s a unique, almost odd level of optimism surrounding the organization despite the well-known circumstances, like those missing draft picks. The feeling is that the Nets are (finally) going about team-building in the correct manner, and on that same note, it appears that the right people are in place to run the show, i.e. Sean Marks and Atkinson.
Lin also points out the camaraderie, which was evident all year in Brooklyn, and is here to stay, even in the off-season among the players who don’t have long term security.
“The overall theme is to get better and we should be working out together a lot,” Lin said early Thursday. “We want to build team and we want to build family here. Guys really like each other and it’s not something where you have to force people to do. We’re going to want to work with each other, we’re going to want to hang with each other.”
As far as team improvement, Lin says that the Nets have obvious weaknesses in some areas, but development can come from within as well as from without, and doesn’t necessarily have to come via free agency or trade.
“We need to be better at defending the rim, we need to be better shooters, be better passers, and a lot of that falls on me…but it doesn’t necessarily mean we need to go out and get all these different things,” he said.
“Will we be going to try to improve the roster? Yeah I’m sure that’s what every single team is doing, but I think we understand that it can come from within, we can create that ourselves. If you work at it, you can get a lot better at these things.”
A number of Nets — especially the younger ones — expressed the same feelings but none more dramatically, more drastically than Archie Goodwin, the young point guard who made impression late in the season.
In an Instagram post, Goodwin thanked the Nets organization for giving him a chance, then announced he was going full hoops hermit.
“This summer is going to be huge for me and us.,” he wrote. “I have a lot of work to do so starting today I'm shutting off my phones and social media until the start of next season. I'm locked in and ready to prove to everybody that doubted me that y'all made a huge mistake.”
- Jeremy Lin: Free agents already showing ‘a lot of interest’ in Nets - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Improving Nets have found some selling points for free agents - Greg Logan - Newsday
- Brook Lopez to help recruit free agents, shrugs off trade talk - Ryan Patrick - International Business Times