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Jeremy Lin opts in to his third and final year at $12.5 million

Los Angeles Lakers vs Brooklyn Nets Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

It’s no surprise, but Zach Lowe of ESPN is reporting that Jeremy Lin is opting into his player option for next season.

NetsDaily can confirm Lin’s representatives have filed the necessary paperwork to exercise his option.

The option is part of Lin’s three-year, $36 million deal signed in July 2016. The option year was then seen as a way for Lin to be able to re-open his contract if he had done well in the first two years of his contract.

Of course, injuries have caused Lin to miss the overwhelming majority of his first two years, 46 games due to a hamstring injury last season and all but one game, Opening Night, this season, lost to a ruptured patella. Lin underwent surgery on the knee in mid-October and was declared out for the rest of the season.

Why is Lin opting in now? He could have decided at any point up until June 29 to decide. Since he’s hurt and rehabbing (in suburban Vancouver), there apparently was no reason to delay the decision. Lin was in Brooklyn last weekend, sitting courtside with his teammates for three games.

Lin will be the Nets fourth highest paid player next season at $12.5 million. Unless they’re moved, which is now unlikely, Allen Crabbe will earn $18.5 million and Timofey Mozgov $16 million, and DeMarre Carroll $15.4 million.

In public comments, both Lin and GM Sean Marks have hinted Lin would return next season. A week ago, Brian Lewis asked Lin if he expects to be back for training camp in October. Lin responded, “You talking about training camp? Shoot. If I am not, there’s issues.”

Of course, if Lin had opted out, there is little chance that he would have received anywhere near the $12.5 million Brooklyn owes him, not only because of his health, but because of a tight salary cap. Only a handful of teams are expected to have significant cap space next season.

With Lin opting in, the Nets are expected to have around $15.2 million in cap space, a number that could change with moves around the NBA Draft. However, Lowe notes, “That does not include potential new deals for outgoing free agents Nik Stauskas, Joe Harris, Quincy Acy and Jahlil Okafor.” Lowe described Harris as a “potential core player going forward,” adding that “Brooklyn was not expected to chase star agents this summer regardless.”

Now the question is how the Nets will divide the minutes at the guard position. Lin, D’Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert, all of whom can play the 1 and 2, will all be under contract through next season. Joe Harris, Isaiah Whitehead, and Nik Stauskas are all likely to be free agents.