Jeremy Lin has decided to decline his player option, opting him out of the final year of his contract and becoming an unrestricted free agent.
Charlotte G Jeremy Lin will decline $2.2 million player option to explore unrestricted free-agency, league sources inform @clevelanddotcom.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) June 7, 2016
Lin signed with the Hornets last offseason on a very short term, low money deal, in a bet on himself to prove to teams that he was worth more than they were offering. That paid off in spades as Lin had a great season that had many making call backs to his Linsanity days in New York. Once it became apparent that Lin was playing as well as he was it became very obvious to anybody watching the Hornets on a consistent basis that he was going to opt out of his contract. It just made the most sense business wise.
On top of how well Lin played, this offseason there's an expectation for a lot of money to be thrown around. Cap space is going up thanks to new TV revenue, and teams are willing to spend more money than ever on free agents. Lin appears to be hitting the market at the perfect time with the perfect mix of a great season in a market where money is no consequence. Someone is going to pay him a pretty penny.
Now for the question on if he will return to Charlotte or not. It's likely the Hornets want him to come back. He was the perfect sixth man, a steady hand in the backup unit, and a solid secondary ball handler next to Kemba Walker in multiple lineups. He played well in the playoffs, and even won a few games in the regular season. However, with all that on his resume, and the free agency market the way it is, Lin is likely going to be paid starter money. The Hornets will want to keep him, but are they willing to pay that kind of money for a player that they brought off the bench most of the year?
There's also questions on if Lin is willing to continue with his bench role, or if he would prefer to go elsewhere and play heavier minutes. He's made comments on how much he enjoyed being in Charlotte, and loved playing in a locker room with as great of chemistry as there's. However, the NBA is a business and at the end of the day he'll make what he feel is the best decision for himself.