LAS VEGAS — One of the most intriguing areas Nets general manager Sean Marks must address before training camp — and a lightning rod for debate by fans on social media — is what to do about the apparent glut of players at point guard.
Most of the speculation centers around Jeremy Lin, who is entering the final year of his contract at $12.5 million after playing just 37 games the past two seasons, including only the opener last season, when he suffered a ruptured patella tendon.
Lin, D’Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie, Caris Le Vert and Isaiah Whitehead can play point guard. They also can play off the ball, but Allen Crabbe and Joe Harris need playing time at two-guard.
Is there a chance Marks will make a move in the preseason to thin the ranks at point guard? “Not necessarily,” he said on Friday at Summer League. “As we’ve seen before, it’s been handy to have a couple of extra point guards.
“There’s absolutely no need for us to rush to do any particular deals to solve the so-called glut at point guard or whether it’s to get a shooting four or whatever it may be. This is just — how do we strategically build this thing and hopefully not affect the long-term?”
Marks said Lin has been cleared for contact and will be 100 percent when training camp starts. Lin backed that up Saturday while speaking to reporters during the Nets’ 90-76 Summer League loss to the Thunder.
“I feel good right now,” he said. “Just still progressing. Yeah, everything is really good, smooth. I’ve been playing, working out every day. I’ll definitely be ready for training camp, all that. There won’t be any issues.”
Lin said he was cleared for contact about six weeks ago and has been playing one-on-one but has yet to take part in any five-on-five contact as a precaution. During the year off, he re-worked his mechanics and still is “not as explosive as I want to be,” which is the reason for a deliberate approach.
“Health-wise, I’m cleared for everything, but again, we’re just going to build up slowly,” Lin said. “Even though I can right now and there’s no issues with it, we have a plan and we want to continue to build slowly.”
The ruptured patella tendon Lin suffered in the opener last season deprived him of the chance to play with Russell, but they have been working out and doing drills together and he’s looking forward to picking up where they left off.
“Definitely,” Lin said. “It’s very similar to multiple teams I’ve been on, having two playmakers. It’s like me and Kemba [Walker] playing together, or in L.A., I played with someone like Ronnie Price or Patrick Beverly in Houston. And I played two in college, so it’s not a big deal for me to slide over or for us to play off each other.
“I actually think it makes us more powerful. It’s hard to stop when you have two dynamic playmakers coming downhill on you constantly.”
Asked on Friday if he expects to start the season with Lin, Marks said, “If you look at the team now, that’s what we’ve got and that’s what we’re planning on. Anything can happen. All I know is Jeremy’s rehab is progressing really well and our expectations are that he will be good to go.”
Lin smiled when asked if he worries about trade rumors or feels the need to ask Marks or coach Kenny Atkinson about his status.
“I know rumors are rumors,” he said. “At the end of the day, if something is real, they’ll come and tell me. We have great communication. I’m texting with Kenny and talking to him all the time.”