February 12, 2019 | 1:34am
TORONTO — Ex-Nets guard Jeremy Lin — shipped to the Hawks in a series of moves that landed Brooklyn a host of picks — was finalizing a buyout deal in Atlanta.
The oft-injured guard is set to sign with the Raptors, according to ESPN. And while those injuries — hamstrings in 2016-17 and a ruptured patella tendon suffered on opening night last season — ruined Lin’s Nets tenure, coach Kenny Atkinson was happy to see his longtime friend land on a contender.
“Good for him,” Atkinson said before the Nets fell to the Raptors, 127-125 on Monday. “Obviously [facing him] is not great for the Nets, but it’s good for Jeremy and good for the NBA, good for Toronto.
“I’ll never forget that Knicks game [Feb. 14, 2012 against the Raptors during “Linsanity”] when he hit that buzzer-beater and the place just [crazy]. Rarely do you see an NBA arena go crazy like that. It was amazing. He has some history here, and I think the fans will enjoy watching him play.”
Nets fans rarely got to enjoy watching Lin play. He played just 37-of-164 possible games for the Nets after arriving on a three-year, $36 million deal in 2016.
This past summer the Nets shipped Lin’s $12 million salary, a 2025 second-round pick and the right to swap second-rounders in 2023 to Atlanta, getting back a 2020 second-rounder (via Portland) and the rights to Isaia Cordinier.
More importantly, the Nets got cap space to take on Kenneth Faried, Darrell Arthur and first- and second-round picks, flipping Arthur for Jared Dudley and a 2021 second-rounder.
Now, with Toronto guard Fred VanVleet out for three weeks with a thumb injury, Lin, averaging 10.7 points per game, can provide the Raptors much-needed backcourt help.
“Heck of an addition for the Raptors with Fred being out a little bit. What I always said about Jeremy is he’s a heck of a competitor, a much better defender than people think,” Atkinson said. “He fits the style of play [Raptors coach] Nick [Nurse] wants to play. He’s an elite competitor.
“Everyone competes in this league, but there’s a pocket of guys that go above and beyond that. You know he’s going to be prepared. He’s meticulous in his preparation and obviously very smart and versatile. He can play one, two. You saw him guard Dwyane Wade in the playoffs, so he can help defensively. Excellent pickup.”
DeMarre Carroll (left knee soreness) didn’t play against the Raptors. Dudley worked out Monday and is getting close to full practice.
Joe Harris went a career-high 7-of-8 from 3-point range. His 22 points before intermission were also a career-best for any half.
Allen Crabbe followed up his 5-of-9 shooting from deep Friday against the Bulls by going 6-of-10. He’s the first player in Nets history to hit five or more 3s off the bench in consecutive games.