With Jeremy Lin set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, the 26-year-old could potentially return to Houston, the franchise with which he inked his last free agent contract, Howard Beck of Bleacher Report writes. Despite having essentially given Lin away to the Lakers this past summer in a trade, the Rockets remain high on Lin and are expected to be among his chief suitors this offseason, Beck notes. The Rockets would be unable to reacquire Lin via a trade this season since he was dealt away less than a year ago by the team.
Houston traded Lin along with its 2015 first and second round draft picks for the rights to Sergei Lishchuk last July. Lin was dealt due to Rockets GM Daryl Morey desperately trying to clear enough cap space to ink Chris Bosh, who was reportedly close to signing a free agent deal with the team. The franchise had also dealt away Omer Asik to the Pelicans for the same reason, but it did manage to net Trevor Ariza in that particular transaction. But Bosh ended up spurning the Rockets to return to Miami, signing a five-year, $118,705,300 contract with the Heat.
The point guard has had a difficult time living up to the hype of “Linsanity,” a brief but notable stretch of games with the Knicks during the 2011/12 campaign that had made him a national sensation. Lin’s time in New York came to an end when the Knicks declined to match the three-year, $25MM offer sheet that Houston signed him to back in 2012, a contract that Knicks star Carmelo Anthony referred to at the time as “ridiculous,” Beck notes.
Lin’s production during his two seasons in Houston was solid, but unspectacular. He averaged 13.4 points during the 2012/13 season, and then notched 12.5 points per game last season. The dip in his numbers was also due to the Rockets’ acquisition of James Harden from the Thunder, and Lin soon found himself coming off of the bench for the bulk of the season, a role that Lin wasn’t necessarily suited to.
“It’s just been a growing experience, more than anything,” Lin told Beck. “Never would I have thought that my career has gone in the trajectory that it’s gone in. When I was younger, it seemed like every year I would get better. It seemed like I would put the work in and then I would see those improvements. And for whatever reason, I felt like, well, I know I put the work in, and I felt like I was getting better. But it didn’t always amount to the results I wanted to see. So that’s definitely frustrating, to see that happen three straight years.”
Things may have turned out differently for Lin had the Lakers retained coach Mike D’Antoni, who resigned before Lin was acquired. Lin had thrived under D’Antoni in New York, but hasn’t had an easy time adapting to coach Byron Scott‘s system in Los Angeles, Beck notes. The Bleacher Report scribe also believes that Lin could still flourish in the league if he were able to play for a more supportive coach and perhaps a system more attuned to his skills.
Lin is averaging 10.5 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 4.6 assists in 25.5 minutes per game in 51 appearances this season. His career averages are 11.6 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 4.8 assists. Lin’s career slash line is .440/.348/.796.