Houston Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin says he very well might have signed a new contract with the New York Knicks if Mike D’Antoni — the new head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers — was still running the team in Madison Square Garden.
D’Antoni makes his Lakers coaching debut against Lin and the Rockets tonight at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
The New York Post reported on Lin’s pro-D’Antoni comments:
“If he was still there, honestly, I would guess I’d have a higher chance of being there. But I think the decision at the end was a management decision and I actually don’t know for whatever exact reasons. But I really enjoyed playing for him. It was kind of the time of my life.”
Lin added that he has kept in touch with D’Antoni since they went their separate NBA ways and texts him regularly. As far as his new team is concerned, Lin also said that “I’m enjoying it and I’m glad I’m (with Houston).”
Jeremy Lin left for Houston after the Knicks declined to match the free-agent contract offer he received from the Rockets. Under the Rockets’ deal, Jeremy Lin is set to earn $5 million in the first year, $5.225 million in the second, and $14.8 million in the third.
“Linsanity” electrified the professional basketball world in February 2012 when D’Antoni inserted Lin into the Knicks starting lineup. Lin thrived under D’Antoni’s pick-and-roll system in the Big Apple, but D’Antoni quit the team in March and was replaced by assistant coach (now head coach) Mike Woodson. Later that month, Lin had knee surgery and missed the rest of the season.
In 36 games with the Knicks (including 25 starts), Lin averaged 14.6 points and 6.2 assists per game. At this early point in the 2012-203 season, he is averaging 10.9 pints and 6.7 assists per game.