The New York Knicks could be reviving Linsanity, with rumors that free agent Jeremy Lin may be making a return to the team that made him famous.
The Charlotte Hornets guard is reportedly planning to use his player option to opt out of his contract this summer, making him a free agent. While Lin told the The Charlotte Observer that he would “love” to stay in Charlotte, he left the door open to a move elsewhere.
“I don’t like moving every year, I don’t like packing and unpacking boxes. So we’ll see,” he said. “But I’m definitely interested in coming back.”
Jeremy Lin shined in his team’s series against the Miami Heat this postseason, scoring 18 and 21 points in Games 3 and 4, but overall his season was a step back. Lin saw his playing time decrease, with Kemba Walker and Courtney Lee taking over as the team’s primary point guards, and Lin now could be looking for a setting where he would have more responsibility.
Enter the New York Knicks. Point guard is one of the team’s biggest needs, and Lin proved during his torrid stretch in February and March of 2012 that he thrives under the big lights of Madison Square Garden.
And maybe even more importantly to the Knicks, Lin has indicated that finding the right setting is more important for him than getting a huge payday.
“My biggest thing is I want to have fun and be happy,” he said. “I’ve been paid on the lower end and had a blast, and I’ve been paid on the higher end and not enjoyed it at all.
“Honestly, money has never been the most important thing. Money is important because it shows how a team values you. But beyond that I don’t care all that much about money. Me coming here (for slightly more than $2 million a season) showed that.”
The New York Knicks could make a strong case for Jeremy Lin, Fansided noted. The team has a strong young core in Kristaps Porzingis, Jerian Grant, and Tony Wroten, and Lin would have familiarity with Knicks star Carmelo Anthony.
Lin’s defense could also be a huge boost to a Knicks team looking to get back into playoff contention. Lin held opponents to 41.7 percent shooting this season, Fansided noted, including holding opponents to 4.3 percent below their averages within six feet of the basket.
But despite the rumors that he could be moving to the New York Knicks, Jeremy Lin has said he would prefer to remain in Charlotte if possible.
“I definitely want to play with these guys and (coach Steve Clifford),” Lin told the Observer. “When you bounce around a lot the way I have, seeing a lot of organizations, there’s a lot about this one that I can appreciate in terms of my experience, that maybe I didn’t have in other situations.”
That may be difficult, however. The Hornets will have other pressing needs, with Al Jefferson, Nicolas Batum, Marvin Williams, and Courtney Lee all set to hit free agency as well. The team will need to prioritize its spending, and with Lin as the second or third option at point guard, he may not be at the top of the list.
The New York Knicks are not the only team rumored to be interested in Jeremy Lin once he does hit free agency. The Chicago Bulls and Brooklyn Nets have also been floated as potential destinations, and the Minnesota Timberwolves would be another option.
[Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images]