Woodson: Lin will be back with Knicks

Knicks interim coach Mike Woodson insisted Thursday that Jeremy Lin will "absolutely" be back in New York next year, though not necessarily a lock to start.

Before the Miami Heat ended any chance Lin would return this season, the 24-year-old sensation spoke at Wednesday’s shootaround, saying he loved playing in New York.

However, he was unwilling to speculate about his future as a restricted free agent, saying, "You never know what happens in this business."

Well, Knicks interim coach Mike Woodson does.

"Will he be back? Absolutely," Woodson said Thursday at the team’s practice facility. "Jeremy’s a big part of our team. The future is very bright for him."

Lin, who played in 35 games this season, has been out since March 24 because of a knee injury. He averaged 14.6 points and 6.2 assists in his second year in the league.

"Will he start? Only time will tell," Woodson said. "He’s had some success in our league where he’s played at a high level, and he’s done a lot of nice things for our ballclub.

"There’s still room for growth. He’s still gotta learn the NBA game and what it’s about and playing at a high level."

Lin, who first emerged playing under former coach Mike D’Antoni, played six games under Woodson before suffering the season-ending injury.