Jeremy Lin became a sensation while with the Knicks almost four years ago.
Was Linsanity really almost four years ago? Man, time flies quickly, too quickly—fast enough that Jeremy Lin and his former Knicks were unable to create desired contact when the point guard was a free agent over the summer.
Three years after Linsanity left New York and subsequently fizzled in the Western Conference, Jeremy Lin’s agent reached out to the Knicks to gauge their interest in a reunion. The answer, according to Lin, was a conclusive no.
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“There was no conversation other than them telling me they weren’t interested,” the Hornets point guard told the Daily News before sitting out Saturday’s 97-93 preseason victory over the Knicks with an illness.
Lin, who was one of the last remaining quality rotation players on the unrestricted market, eventually signed a two-year deal with the Hornets.
Lin averaged 14.6 points and 6.2 assists per game for the Knicks in 2011-12, but put up 18.5 and 7.7 over the final 26 contests, the time known as Linsanity. He left the Knicks for the Rockets that summer.
Among the reported reasons, besides the obvious financial: James Dolan felt deceived and under-appreciated by the Harvard product. Despite the acrimonious separation, Lin never ruled out a return to the Garden. But the 27-year-old believes those feelings aren’t reciprocated by the Knicks.
“I’ve always been open to it, ever since I, you know, I don’t want to say I necessarily left, ever since (they decided they didn’t want to re-sign me),” Lin said. “But I’ve always been open to it. But I don’t think they’re as open to it.”
As for Dolan, who has never publicly addressed the decision not to re-sign his former undrafted phenomenon, Lin said they barely spoke when he was in New York.
Ever since heading to Houston, rumors have fluttered regarding owner James Dolan’s attitude toward Lin signing that offer sheet. But Dolan let Lin wait five days of free agency without an actual offer. And once the at-the-time restricted free agent signed the offer sheet, worth $25 million over three years, the Knicks had every opportunity to match it. They decided not to do so.
It’s a strange rivalry, one that could only really happen with a team like the Knicks that pledged it would match anything up to a billion dollars on Lin right before letting him walk for $25 million. Plus, that Houston contract ended up being not great, harmful enough to the Rockets that Houston traded him to the Lakers along with two draft picks just to get him off the cap before the final season of his deal.