Jeremy Lin Confirms He Wanted To Stay With The Knicks
July 18 / Glenn Davis / SportsGrid
After the Knicks officially declined to match the offer sheet he signed with the Houston Rockets, Jeremy Lin let everyone know how "excited and honored" he was to rejoin the team that cut him back in December. It could be that he truly is excited and honored. But based on what Lin himself told Sports Illustrated's Pablo Torre shortly after his return to the Rockets became official, he would have been more excited to stay right where he was. Note: if you are a disgruntled Knicks fan, you might want to turn away now:
"Honestly, I preferred New York."
And he added some more salt in the wound later on:
"I love the New York fans to death. That's the biggest reason why I wanted to return to New York. The way they embraced me, the way they supported us this past season, was better than anything I've ever seen or experienced. I'll go to my grave saying that. What New York did for me was unbelievable. I wanted to play in front of those fans for the rest of my career."
So not only did he captivate the fanbase last season, not only did Lin perform better than his replacement Raymond Felton (granted, small sample size) last year, not only did James Dolan never show anything resembling fiscal responsibility before opting not to bring back the most popular player on the team - the one time reckless spending would have been understandable - but Lin wanted to be there as much as the fans wanted him there. This wasn't an Eric Gordon situation.
The entire SI piece, which includes more details on his season-ending injury and just how little contact he had with the Knicks during the free agency process, is worth reading, but the main takeaway is going to be that Lin wanted to stay. That in itself is not a shock - after all, like he said, he was beloved in New York, not to mention played the best basketball he'd ever played during his Knicks tenure. But the degree of Lin's honesty, having just joined a new team, is surprising - and it's one more reason for those fans Lin loved so much to be miserable.