Jeremy Lin will appear in a one-on-one interview with NBA announcer Mike Breen on Thursday night on MSG Networks in New York to revisit his career with the Knicks and everything that’s happened since. The pair will cover everything from Linsanity, to how Lin’s NBA career ended, to his philanthropic work during the crisis in China and California, but what stands out most is how badly Lin wanted to remain in New York when his contract expired in 2012.
The stories have been told about resentment from Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire, as well as how Mike D’Antoni was unable to keep everyone together, but what’s been missed is that Lin himself genuinely felt comfortable in New York and wanted to remain a Knick.
Because Lin was a restricted free agent, the Rockets had to get creative poaching him from the Knicks, so they backloaded their contract offer, giving Lin what is now called a “poison pill” offer in which the contract explodes in years three and four. That effectively meant the Knicks couldn’t afford to keep him, and no other team tried, according to Lin.
“We couldn’t get anything from any other team. And so, I had to go find a contract from somebody,” Lin tells Breen.
When Lin’s agent heard from Houston, Lin asked, “‘can you tell Houston to lower the offer, this is too much. Can you tell someone to lower the offer’, because I wanted to go back to New York and I wanted New York to match.”
In the end, Lin left for Houston and bounced around the league for a half-decade before leaving to China in the summer of 2019.