Jeremy Lin exited New York Wednesday, leaving many NBA fans surprised at how quickly the team’s most popular player slipped away.
“This is a classic example of Knicks’ mismanagement,” said Mike Kurylo, a New York City resident who has written the Knickerblogger.net blog for the last eight years.
On Tuesday night, Lin became a Houston Rocket after New York Knicks chose not to match a three-year, back-loaded, $25 million offer for the point guard.
“It’s been an unbelievable ride,” Lin said. Just a lot of things I didn’t expect to see happen, in terms of just the way last season went. I still have to kind of remind myself that this is all actually happening, sometimes. But it’s a huge blessing. I can’t believe how it all shaped up, and for me to be here right now. I’m definitely thankful.”
Lin said he expected to be re-signed by New York after he energized the Big Apple last season prior to being sidelined by a knee injury. Just after the Knicks officially declined to match Houston’s offer, Lin was quoted on SI.com as saying, “Honestly, I preferred New York.”
Lin said the question he answered was set in the context of before the start of the free agency period.
During a two-week stretch last season, Lin expanded the franchise’s reach to China, doubled the Knicks’ television ratings, helped end a cable-TV carriage dispute and reinvigorated a struggling team that eventually qualified for the playoffs. It took Lin even less time to go from New York’s starting point guard to playing for the Rockets.
Among the callers to ESPN Radio 98.7 FM/1050 AM in New York, were some who thought Lin didn’t warrant the financial burden his contract would have put on the franchise, host Ryan Ruocco said.
“There’s also a huge faction of louder, more passionate people that cannot believe that the greatest thing they’ve seen on the floor in a Knicks’ uniform in the past 12 years is now gone for nothing,” Ruocco said.
The new Houston point guard averaged 14.6 points and 6.2 assists in 35 games (25 starts) for New York last season. His goal is to improve his statistics annually, but he wouldn’t venture to guess how good they could get.“I don’t know what my ceiling is. I don’t know what my potential is,” he said. “We don’t know what the ending is going to be. But I’m excited to find out.”