Breakthrough in New York
During the 2011-12 season, Lin led the Knicks with 6.2 assists, while also adding 14.6 points. But Lin’s value was bigger than just on the stat sheet, as he led the Knicks to a 6-1 record without Carmelo Anthony during the month of February.
During that stretch Lin averaged 24.6 points and 9.7 assists, which is surely what got the Rockets’ attention in the following offseason. But Lin recently revealed that he was initially hoping that he didn’t land on the Rockets, as he simply wanted to stay in New York.
“I remember when Houston gave the offer, I said to [my agent], ‘can you tell Houston to lower the offer, this is too much. I wanted to go back to New York and I wanted New York to match. The time there, with the fans, it was so special. I was like, I need to go back to New York. That’s where my heart is.
So, I call my agent and said ‘hey, find a way to get out of Houston. Give me a less good of a contract so that New York will match it’ and he said, ‘we can’t, this is Houston’s final offer and we’ve been talking to them for a week, two weeks, three weeks, this is it. We’re at the end and this is the only offer that you got, you have to sign it.’
Lin made sure to add that he didn’t mean any disrespect to the city of Houston but that he simply loved his time in the Big Apple, where he had become a fan favorite and the most popular player on the team. It’s hard to fault him for wanting to stay in New York, as he had finally found a system that allowed him to flourish, and he surely had no way of knowing whether his success would continue in Houston.
After all, he had previously been on the Rockets and wasn’t able to make the cut under Kevin McHale‘s system, who was still the coach at the time Lin signed the offer in 2012. On top of that, the Rockets were known to fire away from 3-point range, and Lin wasn’t exactly know as a sniper, as evidenced by him shooting just 32 percent from long-range during his breakout season.
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