HOUSTON (WFAN/AP) — Jeremy Lin figured he’d be having this kind of news conference in New York.
Instead he was talking about his new deal with the Houston Rockets on Thursday, on the same practice court where he worked in virtual anonymity seven months ago before being waived.
“The biggest thing that excites me is the fact that I know what this organization is about,” Lin said. “I was in training camp with Coach [Kevin] McHale, and I saw how he operates and what he expects from `the team. To me, that’s something that I believe in as well.”
Lin said that he expected — and even preferred — to be re-signed by the Knicks after he electrified the city last season before being sidelined by a knee injury.
“I’m so thankful to New York and the Knicks for this past year, and the way that the fans rooted for us,” Lin added. “I’m thankful for what they did for me, and now I’m excited and focused on what I can do to help the [Rockets’] organization move forward.”
The point guard said that he wouldn’t have signed the Rockets’ three-year, $25 million offer sheet “if I wasn’t excited about the possibility of playing here as well.” But he did admit that coming into free agency, he didn’t envision playing anywhere but New York in the upcoming season.
“The only thing that I can really promise is that I’m going to give my best effort,” Lin said. “I’m going to try my best to be a great playmaker and a great decision-maker. I’m going to try my best to be a humble leader and to serve my teammates.”
Lin is American-born, but of Chinese and Taiwanese descent, and the number of Chinese media at the press conference was about equal to the American contingent.
“If you don’t win, what difference does it make?” Rockets owner Leslie Alexander said. “If you get him, and he’s not a very good player, you look like a fool. How does that help you in any way?”
There’s an added caveat for Lin and the Rockets this season — the All-Star Game will be played in Houston on Feb. 17. Yao Ming was named to eight All-Star teams, largely on the strength of Chinese fans who voted online.
“It’s great for the city, it’s great for the fans, it’s great for everybody,” Alexander said of getting Lin. “The sponsors, everybody associated with the team.”
Lin averaged 14.6 points and 6.2 assists in 35 games (25 starts) for the Knicks last season. His aim is to improve his statistics every year — and how good they get, not even he would venture to guess.
“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.”
With Lin in place, the roster is still taking shape. Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said that the team plans to sign Bulls center Omer Asik to a three-year, $25 million offer sheet on Friday.
Knicks fans, will you root for Jeremy Lin moving forward, or did his departure leave a bitter taste in your mouth? Sound off with your thoughts and comments below…
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