In the summer of 2012, the New York Knicks decided to let Jeremy Lin walk and sign with the Houston Rockets. Less than two years later, the organization is reportedly looking to bring Lin back to the Big Apple.
According to ESPN’s Chad Ford, the Knicks are interested in acquiring Lin, ahead of Thursday’s NBA trade deadline. New York is looking to make a big deal, and Lin fits the bill of what they want to add to their roster.
“I think the Knicks are trying and I’m not sure that they have the juice to get it done,” Ford told Bill Simmons on his podcast. "We've heard about them going after a point guard--Kyle Lowry, Jeff Teague. I know another guy they'd love to get their hands on right now, and that's Jeremy Lin. And the question is, would Houston do it? I know the word is no, but maybe, to get out of that contract. Maybe if Iman Shumpert and Tim Hardaway Jr. are in the deal. Maybe.”
New York has been mentioned in rumors surrounding several point guards. Raymond Felton has played very poorly, and the team looks to him as a main source of their struggles. Through 53 games, the Knicks are out of the playoffs and feel they might not reach the postseason without a more reliable option to start at point guard.
The Knicks replaced Lin with Felton in the 2012 offseason. Last year, he helped run an offense that was one of the best in the league. The veteran had the benefit of playing in the backcourt with Jason Kidd and being surrounded with top three-point shooters. Without that at his disposal in 2013-2014, Felton has been one of the worst point guards in the league.
Lin has been much more efficient than Felton this season. He’s scoring three more points per game, while shooting 46.5 percent from the field, compared to Felton’s 40.4 percent. However, that improvement might not be worth what the Knicks would have to give up to get Lin for a second stint in New York. The team has been reluctant to put Hardaway Jr. in any deal, and while they’re open to dealing Shumpert, they could be looking for more in return than Lin.
Houston is reportedly shopping Lin, and the Knicks might be the perfect club to absorb his contract. The 25-year-old is set to earn close to $15 million next season, which makes it hard for the Rockets to send him to a team that is looking to be active in free agency this summer. However, the Knicks won’t be under the salary cap this offseason, but they’ll have very few contracts on the books when Lin’s deal expires in 2015.
He hasn’t been a star with the Rockets, but Lin proved that he can play well in New York. He burst onto the scene in February 2012, playing like an All-Star at the height of “Linsanity”. In his first full month getting consistent playing time, the Harvard grad averaged 20.9 points, 8.4 assists and 2.1 steals per game, on 47.2 field goal shooting. Lin even had success in his short amount of time playing under head coach Mike Woodson. He led the Knicks to a 6-1 record as the starting point guard under the team’s current coach.
The Rockets are exploring moving Lin, but they don’t need to make a trade by Thursday. Houston has won seven in a row and holds the No.3 seed in the Western Conference.