On Monday night, Jeremy Lin will return to Madison Square Garden in a visiting uniform.
After spending most of last season with the New York Knicks, the point guard signed a three-year, $25 million dollar contract with the Houston Rockets in the offseason. It was under the bright lights of Manhattan where Lin made a name for himself and shined on an international stage.
Lin was a fan favorite last season, but will look to beat the team that he helped propel into the playoffs, and where he became a basketball icon.
Will the MGS crowd boo or cheer Lin?
The Knicks decision to let Lin go was one of the most controversial NBA moves of the offseason. The point guard signed an offer sheet with Houston that New York was unwilling to match. The Knicks felt the $15 million that he will make in the final year of the deal was too much, with Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith publicly echoing those sentiments.
Many fans were initially upset with the decision. New York essentially hit the lottery with this undrafted free agent. At the height of “Linsanity,” the Knicks were the biggest story in the league, and Lin offered a major spark to a club that needed a return to the postseason.
However, Lin hasn’t been missed much this season. New York has the best record in the East at 18-5, and seems to have made the right move by letting Lin go.
The Knicks signed Jason Kidd, and traded for Raymond Felton to replace Lin. Felton has done an admirable job, and has outperformed a struggling Lin in the 2012-2013 season. Felton was asked if the Garden crowd should give Lin a warm reception.
"They should. By all means, I hope they do," said Felton. "They should give him a standing ovation when he comes back here, without a doubt."
Steve Novak was a big part of the Knicks resurgence during “Linsanity.” As Lin got more playing, so did Novak, who is now a key member of the Knicks bench.
"I think they're going to give him a heck of an ovation. I'd be shocked if it was anything else," said Novak. "Unless everybody changed their mind and hates him, he's one of those guys that people are going to remember for his time here. It wasn't a very long time, but it was special. He played unbelievably well. I think there will be a movie about it one day."
This won’t be the first time Lin is facing his former team. He and the Rockets gave the Knicks their biggest defeat this year. New York lost at Houston 131-103, earlier this season.