Seven months after being released by Houston, the Rockets offered Jeremy Lin, a restricted free agent, a three-year $25.1 million deal, a contract that calls for Lin to be paid $14.9 million in the final year of his deal.
Between spending much of his time on the bench and undergoing knee surgery in the beginning of April, Lin only started 25 games, the same amount Houston offered in millions to reacquire him.
After going undrafted in 2010 and making a name for himself in the summer league by squaring off with John Wall, the first overall pick that year, earning a contract from Golden State.
Lin appeared in just 29 games for the Warriors, scoring a season-high 13 points against the Lakers but was cut from the team after the season as Golden State tried to clear cap room to pursue DeAndre Jordan.
The Knicks claimed Lin off waivers to serve as a backup point guard. In late January, Lin was sent down to the Erie Bayhawks of the NBA’s Developmental League for one game.
In his lone appearance in the D-League, Lin recorded a triple-double, scoring 28 points along with 13 assists and 11 rebounds, leading his team to a 122-113 victory.
During the height of his tenure in New York, Lin also submitted his finest performance against the Lakers, scoring a career-high 38 points along with seven assists and two steals, garnering MVP chants from the Madison Square Garden crowd.
In 35 total contests, Lin averaged 14.6 points, 6.2 assists and 1.6 steals per game.
During a 10 game stretch that started and ended against the Nets, Lin poured in at least 20 points while leading New York to nine victories, resurrecting its playoff aspirations and garnering attention beyond the realm of basketball.
Time magazine put him on its cover and named Lin one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
The former Harvard standout became one of the biggest stars in the NBA while sleeping on a couch belonging to teammate Landry Fields.
The 23-year-old was afraid to even rent an apartment out of the fear of being cut from another NBA team.
While Lin may not be staying in Manhattan for the long term, being cut from a team is highly unlikely, at least for the next three seasons.
Jason Kidd was brought in to serve as a mentor for Lin, but it now appears he will never have the opportunity to play with the 6-foot-3 guard.
Reports have surfaced saying the Knicks will not match the deal and allow Lin to depart. New York has responded by agreeing to a deal with the Trail Blazers, sending Jared Jeffries and Dan Gadzuric for Raymond Felton and Kurt Thomas.
Felton spent half a season in New York, earning All-Star consideration before becoming the centerpiece of the package the Nuggets received for Carmelo Anthony.
The addition of Felton doesn’t necessarily mean the end of Lin’s tenure in New York, but teams rarely play three point guards.
Kidd has played at shooting guard previously in his career, and the addition of Felton could be insurance just in case Lin isn’t able to sustain his success over an entire NBA season.
By letting Lin walk, New York may be positioning itself to make a run at Chris Paul as he enters free agency next season. Houston desperately needs a point guard, after letting Phoenix sign Dragic and trading Lowry to Toronto.
While the Knicks still have until 11:59 p.m. ET on Tuesday match Houston’s offer for Lin, New York’s stance of matching any offer for the point guard appears to no longer exist.
Lin was cut twice in two years, but now is clearly a commodity in the NBA.
The Rockets are just hoping he can prove his breakout season wasn’t a fluke, especially as the focal point of their back court.