Jeremy Lin Returning to Houston? Rockets Coach Mike D’Antoni Praises ‘Linsanity’
Jeremy Lin could become a free agent this summer and is expected to receive offers from several teams after a solid season with the Charlotte Hornets. The Houston Rockets are tipped as one of the possible landing spots for Lin after the squad hired Mike D’Antoni as their head coach.Advertisement
The Rockets signed D’Antoni to a three-year deal worth $15 million, ESPN reported. Shortly after the announcement, Paper City Mag reported D’Antoni could start looking for a new point guard to run his fast-paced offense in Houston, creating speculation the Rockets will pursue Lin.
Lin, who could opt of the second year of his contract with the Hornets, had his breakout season under D’Antoni during the 2011-12 season. The former Harvard University had a string of impressive performances in 2012, as he averaged 23.9 points and 9.2 assists in 11 games, where the Knicks went 9-2.
When asked about the “Linsanity” moment in New York more than four years ago, D’Antoni heaped praises on Lin. The veteran coach said that more than Lin’s explosion on the offensive end of the floor, the California native made impact with his defense.
“With Linsanity we had 11 games, if I’m not mistaken, where we were the No. 1 defensive team in the league,” D’Antoni said in an interview with Sports Talk 790. “Nobody says that.”
But when pressed to talk about the possibility of reuniting with Lin, D’Antoni stayed on the safe side, saying he will keep his cards close to his chest until the free agency period begins in July. “We won’t get into that,” D’Antoni said, avoiding violating the league’s rules on tampering.
Lin, who signed a two-year deal with $4.37 million with Charlotte last summer, helped the Hornets finish with a 48-34 record — the franchise’s best regular-season record since returning to the league in 2004. The 27-year-old averaged 11.7 points on top of 3.2 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 78 games.
Lin has already expressed desire to opt out of his current contract with the Hornets, but clarified that he is not planning to leave Charlotte. He told Charlotte Observer his first year with the Hornets was the most enjoyable season of his six-year career so far.
“This is the most fun I’ve had in my six years,” Lin said. “Being around a great group of guys and a coaching staff that really cares. I’ve learned so much about the game of basketball, particularly at the defensive end.”
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