If you were to make a case for Jeremy Lin as one of the most beloved Knicks players ever, the stat you’re looking for is games played. Linsanity is still one of the best basketball moments the Knicks and New York had in a long time, and it lasted for less than half a season. Jeremy Lin became a Knicks icon in 35 games.
22 games into the ’11/’12 season, Jeremy Lin played in 9 games averaging 3.5 points per game. The last game in that part of the season was on April 2nd in Boston; Lin played 6:36 and scored 2 points. Two days later, on April 4th, he played almost 36 minutes and put up a 25/5/7 – Linsanity was starting. In the next 25 games, Lin played over 36 minutes per game and averaged 18.5 points and 7.6 assists. His best game was against the Lakers when he posted a ridiculous 38/4/7 and added 2 steals in 38 minutes on the floor. After feeling soreness in his knee, it was determined Lin had a meniscus tear, and knee surgery ended his regular season.
Lin was a restricted free agent, and the Knicks told him to go out and get a few offers. Few in New York doubted the Knickerbockers would match the offer. But, people around the Knicks still doubted his game and considered him a bench player. Add to the fact that Linsanity happened under Mike D’antoni, who was fired and replaced by Mike Woodson, who’s a style suited Carmelo more than Lin. (D’Antoni would later reveal, and Stoudemire confirm, that not everyone in the locker room enjoyed Linsanity.)
The Rockets offered a $28.8 million contract over four years with the fourth year of that deal being team option, which put the real commitment at $19.5 million for three years. Coach Woodson said the Knicks would match Houston’s offer and that Lin would be his starting point guard. The Rockets then offered a revised three-year, $25 million deal, which Carmelo called “ridiculous.” It would make Lin the fourth highest-paid player on the team. The Knicks did not match and went with Raymond Felton instead. One of the reasons that happened was the “poison pill” the Rockets put in their final offer. The first two years of Houston’s offer paid $5 million and $5.225 million, followed by $14.8 million in the third year. Lin was so eager to stay in New York; he asked his agent to bring the offer down.
“I got the phone call from my agent, and I said to him, ‘Can you tell Houston to lower the offer? This is too much.‘ I wanted to go back to New York, and I wanted New York to match.”Jeremy Lin, via One On One
Lin’s agent, as you might expect, wasn’t thrilled with the idea and told Lin this was the offer. They had been negotiating for weeks, it was this or no deal. He signed the offer and became a Rocket. Players taking a discount isn’t unheard of in the NBA. It can be to play in a city they like, to be close to family or to increase the chances of winning a ring.
But a restricted free agent, who barely made any money in his career, asking his agent to lower the offer??? Jeremy Lin really loves New York, and stories like these will cement his place in the hearts of Knicks fans all around the world.