Jeremy Lin had the most memorable run of his NBA career with the New York Knicks during the 2011-12 season; a time fondly dubbed 'Linsanity.' Though Lin was able to attain some solid success elsewhere as he remained in the league through 2019, he could never quite recreate the magic that he captured in New York. As it turns out, Lin, who signed with the Houston Rockets in free agency in 2012, never actually wanted to leave New York in the first place.
During a recent interview on MSG Network, Lin revealed that he asked his agent to ask the Rockets to lower their offer sheet for Lin, who was a restricted free agent at the time, so that the Knicks would match the offer, and he could stay in New York.
"And I remember when Houston gave the offer, I promise you, I had just finished a workout and got into my car and got the phone call from my agent and I said to him, 'can you tell Houston to lower the offer, this is too much," Lin said in the interview, via Yahoo. "Can you tell someone to lower the offer', because I wanted to go back to New York and I wanted New York to match. The time there, with the fans, everything. It was so special. I was like, I need to go back to New York. That's where my heart is.
"So, I call my agent and said 'hey, find a way to get out of Houston. Give me a less good of a contract so that New York will match it' and he said, 'we can't, this is Houston's final offer and we've been talking to them for a week, two weeks, three weeks, this is it. We're at the end and this is the only offer that you got, you have to sign it.' So I remember signing it, and again, this is no disrespect to Houston. At that time, I didn't know anything about the organization or the city. I just knew New York. So, I actually was trying really hard. I was like, man, we have to find a way to make this contract, like bring down the money, bring down the years, whatever we need to do, make it easier."
Unfortunately for Lin, he didn't get his wish, as the Knicks ultimately didn't match Houston's offer, which was backloaded specifically to make it difficult for the Knicks to match. In all, Lin played just 35 games for the Knicks, and during the same interview with MSG, he revealed that the biggest regret of his career was not fully appreciating his time in New York as it occurred.
"My biggest regret is that I didn't soak in every second of that experience," Lin said. "That's my biggest regret. My biggest regret is that I was too immature and young to really learn how to not take that for granted. I was so set on the next season and rehabbing from my injury and what I wanted to happen next that I couldn't stay in the moment and just appreciate that, and appreciate New York for who New York was and what New York did for me, who all those fans were, and what that meant. It was so special."
Lin's run with the Knicks was extremely memorable, and while he played some good ball at his other stops, he was clearly the most comfortable on the court during his stint in New York. Thus it's fair for him -- and fans -- to wonder what might have been if he had remained a Knick for more than a single season.