The 26-year-old guard inspired “Linsanity” in 2012 when he came off the bench to spark a win streak by the injury-riddled New York Knicks, but admitted that “New York seems like a decade ago, honestly.”
Lin, whose ancestry is from Taiwan and China, spent two seasons with Houston after the Knicks and last season with the Los Angeles Lakers before joining the Hornets last week in a free agent deal worth $4.3 million over two years.
“Very excited. Can’t wait to get going. I just felt like this is going to be a great fit for me.” Lin said. “What I bring to the table is what i think this team needs.”
Lin and Hornets coach Steve Clifford described a versatile, attacking role for Lin, a playmaker spot that would keep him aggressive and creating shot opportunities for himself and teammates.
“I do believe I’m a more refined, all-around player. I think the work Ive put in has made me better. I just don’t think I’ve had the same fit or opportunity,” Lin said.
“I want to see how close I can get to reaching my full potential. It takes a lot of work on my end and also finding the right situation. I think this is a huge step in the right direction.
“I don’t know what my limit is. I don’t know how good I can be. But I want to find out.”
While the Hornets went 33-49 last season, Lin and the Lakers were a miserable 21-61.
“Spiritually it was very challenging, trying to maintain the right attitude every single day,” Lin said. “Going through things like that let me see what I’m made of.”
Lin had the chance to learn from star guards Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash and he did realize “there’s another level I need to get to, to be detail oriented, studying the game.”
Lin averaged 11.2 points and 4.6 assists for the Lakers last season and over five NBA campaigns has averaged 11.7 points and 4.8 assists a game. He joins a team that was last in the NBA last season in 3-point baskets.
“We’re very fortunate to add Jeremy, because he’s able to hit the 3-point shots but also because he’s a playmaker,” Clifford said. “He has the ability to create opportunities for his teammates.”
– Gasol, Barbosa ink new deals –
Other NBA free agent deals were settled Monday with Memphis re-signing Spanish center Marc Gasol to a multi-year deal after he averaged a career-high 17.4 points last season along with 7.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.62 blocked shots a game.
“For many years, Marc has been a pillar of our franchise and in a Memphis community that has watched him become one of the best basketballplayers in the world, so this is a great day for our team,” Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace said.
Reigning NBA champion Golden State signed 32-year-old Brazilian guard Leandro Barbosa, a 12-year NBA veteran with career averages of 11.4 points, 2.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists.
Denver signed guard Jameer Nelson to a three-year deal worth $13.5 million while the Los Angeles Clippers signed guard Austin Rivers, the 22-year-old son of coach Doc Rivers, and center Cole Aldrich. – Agence France-Presse