Taiwanese-American NBA star Jeremy Lin (林書豪) has been traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, ESPN reported on Friday.
The Houston Rockets have traded the guard and a first-round pick to the Lakers, the US-based global cable and satellite television channel quoted an NBA source as saying.
Rumors about Lin leaving Houston had increased in recent weeks as his contract with the Rockets was set to enter its third and final year.
The Lakers were amenable to the deal partly because Lin, 25, is only under contract for one more season, thus preserving their salary cap space next summer, the ESPN report said.
In July 2012, Lin signed a three-year deal with the Rockets worth just over US$25 million — US$5 million in the first year, US$5.225 million in the second and US$14.8 million in the third, which covers the 2014-2015 NBA season.
Taiwanese sports analyst Li Yun-hsiang (李雲翔) said yesterday that Lin joining the Lakers would likely give him more playing time than with the Rockets.
It is likely that the 25-year-old will be placed on the Lakers’ starting roster, given that Steve Nash, 40, is getting old and struggling with injuries, Li said.
He said Lin’s production with the Rockets was low mainly due to head coach Kevin McHale’s decision to limit Lin’s court time.
“Jeremy Lin’s performance has not been bad. He just needs more playing time,” Li said.
Meanwhile, news of Lin’s transfer to the Lakers sparked heated discussion among Taiwanese netizens, with many appearing happy to hear about his departure from the Rockets.
Many fans posted on the Professional Technology Temple (PTT) site, the nation’s largest electronic bulletin board, that they were “popping the champagne,” while “congratulating Lin on escaping from the fiery pit.”
Others said they were so excited about the news that they could not sleep.
Many said they disagreed with the Rockets’ decision to limit Lin’s court time and make him a backup point guard, adding that they hoped to see a more active role for Lin with the Los Angeles-based team.
As Lin has to return to the US to sign with his new team, Lin’s plans to visit Shanghai yesterday were canceled.
Lin arrived in Beijing on Monday for promotional events with Adidas and was expected to make stops in Shanghai, Wuhan and Guangzhou.
Adidas said Lin would make the trip to Shanghai after he signed the deal with the Lakers, as regulations demanded his signature on the documents finalizing the deal within 48 hours.
The public relations company handling Lin’s Shanghai trip said the player would resume his trip tomorrow.
Due to the schedule reshuffle, Lin’s planned trip to Taiwan has been pushed back by one day. He is scheduled to arrive on Thursday.