Jeremy Lin was set to visit the Houston Rockets yesterday, two people with knowledge of the plans said, and the New York Knicks restricted free agent was expected to get a contract offer.
The Rockets passed on Lin in December and he was claimed by the Knicks, turning into a breakout star when he landed the starting point guard job. Now with Goran Dragic not expected to return, Houston may want Lin back.
One of the people said on Tuesday that the Rockets are planning to make Lin a multi-year offer, though the Knicks can match it and have said they intend to keep him. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the negotiations were to remain private.
The Rockets liked Lin, but had Kyle Lowry and Dragic ahead of him and needed to open a spot so they could add Samuel Dalembert to the roster. So they waived Lin, a decision general manager Daryl Morey would later write on Twitter that he regretted during Lin’s sensational February stretch that made him the biggest story in the NBA.
The undrafted guard from Harvard, the NBA’s first American-born player of Taiwanese decent, would fit nicely with the Rockets, who remain popular in Asia even after former center Yao Ming’s retirement.
However, both coach Mike Woodson and general manager Glen Grunwald have said the Knicks plan to keep Lin, who averaged 14.6 points and 6.2 assists in 35 games, 25 starts, before his season ended because of surgery to repair torn knee cartilage.
The Knicks may have to match two offers to keep their starting back-court intact. Landry Fields plans to sign an offer sheet with the Toronto Raptors that his agency said is worth about US$20 million over three years.
The Knicks are looking for veteran point guard help, hoping to land Steve Nash, but they do not want to lose Lin, whose popularity made them fans around the world and had merchandise flying off the shelves at Madison Square Garden in New York.
They scored their highest TV ratings in years during the height of “Linsanity.”
Deals cannot be signed until July 11. The Knicks would then have three days to match.