Jeremy Lin, who signed a US$25 million deal with Houston this week, says he first realized his days in New York were numbered when the Knicks made a surprise move to get guard Raymond Felton.
“When I saw they were talking to Raymond Felton, I was like: ‘Oh, they are probably bringing in another point guard and that probably means they won’t match,’” Lin told US broadcaster ESPN.
The 23-year-old Lin was introduced on Thursday at the team’s practice facility as the newest member of the Rockets — the same team that cut him seven months ago after he played a couple of exhibition games for them.
Houston owner Leslie Alexander took the opportunity on Thursday to say the NBA club blundered by releasing Lin last season.
“I think I made a mistake,” Alexander said. “[Rockets general manager] Daryl Morey said: ‘I’m going to release him’ and I should have done a little more homework.”
Former New York Knicks star Lin was claimed off waivers by Houston after the Knicks refused to match a three-year, US$25 million offer sheet for the point guard on Tuesday.
During Lin’s waiver period, the Knicks chose to go out and sign Felton from Portland.
“Before free agency, I didn’t think there was any chance I was going to any other team and all I wanted to do was go back to New York and play in front of those fans,” Lin said.
“At that time, all I was hearing was you are going to be a Knick,” he said. “It was pretty simple. I only had one contract to sign. I obviously love New York, but I wouldn’t have visited Houston on July 4 if I didn’t think there was something that I was really interested in.”
After the Rockets announced that they had landed Lin, New York fans used social media Web sites — including Lin’s Facebook page — to vent their anger, posting some racist comments.
However, Lin told ESPN he has developed a thick skin over the years.
“I was shocked,” said Lin, who is the first American of Taiwanese descent to play in the NBA. “You have to say something about my mom or my family for me to get really, really upset.”
Lin said he hoped people would look past the US$25 million he will make over the next three years and says he did not move out of greed.