By Ron Leyba
Ever since “Lin-sanity” has fizzled out in much the same way as “Tebow Time”, Jeremy Lin has found his career jetsetted all over the map. It’s unfair to ask anybody beside Lebron James and the NBA’s other elite to keep up the quality of play that Lin showed upon his first major playing opportunity in the NBA where he led a bad Knicks team to seven straight wins marked by repeated career highs in scoring, double-digit assists, and game winning shots. Either way Lin found himself in Houston where he had minimal success and finally back home in L.A where he hopes to find some of the magic to put the Lakers back on the NBA map.
Lin’s Career Thus Far
Lin became a household name in 2012, breaking into the NBA roundtable in the most famous arena of them all, the Madison Square Garden. Lin set the record for most total points by a player in his third, fourth, then fifth start while helping to momentarily turn around the Knicks season. Prior to that debut Lin was an NBA castaway, spending a brief stint with Golden State followed by trips to the D-League and China. Either way that sparkle eventually fizzled and New York encouraged Lin to seek other offers when his contract expired at the end of that same year.
Lin’s consistent play if anything made him set for life. Houston came calling with a 3-year $25 million dollar deal which many thought the Knicks would match but inevitably did not. Lin’s 2-years in Houston were fairly up and down, with poor shooting nights being the norm only to have a 9 3-pointer game or a triple double thrown in the mix. When Houston brought along James Harden and then Dwight Howard, “Linsanity” was much of an afterthought and he became mainly a bench player.
The Lakers Era
In the 2014 offseason Houston was trying to be big movers and shakers, trying as they might to land either Carmelo Anthony or Chris Bosh to finally jump over the Western Conference hurdle. Part of freeing up salary space for either one of the two stars involved jettisoning some highly-paid crowd favorites including Omer Asik and of course Jeremy Lin. All the Lakers did was basically take on Lin so that Houston could free his cap space, getting Lin and a first round pick while giving up “cash considerations” while the Rockets eventually whiffed on both Anthony and Bosh.
Many consider Lin’s time in Los Angeles to be a short one. He’s due $15 million in the last year of his deal with only $8 million that counts against the salary cap, making him trade bait during the season for a team in contention. Either way Lin can use the opportunity as a tryout, especially with a relatively weak Lakers roster. If by some miracle Kobe Bryant returns to form, Steve Nash stays healthy, and the Lakers struck gold with first round pick Julius Randle, any contribution Lin can give to an unexpected playoff push will provide the perfect balance of “Showtime” and “Linsanity”.