Jeremy Lin deciding to leave New York for Houston was one of the biggest stories of this past NBA offseason. Now, before proceeding, let’s note that the phrase “deciding to leave” only works when applied in the loosest terms imaginable. If we’re being technical about it, the Knicks were the ones who decided to let him leave. That said, if Lin wanted to remain in New York – he had means of getting that end result. He opted not to.
The one big question folks had in the aftermath of that messy divorce was: could anything have changed what happened? Is there anything, outside of New York matching what Houston was willing to pay, that could have made Lin less interested in seeking out the massive deal he ultimately got from the Rockets?
As it turns out: yes.
This week, Lin spoke with the good folks at the New York Daily News and admitted that if Mike D’Antoni had remained the Knicks’ head coach, he might have stayed with the team, too.
“If he was still there, honestly, I would guess I’d have a higher chance of being there,” Lin said after the Rockets’ morning workout today.
“But I think the decision at the end was a management decision and I actually don’t know for whatever exact reasons. But I really enjoyed playing for him. It was kind of the time of my life.”
That response is intriguing. Not because Lin says that he loved playing for D’Antoni – we already knew that. Rather, it’s intriguing because it sort of acknowledges that he could have done more to stay with the Knicks, if he had wanted to. That’s a slightly different narrative than the one that was spun in New York amongst all the angry fans who blamed ownership for not retaining their new favorite player. Sure, at the end Lin says it was an “ownership decision,” but he knows that D’Antoni had zero say towards the end of his stint with the team.
All parties deserve blame for how things ended this summer. Fortunately, it seems to have worked out relatively well for all involved. The Knicks are great this year. Lin got his money. Win-win.
(Kudos New York Daily News)