Jeremy Lin had the opportunity to exact revenge on his former team, the Los Angeles Lakers, when the Showtime franchise visited the Charlotte Hornets’ home floor on December 28, but it was far from his mind.
Apparently, despite the rather not-so-welcome treatment he got while playing for the Lakers last year, the 27-year-old Harvard graduate has no hard feelings with his former team.
As a professional basketball player, he knows that his entry into the Lakers last year was part of the effort of his former team, the Houston Rockets, to make a salary dump because of his rather hefty $25 million three-year contract.
With his trade to the Lakers, the Showtime franchise actually absorbed his $14.9 million salary on the last year of his three-year contract, which was too much for his caliber as he came out as the second-highest paid player in a Lakers uniform last year next only to Kobe Bryant.
The Houston Rockets even added its first-round draft pick to the deal which the Lakers used during this year’s draft in picking Larry Nance Jr.
Can’t seem to fit in
Although an excellent role player, Lakers head coach Byron Scott had something else in mind for Jeremy Lin so when the latter did not live up to it, Scott relegated him from a starter to a bench player. There was even a game last year when he was benched by Scott just to drive a point to Lin.
Accordingly, Scott does not like the way Jeremy Lin played defense and that he is not aggressive enough on offense. It was actually the same perception that Kobe Bryant said of Lin.
All throughout his one-year stint with the Lakers, Lin was not able to find himself a perfect fit for the team so it no longer came as a surprise that at the end of the regular season, he became a free agent.
While he got about six offers from different teams, Jeremy chose to play with the Charlotte Hornets and signed up for a two-year contract worth $4.4 million, which really pales in comparison with his previous contract with the Rockets and the Lakers.
With the burden of a big-money contract off his back, Jeremy Lin has found his spot in the system of head coach Michael Clifford of the Charlotte Hornets, coming off the bench, and occasionally as a starter too.
Smiling more often
Unlike last year when he seems quite problematic about the direction of his NBA career, Jeremy Lin appears to be enjoying his renewed confidence playing for the Hornets.
In a recent interview, he said that people have been noticing that he has been smiling quite often on the court these days and he said that it is because he is having fun out there playing, notes the Los Angeles Times.
His statistics is also speaking for themselves, averaging 11.8 points per game and 3.2 assists per contest.
What he likes most about his playing for the Hornets is that their team is in the playoff hunt. He said that it is good to be back on the winning side of things.
Jeremy Lin said that he wants to keep growing as a player and he has learned a lot already while playing for the Hornets under Coach Steve Clifford, saying that he has learned defense under the bench tactician, whom he also describes as really good.
During the game between the Lakers and the Hornets at the Time Warner Cable Arena in North Carolina on December 28, Kobe Bryant got the standing ovation before the game because he will be playing for one last time on the Hornets’ home floor.
But come game time, it was the Hornets who ran the Lakers to the ground. Jeremy Lin came off the bench to contribute 13 points and four assists as the Hornets edged the Lakers 108-98.
The victory pushed the Hornets’ win-loss slate to 17-13 and good for the 9th spot in the Eastern Conference while the loss sent the Lakers to a woeful 5-27 win-loss card, good for the last spot in the Western Conference.
Apparently, things have changed for the Lakers and Lin and the American-Taiwanese player seems to be having the last laugh at this point.