Linsanity has returned to New York City, as the Brooklyn Nets have signed point guard Jeremy Lin.
On the first day of free agency, Lin agreed to a three-year, $36 million deal with the Nets, and made the news official when he posted a picture of himself on Twitter in a Nets uniform (seen above) on Friday morning with the this message: “The journey continues…thankful for the next chapter!! #Godisgood”
For the Nets, this is a good move, as they now have a big star they can build the team around.
There definitely is an excitement that Thaddeus Young, who was traded to Indiana for the 20th pick in the draft last week, and Jarrett Jack, who was waived on Thursday, could not provide.
Even if the Nets don’t win much this season, there will be interest in how Lin performs and how he runs the fast-paced offense that general manager Sean Marks and new head coach Kenny Atkinson want to institute.
Lin will also help groom the hometown kid Isaiah Whitehead, who plays point guard primarily, but like Lin could shift over to shooting guard.
Whitehead, a Coney Island native who played at Lincoln High School, and then two years at Seton Hall, is one of the younger players that could build the foundation for years to come.
When Marks hired Atkinson, thoughts immediately turned to Lin, who would be a free agent after one year with the Charlotte Hornets.
Atkinson was an assistant coach on Mike D’Antoni’s staff with the Knicks and helped Lin grow as a player, one they could turn to when they needed a point guard in the 2011-12 season.
The global phenomenon that turned into Linsantiy brought the Knicks an excitement that they needed and made them a must-watch.
It all began when Lin torched the then-New Jersey Nets on February 4, 2012 and built from there.
Naturally, Lin couldn’t keep it up and flamed out as the season went on, and the Knicks went quietly in the first round to the Miami Heat.
The Knicks did not re-sign Lin, and he went to Houston on a three-year, $25 million contract. This was more than the Knicks offered Lin and they were angry at how the negotiations went.
It did not work out for Lin with Houston in the two years he spent there, and Lin went to the Lakers for a season.
Lin signed a two-year, $4.3 million contract with Charlotte last July, and he rewarded their faith in him with a big season.
Lin played in 78 games, 13 of which were starts, last season, and averaged 11.7 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 3.0 assists in 26 minutes per game.
The Hornets were one of the biggest surprises in the NBA this past season, as they won 48 games.
Because he did so well in Charlotte, Lin triggered the early-termination option in the contract to explore free agency and get a more lucrative package.
This could work out well for Lin and the Nets, as he played some of the best basketball of his career with Atkinson.
There also is the influence of the San Antonio Spurs, as Marks comes from that organization, and Atkinson coached under Mike Budenholzer, who is also a Gregg Popovich disciple.
Atlanta ran a very fast, explosive, entertaining offense, and the Nets know what well from what the Hawks did to them in the 2014 playoffs.
The only carry-over from New Jersey and the Billy King era, mainly due to his contract and the fact that he is a prolific scorer, is Nets lifer Brook Lopez.
It is going to be very interesting to see if Marks trades Lopez and makes it clear this is completely a new era, and they can move forward with Lin and their young stars like Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Chris McCullough, Sean Kilpatrick, and Whitehead.
The Lin signing will not make the Nets an immediate winner, unless they find a way to bring in a certain player from Oklahoma City (Kevin Durant, I believe) or Al Horford.
The biggest thing for the Nets this season is to show that Atkinson’s system can work, that Lin can operate the offense, and their young players keep improving.
Unlike the quick fixes that the Nets have specialized in, Marks is being very deliberate in how he build this team. Marks is putting together a team that can be together for the long haul and that Brooklyn can get behind.
Linsanity is back in New York City, and even if it doesn’t travel around the globe again, the Nets will be glad they have a quality player to take them to new (Brooklyn) heights.