“It’s been an unbelievable ride,” Lin said. “Just a lot of things I didn’t expect to happen, in terms of just the waay last season went. I still have to kind of remind myself that this is all actually happening, sometimes. But it’s a huge blessing. I can’t believe how it all shaped up, and for me to be here right now. I’m definitely excited and thankful.”
Lin said he expected to be re-signed by the Knicks after he electrified the Big Apple last season before he was sidelined by a knee injury. Shortly after the Knicks officially declined to match, Lin was quoted on SI.com as saying, “Honestly, I preferred New York.”
Lin said the question he answered was set in the context of before the start of the free agency period.
“The question was, ‘Going into free agency, which team did you prefer?’ ” Lin said. “Before July 1, I didn’t even know what teams were interested in me. But all I was hearing was, ‘You’re going back to New York.’ At that time, before free agency started, I preferred New York. By the time it came to the offer sheet, I was just excited about both opportunities.
“Houston and New York,” he said, “I was definitely excited about the possibility to go to both.”
But probably not as excited as the Rockets were to get him back.
Houston has missed the playoffs the past three seasons, and when Linsanity skyrocketed in New York, general manager Daryl Morey was kicking himself for waiving Lin on Christmas Eve. When Lin hit a winning three-pointer in Toronto on Valentine’s Day, team owner Leslie Alexander called Morey to tersely ask him again why Lin was no longer a Rocket.
“People are making a lot of us admit to our mistake,” Morey said. “But the only way to get better is to quickly say, ‘That was a mistake. How can we do better next time?’ ”
At the time Lin was released, the Rockets had Goran Dragic and Kyle Lowry on the roster — two point guards with NBA experience. And who knew what Linsanity would become?
“We had very fair reasons to waive him,” Morey said. “But the reality is, we shouldn’t have.”