Lin to add sting to Hornets

Jeremy Lin, then with the Los Angeles Lakers, demonstrates his training routines during a promotional event as part of his Asia tour in Taipei, Taiwan. He feels that joining the Charlotte Hornets will let him fulfil his potential.
Jeremy Lin, then with the Los Angeles Lakers, demonstrates his training routines during a promotional event as part of his Asia tour in Taipei, Taiwan. He feels that joining the Charlotte Hornets will let him fulfil his potential.PHOTO: REUTERS

Playmaker role in new team designed to create shots for himself, team-mates

CHARLOTTE (United States) • Jeremy Lin, the National Basketball Association's first Chinese-American player, joined the Charlotte Hornets on Monday, saying that the Michael Jordan-owned club would allow him to maximise his potential as a player.

The 26-year-old guard inspired "Linsanity" in 2012 when he came off the bench to spark a win streak by the injury-riddled New York Knicks. However, he admitted now that "New York seems like a decade ago, honestly".

Lin, whose ancestry is from Taiwan and China, spent two seasons with Houston after the Knicks and last season with the Los Angeles Lakers before joining the Hornets last week in a free agent deal.

It is worth US$4.3 million (S$5.8 million) over two years.

"Very excited. Can't wait to get going. I just felt like this is going to be a great fit for me," Lin said.

"What I bring to the table is what I think this team needs."

Lin and Hornets coach Steve Clifford described a versatile, attacking role for Lin, a playmaker spot that would keep him aggressive and create shot opportunities for himself and team-mates.

"I do believe I'm a more refined, all-around player. I think the work I've put in has made me better.

"I just don't think I've had the same fit or opportunity," Lin said.

"I want to see how close I can get to reaching my full potential.

"I think this is a huge step in the right direction.

"I don't know what my limit is. I don't know how good I can be.

"But I want to find out."

While the Hornets went 33-49 last season, Lin and the Lakers were a miserable 21-61.

"Spiritually, it was very challenging, trying to maintain the right attitude every single day," Lin said.

"Going through things like that let me see what I'm made of."

He had the chance to learn from star guards Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash and he did realise "there's another level I need to get to, to be detail-oriented, studying the game".

Lin averaged 11.2 points and 4.6 assists for the Lakers last season.

Over five NBA campaigns, the player has averaged 11.7 points and 4.8 assists a game.

He joins a team who were last in the NBA last season in terms of three-point baskets.

"We're very fortunate to add Jeremy because he's able to hit the three-point shots but also because he's a playmaker," Clifford said.

"He has the ability to create opportunities for his team-mates."

Other NBA free-agent deals were settled on Monday with Memphis re-signing Spanish centre Marc Gasol to a multi-year deal.

He averaged a career-high 17.4 points last season, along with 7.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.62 blocked shots a game.

"For many years, Marc has been a pillar of our franchise and in a Memphis community that has watched him become one of the best basketball players in the world, so this is a great day for our team," Chris Wallace, general manager of the Grizzlies, said.

Reigning NBA champions Golden State Warriors signed 32-year-old Brazilian guard Leandro Barbosa.

The 12-year NBA veteran has compiled career averages of 11.4 points, 2.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists.

The Denver Nuggets signed guard Jameer Nelson to a three-year deal that is worth US$13.5 million.

The Los Angeles Clippers signed guard Austin Rivers, the 22-year-old son of coach Doc Rivers, and centre Cole Aldrich.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 15, 2015, with the headline 'LIN TO ADD STING TO HORNETS'. Print Edition | Subscribe