1. Lin makes his return to Brooklyn
It’s been nearly seven years since Linsanity, when a young undrafted free agent point guard named Jeremy Lin burst into the national spotlight with a 10-game stretch for the New York Knicks in February 2012.
Lin, then 23, emerged from the end of the Knicks’ bench — where he had been since signing with the team after being waived by the Houston Rockets — to average nearly 25 points and more than nine assists per game while leading New York to eight wins in 10 games while their star, Carmelo Anthony, was out with an injury.
Since then, Len has settled into a very solid career as a fringe starter/backup point guard. Now 30, Lin is mentoring rookie Trae Young with the Atlanta Hawks after the Brooklyn Nets traded him with a 2025 second-round pick for the rights to Isaia Cordinier and a top-55 protected 2020 2nd-round selection from the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Hawks also have swap rights with the Nets for their 2023 second-round pick.
Lin signed with Brooklyn as a free agent in July 2016, but rather than bringing Linsanity back to New York, his two seasons with the Nets were mostly spent Linjured.
Lin missed 46 games in 2016-17 with a hamstring problem and then ruptured his patella tendon on opening night last season, ending his 2017-18 campaign after just 25 minutes.
He returned to the Hawks in Wednesday’s loss to the Boston Celtics in Boston, scoring eight points with four assists in 17 minutes after missing two games with a lower back strain. That came just two games after he returned from missing two contests with a sprained left ankle.
Lin has been effective in limited minutes in Atlanta, averaging 10.8 points, 2.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 18.4 minutes a game while shooting a career-highs of 50.6 percent overall and 41.8 percent from 3-point range.
He can still be explosive, as evidenced by a 26-point performance on just 13 shots in a Nov. 21 loss to the Toronto Raptors.
And he returns to Brooklyn for the first time since making comments before the Hawks played the Knicks in their season opener than he had some dissatisfaction over his exit from Brooklyn, telling Laura Albanese of Newsday:
The trade also outraged Lin’s rabid and vocal fan base, even as the logic behind the deal made sense on a rational level.
The Nets were overstocked at the point guard position with D’Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie and Lin. With Lin coming back from a major injury and Brooklyn in a rebuild, it made more sense to trade the 30-year-old with the expiring contract than to move on from two younger players.
If Lin comes back to Barclays Center with some sort of perceived grudge, he is still capable of re-igniting Linsanity, at least now and again.