x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

I wanted to stay in New York, admits NBA sensation Jeremy Lin after landing Houston deal

Lin will play for former side Houston Rockets next season after agreeing a three-year, $25m deal - but admits he would have preferred to remain with the New York Knicks.

Jeremy Lin in New York Knicks colours - he admits his preference was to stay with the side.
Jeremy Lin in New York Knicks colours - he admits his preference was to stay with the side.

Jeremy Lin admits he would have preferred to have stayed with the New York Knicks - despite landing a $25m (Dh91m) deal with former side the Houston Rockets.

The Knicks decided not to match Houston's three-year deal, allowing the restricted free agent the chance to return to the side which had previously cut him.

But while the player is relieved his future is resolved, the 23-year-old admits he would like to have remained at the side with which he made his name last season.

"Honestly, I preferred New York," Lin said in an interview posted on Sports Illustrated's website on Wednesday.

"But my main goal in free agency was to go to a team that had plans for me and wanted me.

"I wanted to have fun playing basketball. ... Now I'm definitely relieved."

Lin emerged into the limelight from NBA obscurity earlier this year called into the team because of injuries to other players, sparking a seven-game winning streak that hauled the Knicks out of a midseason slump.

He thrilled New York fans with his clutch shooting and passing skills and became a global sensation - especially in Asia, as his parents are from Taiwan and he has a grandmother from China.

Although he said he'll "cherish" his experience with the Knicks, he called the Rockets' effort to lure him back "compelling".

"I loved this past year with the Knicks and truly appreciate the opportunity that New York gave me," he said in a statement.

"The way the fans fully embraced me and our team was something I'll always cherish forever. It was an extraordinary and unforgettable time that was easily the best year of my life.

"Now I am excited to be back with the Rockets. They made a very compelling pitch in terms of what I could bring to the team and for the city. I'm excited about contributing to the Rockets winning tradition and competing with my new teammates."

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