LOS ANGELES: Jeremy Lin, the point guard whose 2012 heroics for the New York Knicks sparked a brief “Linsanity” phenomenon, was traded by Houston to the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday (Monday in Manila).
Lin became the first Chinese-American to play in the NBA, with a grandmother living in China and his parents from Taiwan, and his star turn in New York led him to sign a three-year deal with Houston for $25 million in 2012.
The Rockets also sent the Lakers a future first-round pick in the NBA Draft and a second-round selection next year in exchange for the rights to Ukraine’s Sergei Lishchuk, a move that will free salary space for Houston to help complete a free agent deal for Trevor Ariza.
Lin, 25, averaged 12.5 points, 4.1 assists and 2.6 rebounds a game for the Rockets last season. In 217 games over four NBA campaigns, Lin has averaged 11.9 points, 4.8 assists and 2.6 rebounds a game.
“This trade allows us to acquire a solid player who will make us a better team, as well as draft picks to improve our team in the future, while at the same time allowing us to maintain financial flexibility,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said.
“In addition to what he will bring us on the court, we think Jeremy will be warmly embraced by our fans and our community.”
The Asian-American standout will join Kobe Bryant in a talented Laker backcourt hoping to revive the form he showed in February of 2012 when he came off the bench for an injury-plagued New York squad and sparked a win streak.
The Harvard graduate became the first player in NBA history to score at least 20 points and contribute seven assists in his first five starts, twice making the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine while being named among Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People with a rags-to-riches tale.
Lishchuk, a 32-year-old forward, played for Valencia of the Spanish league last season. AFP