TORONTO – The buyout market can be a useful tool for playoff teams to add supplementary talent and fortify their rotations heading into the stretch run, but players fresh off the waiver wire rarely move the needle or cause a stir.
However, Jeremy Lin has always been a unique case.
The veteran point guard is finalizing a contract buyout with the Atlanta Hawks and intends to sign with the Toronto Raptors later this week, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Monday afternoon.
For the Raptors, the timing couldn’t be better. Hours later, the team announced that backup point guard Fred VanVleet would miss at least three weeks with a partial ligament injury to his left thumb. With third guard Delon Wright sent to Memphis in the trade that landed them Marc Gasol last week, Lin will play a crucial role in Toronto’s rotation right out of the gate.
Minutes after Woj’s report, Lin was the No. 1 trending topic in Canada, with ‘Linsanity’ just behind. For most sports fans, even many non-sports fans, those two still go hand-in-hand. After all, Linsanity, at its peak, was more than just a sports story. For a few months in 2012 – a strange but magical few months – the Taiwanese-American turned into a global phenomenon.
Lin was undrafted out of Harvard and was waived by two NBA teams before ending up in New York, where he was sleeping on his brother’s couch before breaking into the Knicks rotation and becoming an overnight sensation.
The Knicks were depleted at the point guard position and, as a result and seemingly out of nowhere, Lin got his opportunity and made the most of it. He scored 20 or more points in his first six games playing big minutes. The sixth came in Toronto, where Linsanity reached a fever pitch.
It was Valentine’s Day, seven years ago this coming Thursday. The arena formerly known as Air Canada Centre was full and the atmosphere electric. There were signs and chants. Lin was cheered every time he touched the ball. Few visiting players have ever gotten that kind of reception from the Toronto fans. Only Kobe Bryant and a bunch of former Raptors come to mind. This was special.
Lin scored 27 points that day and, of course, he hit the game winning three-pointer with less than a second remaining. The crowd erupted.
Because of the overwhelming and almost unprecedented media demand after the game, the Raptors set up a podium specifically for Lin. Over the last eight years they’ve only done that three times during the regular season. Once for Chris Bosh when he made his first return with the Miami Heat’s Big 3 in 2010, once for Bryant after his last game in Toronto in 2015, and then for Lin. (They’re planning to do it for DeMar DeRozan’s highly anticipated return later this month as well).
It wasn’t just what he was doing, it was how he was doing it and where he was doing it. Lin, 23 at the time, was an electric player – aggressive and fearless. …read more
Source:: Daily times