Lin plans on returning to Knicks

Lin spent all postseason — and the last 17 games of the regular season — on the bench with a knee injury.

For a select group of Knicks fans, they got some positive news the day after their team flamed out of the playoffs in the first round for the second straight year.

The namesake of Linsanity — Jeremy Lin — appears to be likely to return next season. Lin is a restricted free agent, but all parties spoke positively about his return during Thursday’s exit meetings.

To a man, the Knicks want Lin back, even with the Steve Nash rumors
floating around. Nash is an unrestricted free agent this summer and will
be a sought-after player. Stoudemire, who had his best years teaming
with Nash in Phoenix, was diplomatic about the rumors.

“What team
wouldn’t want a two-time MVP, an assists leader, a veteran point guard?
But we do have Jeremy Lin here and we have confidence in him and what he
can do for us,” Stoudemire said. “So Steve’s obviously a great friend of mine, but we can’t
overlook the fact that we do have Jeremy Lin, who played great for us
this season.”

Lin noted he’s not in phenomenal shape yet and finally admitted the rumored return this postseason was probably too optimistic.

”I still can’t jump and touch the rim [and] I still can’t defend,” Lin said. ”I’ve yet to play 5-on-5 or even 4-or-4. … I tried to play through my knee pain instead of taking care of it when I should have. That was selfish on my part.”  

Anthony, who reportedly spoke to Lin before Game 5 about choosing health over a quick return, backed Lin as well.

“I have confidence in Jeremy. I’m a believer in Jeremy. I want Jeremy to get healthy, come back full strength and see what happens from there,” Anthony said. “He’s still a part of the team. We want him. We love what he’s done for our team, what he’s done for the organization, what he’s done for the city. We just want him to come back healthy and be ready for next year.”  

The business part of the NBA, however, will rear its head this summer and Lin said he’s prepared for that. He wants to remain with the Knicks, but admitted he has to make the best decision for himself.

“I will remember the New York Knicks. They were the ones that picked me off waivers. … [But] it’s a business. Crazy things happen.”

Interim head coach Mike Woodson said he “absolutely” thinks Lin will return next season.

“Jeremy is a big part of our team. Will he start? Only time will tell but he still has to recover from his knee and use this summer to get better,” Woodson said. “The sky is limitless for him. He’s had some success already and done some nice things for our ballclub, but there’s still room for growth. There’s no doubt in my mind that he’ll get better but he needs reps, like all young players need.”

Follow Knicks beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8 to keep up with the Knicks this offseason.


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