The Nets’ hiring of Kenny Atkinson as coach has led to speculation on whether Jeremy Lin, who worked with Atkinson while he was a Knicks assistant, might be attracted to Brooklyn this summer, when he's likely to out of his $2.2 million player option.
In talking with Andrew Keh of the Times this week, Lin didn't go there, but he didn't say the Akinson connection was meaningless. In fact, he reiterated a lot of what he's said in the past about Atkinson. .
"I’ve kind of been saying it was just a matter of time for him because I know how good he is, I know how much he was there for me in New York," Lin said. "When you’re around him, you kind of understand there’s something different about him: his energy, his passion, the juice he approaches his work with."
Lin added: "He doesn’t leave any stone unturned. He’s always the first one in, and I’m saying first one in by, like, hours."
Lin has said similar things over the years about Atkinson's role in LinSanity which overtook New York in 2011-12 and now might see a resurgence in Brooklyn. As for the next step this summer, Lin demurred, too, when asked about the coming summer, whether he might opt out and what he might seek. He noted it would be disrespectful to the Hornets organization and his teammates to discuss personal business during this postseason run.
The Nets were interested in Lin last summer, offering him a multi-year contract, based on the Mini-MLE, league sources tell NetsDaily. That would have meant a starting salary of $3.4 million, but Lin's team wanted a deal starting at $5+ million. And this year? Don't be surprised if Lin gives the Hornets a discount, said one league source. He's happy in Charlotte.