Lin not outraged by jersey flap, agrees with Harden

Lin not outraged by jersey flap, agrees with Harden
July 24, 2014, 2:30 pm
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Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak introduces Jeremy Lin during a press conference at Toyota Sports Center.

(USA Today Sports Images)

Another day and another former Rockets player had his introductory press conference in a new city. Jeremy Lin was introduced as the newest Los Angeles Laker on Thursday, showing off his new number 17 jersey. Not the number 7 that created a bit of a stir here in Houston just a few weeks ago during the Rockets pursuit of then free agent Carmelo Anthony. When Lin was still a Rocket, the team had mock-ups prominently and publicly displayed of Carmelo Anthony wearing Lin's number 7. At the time, Lin posted his thoughts about that on his twitter account and was asked again about how he felt.

"I think my twitter kind of summed it all up what I wrote there," Lin said. "I definitely didn't lose sleep, I wasn't like outraged or anything. I wasn't really upset. I just felt like maybe they could have maybe kept it internal. Again, it wasn't a big thing to me. I did feel like in some ways it could been handled a little differently."

His opportunity for a 'fresh start' as he put it, comes on the Lakers third attempt to get Lin on the team, according to general manager Mitch Kupchak. Kupchak explained that after Lin performed well in summer league after he went undrafted prior to the 2010-11 season, the Lakers were negotiating with his reps to bring him to Lakers camp and there was guaranteed money involved that was the same being offered by Golden State. Kupchak assumed with Lin's by area roots, he chose Golden State. Then when Lin was waived by the Warriors during the following season, the Lakers put a claim in on him, but the Rockets did as well and due the Houston's lesser record, Lin was awarded to Houston.

Lin said he was eager for a new beginning and is not trying to recreate anything he once was, but rather become a better player and raise his game to a level he hasn't yet reached. 

"When I look back on the past two years, I think I've learned and grown a lot as a person, as a Christian and also as a basketball player," Lin said. "From the minute that I stepped into Houston until now, I'm definitely a much more complete player. I've learned how to do a lot of things that maybe I never had to do before, which was learning how to play off the ball, cutting, really challenging myself with some of the weaknesses that I've tried to improve on.

"Me coming here and the way everything happened," Lin added. "It's just a great opportunity to start over and be a part of a different organization and be a part of a different team and I'm excited for the future.

Former teammate James Harden in talking about Lin's now former Rockets team moving forward, recently said, “Dwight (Howard) and I are the cornerstones of the Rockets. The rest of the guys are role players or pieces that complete our team. We’ve lost some pieces and added some pieces. I think we’ll be fine next season.”

Lin asked how those comments affected him.

"It didn't affect me at all," he said. "I agree with his statements. Those two are the cornerstones. They have lost other players and they're going to get other players and they're going to be a good team. I know who James is as a person and I've spoken to him since I've been traded. He didn't mean it in any derogatory or condescending way, I don't think it's a secret that he and Dwight are the cornerstones of the Houston Rockets."

Lin joins a team with one clear leader, but only one, and one that is not in his prime. That leader, Kobe Bryant, is all-time great, but he will be 36 when he begins his 19th season, and will be coming off a season in which he played in just six games due to a second straight major leg injury. Also, the Lakers do not currently have a head coach, so that leaves the question of how Lin fits in and a possible starting job, a rather difficult thing to discuss presently. Lin referred back to his time in Houston to discuss how he hopes things play out for him with the Lakers.

"I think that if there is anything I've learned from this past year, it's really not that much about who starts," Lin said. "I think it's more about who finishes and how you play with the time that you are given. I obviously believe that I can start for an NBA team and help that team win. As a competitor, I would love to. Starter or not starter, I just have to play the way I'm capable of playing and that's to play my style and my brand of basketball. As long as I do that, I think I'll be fine on any team. I think I'll be able to contribute and make plays and be on the court when it really, really counts." 

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