Complete Timeline of Jeremy Lin's Wild Ride from New York to Houston

Dan Favale@@danfavaleFeatured ColumnistDecember 17, 2012

Complete Timeline of Jeremy Lin's Wild Ride from New York to Houston

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    Jeremy Lin has been through a lot in the last year.

    An afterthought heading into last season, Lin found a home and subsequent stardom with the New York Knicks. Now, he finds himself still in the spotlight, only with the Houston Rockets.

    But how did he get from New York to Houston? How did he go from the Big Apple's savior to a tumultuous starter alongside James Harden? How in the world did any of this happen?

    Simply classifying the last 10 or so months as a wild ride would be a gross understatement, and it wouldn't do this past year's events any justice.

    Exploring how Lin got where he is today does.

    All stats in this article are accurate as of December 17, 2012.

December 27, 2011: Knicks Sign Lin

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    After being waived by the—you guessed it—Rockets, Lin was picked up by the Knicks merely days after the lockout-truncated season began.

    New York only latched on to the then relatively unknown Lin in hopes of simply adding some depth at point guard.

    Baron Davis was still rehabilitating a herniated disk, Iman Shumpert had gone down for the first time, Mike Bibby was old and Toney Douglas wasn't a true facilitator.

    Despite the Knicks' decimated backcourt, though, Lin wasn't supposed to receive any playing time. He was wildly unproven and had been cut by multiple teams in a span of months. Surely he had nothing of serious value to bring to the Knicks.

    Or did he?

February 4, 2012: There's Something There

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    Prior to New York's bout against the then New Jersey Nets in February of 2012, Lin had appeared in just nine games.

    In those nine games, Lin played more than 10 minutes just once, a contest in which he logged 20 minutes against Houston (I swear I'm not making that up).

    After losing 11 of their last 13 games, however, the Knicks and Mike D'Antoni were looking to shake things up against the Nets.

    And shake things up Lin did. He played 36 minutes, dropped 25 points and dished out seven assists on 52.6 percent shooting from the field. Oh, and the Knicks won as well.

    Naturally, there was some cause for excitement, but not much. It was one game from one undrafted athlete. It could have meant nothing.

    As it turned out, though, it meant everything.

February 9, 2012: Okay, Now We're Sure Something's There

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    Lin followed up his improbable performance against New Jersey with another terrific outing against the Utah Jazz.

    The point guard torched Utah for 28 points and eight assists in 45 minutes of action. He led the Knicks to a second-straight victory and thus began to peak the curiosity of both New York and the rest of the league.

    Lin added to his intrigue when he took his still-untested talents to face the Washington Wizards. Yet again, he rose to the occasion, carving up the John Wall-led Wizards with 23 points and 10 assists.

    He put the exclamation point on his performance and the Knicks' third straight victory with the dunk embedded above. It was then, as he rose off the floor and made contact with the rim that the world began to know something special was happening.

    Like something really special.

February 10, 2012: Linsanity Officially Begins

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    Lin's run was bound to come to an end, and many had that end pegged for the February game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

    Yes, the Knicks were riding a three-game win streak, but Kobe Bryant and company smelled blood. The Lakers were coming to play on Kobe's favorite stage against a team that was without both Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire.

    Simply put, the Knicks didn't stand a chance.

    Except they did.

    Lin stole Bryant's show, putting up a career-high 38 points and seven assists, leading the Knicks to their fourth straight victory.

    It was a win that meant the Knicks were back. And a win that meant Lin was here to stay.

February 14, 2012: NBA Recognizes Lin's Prowess

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    By now, Lin had led the Knicks to five straight victories and was rewarded with the Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors.

    During this five-game span, he was averaging 26.8 points, 7.8 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game. The Knicks were 5-0 since he had been inserted into the rotation, and he had led the way every step.

    Most notably, though, he and the Knicks had accomplished all this without Amar'e Stoudemire and most of it without Carmelo Anthony. While this was a cause for glorification, it was also a cause for doubt.

    How would Lin fare once New York's two superstars were back in the lineup? Would be be able to keep this rate of play up, or would their return stifle his production?

    It was a question that most didn't want to consider, but a legitimate one nonetheless.

    Yet, for at least another day, it didn't matter. Lin took home Player of the Week and did so on a day when he helped the Knicks improve to 6-0 under his regime against the Toronto Raptors.

    He simply could not be stopped.

February 17, 2012: The Honeymoon Is Over...Sort of

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    After a win over the Sacramento Kings to push the Lin-led Knicks to 7-0, Linsanity's run at perfection came to an end.

    New York lost what could only be considered a heartbreaker. Lin scored 26 points and dished out five dimes, but he coughed the ball up nine times, thus allowing his critics to resurface.

    Was this the end of Linsanity? How would the young point guard respond to his first rough outing?

    As it turns out, Lin responded well. One game after a productively inefficient outing against the New Orleans Hornets, the point guard picked apart the Dallas Mavericks for 28 points and 14 assists, leading the Knicks to yet another win.

    Perhaps that loss versus New Orleans was a blessing in disguise for Lin. Perhaps he needed to experience imperfection so that his character could be tested.

    Perhaps this was the beginning of something even more Linsane.

February 20, 2012: Carmelo Returns and All Is Not Well

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    By the time Carmelo Anthony was ready to return to action, the Knicks were 8-1 in the Linsanity era.

    Though some believed that Anthony would only help the young point guard by giving him a prolific scorer to dish off to, others feared that 'Melo's presence would crush Lin and, therefore, the Knicks.

    Anthony's "debut" did nothing to dispel the latter, as Jeremy Lin and New York came up short against the Nets the second time around.

    Amar'e Stoudemire had been back for a few games, and his presence had only enhanced Lin and the Knicks' offensive attack. The fact that the team appeared so unimpressive after Anthony re-entered the fold was cause for panic.

    Just ask Mike D'Antoni. 

March 14, 2012: Sometimes Things Fall Apart

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    Upon Carmelo Anthony's return, Lin and the Knicks went 2-6, dissipating almost all of the hype that surrounded them during the height of Linsanity.

    At that point, something had to give. Lin and 'Melo were struggling to play alongside each other, and it had become crystal clear Anthony wasn't intent on changing his ways.

    Well, something gave—Mike D'Antoni. He resigned as head coach of the Knicks, leaving Mike Woodson to take over.

    The general belief was that D'Antoni's effort to get Anthony to buy into his system was futile—he couldn't coach 'Melo, so one of them needed to go. D'Antoni left.

    Lin and the Knicks responded to his resignation by crushing the equally as chaotic Portland Trail Blazers

    It was a win that marked the start of a new era, one that included another five-game winning streak. It was also a win that marked one of the last New York would experience with Lin at the helm.

March 24, 2012: The Beginning of the End

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    Jeremy Lin was forced out of a game against the Detroit Pistons because of soreness in his right knee.

    At the time, it was an injury that was being monitored day to day. The hope was that Lin would be able to return in a game. 

    But a game became games, and once again, like it did when Carmelo Anthony disrupted the Knicks' chemistry, panic begin to spread.

    Not only was Lin's return being delayed, but it got to the point where we were left wondering if Lin was going to return at all that season.

    As we came to see, he wouldn't.

March 31, 2012: Tragedy Strikes

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    After a week marked by constant hope, the Knicks' worst fears were confirmed.

    The team announced that Jeremy Lin would be undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee and that his recovery time was about six weeks.

    This all but ended any hope New York and its fans had of seeing Lin play again that season. Staring down the barrel of April, six weeks was not a timetable that favored a return. Not unless the Knicks went on an improbable playoff run.

    Even after the point guard's surgery was deemed successful, the outlook was anything bright. Try as the team and its fanbase might to remain optimistic, the Knicks were suddenly a team that was all about next season.

May 9, 2012: The Future in New York Is Now

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    Despite a late surge of optimism, Jeremy Lin was unable to return in time for the playoffs.

    Though there was hope with each passing game in the first-round series against the Miami Heat that Lin was healthy enough to play, he ultimately wound up watching New York fall in five games from the bench.

    As disappointing as it was, though, there was plenty of hope. The Knicks were obviously going to do anything they could to re-sign Lin and continue to develop him into a star.

    This injury was just a minor bump in what was supposed to be a lengthy marriage.

June 22, 2012: All Signs Point to Lin Returning

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    Prior to the start of free agency, an arbitrator ruled in favor of the NBA Players Association's interpretation of Early Bird Rights.

    What did this mean?

    That the Knicks could match any offer that Jeremy Lin received. And by all accounts, they would.

    Even while free agency was in full swing, it was reported that the Knicks would match any offer on Lin up to $1 billion. Mike Woodson indicated that he would be the team's starting point guard come opening day as well.

    Simply put, all signs were pointing toward Lin's return. After all, there was no way New York was letting him go.

    Or so we thought.

July 14, 2012: Lin Signs Offer Sheet with Rockets

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    After much speculation, Jeremy Lin finally inked an offer sheet with the Rockets.

    Though the deal was at first believed to be worth $28 million over four years, Houston reportedly changed it to $25 million over three.

    Doing so ensured that the Knicks would be hit with a bevy of luxury-tax penalties in the third year, essentially costing the team more than $30 million.

    Still, all signs had pointed to the Knicks matching.

    New York was never one to shy away from spending money, so naturally it wasn't about to let its point guard of the future walk away over what was a few dollars to them.

    Would it?

July 15, 2012: Raymond Felton Returns

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    About one day after learning the Rockets had Jeremy Lin sign a different offer sheet, the Knicks threw a curveball of their own.

    New York struck a deal with the Portland Trail Blazers that brought in Raymond Felton. Given that the Knicks had already signed Jason Kidd, this spoke volumes about Lin's future—or lack thereof—in New York.

    While the Knicks still had the opportunity to match Lin's offer, they now had two starting-caliber point guards on their docket, and a third was believed to be overkill.

    Not only would Lin cost New York a boatload of money, but with Felton and Kidd in the fold, the backcourt rotation would be a headache for Mike Woodson.

    That is why, for the first time, it seemed the Knicks were destined to pass on the overnight sensation.

July 17, 2012: Knicks Let Lin Walk

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    After days of speculation, the Knicks finally declined to match Jeremy Lin's offer sheet.

    The decision took many by surprise, the fact was Linsanity was over—in New York at least.

    By declining to match Lin's offer, the point guard officially became a member of the Rockets, ending a short but exhilarating tenure in the Big Apple.

    To call Houston ecstatic over the signing would be a bit of an exaggeration, but there was no doubt the team was thrilled at the prospect of developing one of the prospects it already let get away.

    Despite the uncertainty that continued to surround him, the hope was that he would lead the team where both Kyle Lowry and Goran Dragic had failed to—back to the playoffs.

October 13, 2012: Lin off to a Rocky Start in Houston

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    The preseason had barely gotten underway when Jeremy Lin first started making waves in Houston.

    A report surfaced that people within the organization were questioning Lin's rehabilitation's efforts and whether or not he was the right fit for the Rockets.

    Almost needless to say, this only added to the worldwide controversy that had become Jeremy Lin.

    Would he turn out to be a bust for the Rockets? Or would he be able to prove his critics—even those within the organization—wrong?

October 31st, 2012: Lin's Debut with the Rockets and James Harden

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    Jeremy Lin's debut with the Rockets isn't what you would call spectacular, but it wasn't horrible, either.

    The point guard put up 12 points and eight assists, helping a James Harden-led Houston team claim its first victory.

    While his performance, which consisted of 41.7-percent shooting from the floor to go with four turnovers, was indeed rocky, Lin still clearly had potential. 

    Some of his passes were precise, and he continued to attack the rim as well. He clearly wasn't a superstar, but we all knew this already. He needed time to develop. Plus, the Rockets had Harden now to carry the burden they were poised to ask Lin to shoulder.

    It wasn't a stat-busting game, but for once, Lin wasn't being asked to give his team the world. 

    Wasn't that a good thing?

November 23, 2012: Lin vs. Knicks Part I

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    In Houston's first meeting against New York this season, the Rockets came out blazing.

    Chandler Parsons and James Harden combined for 64 points, leading Houston to a 131-103 beat-down of Jeremy Lin's former team.

    Speaking of Lin, while his new team certainly sent a message to his old one, he did little to disprove the notion that the Knicks made the right decision in letting him walk.

    That said, the point guard did go for 13 points, three assists and seven rebounds on 50-percent shooting. Houston was also a plus-24 with him on the floor.

    Still, while New York could have used an added punch that night, Lin's string of mediocrity continued.

    Though he had what would be an efficient night by his standards, he was hardly aggressive. It was Harden and Parsons who were the difference-makers, not him.

    This only added to the disappointing season he was having, leaving more people than ever to question whether Houston had made the right decision.

December 10, 2012: Lin Reborn

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    Linsanity was back...at least for a night.

    Without James Harden in the lineup, Jeremy Lin torched the Spurs for 38 points and seven assists on 52.4-percent shooting from the field. It was a performance reminiscent of his dominance against the Lakers last season and easily his best game of the season, if not his career.

    Unfortunately, Lin's efforts weren't enough to lead the Rockets to an upset. They were within grasp of victory, but San Antonio proved to be too much down the stretch.

    That said, this game served as hope.

    Hope that Lin could still develop into the star Houston was initially banking on him to be.

December 17, 2012: Lin vs. Knicks Part II

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    Jeremy Lin is officially set to make his return to Madison Square Garden, this time as an opponent.

    Coming in, Lin is averaging 10.8 points and six assists per game on 39.5 percent shooting from the field. He continues to struggle with efficiency, but that game against the Spurs still serves as a beacon of hope for him and the Rockets.

    Though Houston manhandled the Knicks the first time around, they are now facing Carmelo Anthony and company on their own turf. New York is 10-0 at home and is certain to be looking to avenge its blowout loss in Houston.

    Lin, on the other hand, will look to not only lead his team to victory, but prove to the Knicks and all of New York that he was worth the trouble his former team wasn't willing to go through. His first game against the Knicks was solid, but not enough. Now, he has a second chance.

    Whether or not Lin will take advantage of this second chance remains to be seen.

    All that we know now is that he's a member of the Houston Rockets, the team that did the inconceivable and pried him away from the Knicks.

    The team that helped perpetuate the roller-coaster ride that has become Lin's career.

    And the team that will serve as a vessel for his dramatics for the foreseeable future.

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