Lin made the announcement on Weibo (via Channel News Asia).
"This decision has really been the hardest in my life," he said. "Every morning I would wake up at 4 a.m. or 5 a.m., thinking, thinking and thinking all the time. In the end, although Shougang has treated me incredibly well ... giving me everything I wanted, in the end, I feel that I still have NBA dreams. I still have time to play, and I have to chase this."
Lin also thanked his fans for their support and provided details of an emotional meeting with his family to share his plans.
"I know that many of my fans have stood by me no matter if I was injured," he said on Weibo. "Why was this decision so difficult? Yesterday, when I shared this with my family and friends, when I told them I would have to leave China, I cried."
The 32-year-old California native signed with the Ducks in August 2019. He averaged 22.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 1.8 steals across 39 regular-season appearances. He shot 49.1 percent from the field, including 33.8 percent from three-point range.
Beijing was eliminated from the 2020 CBA playoffs by the Guangdong Southern Tigers in early August during the semifinal round.
Lin was the breakout star of the 2011-12 NBA season when he came out of nowhere to become a key contributor for the New York Knicks. The period became known as "Linsanity."
The Harvard product remained a solid role player across stints with the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, Charlotte Hornets, Brooklyn Nets and Atlanta Hawks. He took a lesser role with the Toronto Raptors during the 2018-19 season but was part of the team's championship-winning squad.
He's averaged 11.6 points, 4.3 assists and 2.8 rebounds across 480 NBA regular-season games.
Now, after a season away putting up big numbers in China, Lin will return stateside looking for another chance to shine in the NBA.