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"It was ridiculous for them to do what they did, as far as throwing that out there and making it tough on us to sign him back," Anthony said.
Maybe the Knicks could have avoided this by making Lin an offer right away. Instead they let him find one elsewhere first, which is what many teams do with restricted free agents.
Given his popularity in New York and all the opportunities that affords, it's difficult to imagine he'd want to sabotage his chances of returning. Yet maybe he doesn't see the same potential for himself under Mike Woodson as he showed in Mike D'Antoni's pick-and-roll offense. Or perhaps he's one of the many who sees the futility of the Anthony-Amare Stoudemire pairing and doesn't want the burden of being the point guard charged with making it work.
And maybe the Knicks don't believe he is, anyway. They made a veteran point guard a top priority in free agency, missing out on Steve Nash but signing Jason Kidd. Then they agreed to a sign-and-trade with Portland to bring back Raymond Felton to New York in a deal that was completed Monday.
None brings the marketing potential of Lin, whose story of undrafted Harvard graduate to unexpected NBA star was a hit around the world. (How many other players went into free agency with "Time" magazine list of top 100 most influential people on their resume?)
That gives Houston plenty of reason to want him back. The NBA's first American-born player of Chinese or Taiwanese decent would continue to grow the popularity the Rockets already enjoy in Asia thanks to their retired star, Yao Ming.
The Rockets had Lin on their roster during the preseason before waiving him, with two point guards ahead of him on the depth chart and an open roster spot needed to add a big man.
It wasn't long before they wished they'd done differently, general manager Daryl Morey writing on Twitter during Lin's dazzling stretch, when he averaged 24.6 points and 9.2 assists in 10 games from Feb. 4-20, that cutting Lin was a mistake.
Now it's up to the Knicks. Keep Linsanity where it was born or risk the same regret.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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