When the G League season tips off on Wednesday, Jeremy Lin will be returning to the league that started his entire professional basketball career, but this time as an elder statesman who once again is trying to find a spot on an NBA roster. Lin last played in the league during the 2018-19 season, where he eventually won an NBA championship with the Toronto Raptors, though he only averaged 3.4 minutes in just eight games played.
After that season ended, Lin received no offers from any of the 30 teams in the league, and opted to sign a contract to play overseas in the Chinese Basketball Association where he put up 22.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.6 assists in 39 games. Lin could’ve easily re-signed a lucrative deal with the Beijing Ducks and been the star of the team in China, but he still has goals of making it back onto an NBA roster, which is why he decided to start from the bottom again to prove that he can still play in the league.
“People think I’m crazy for not going back to the CBA,” Lin said via The Athletic. “People who are close to me think I’m crazy, or surprised that I didn’t go back this season to be the star of that league in a country of 1.5 billion people and to be the franchise player. I’m in my 11th year as a professional basketball player, and I’m in the G League and I’m not even assigned. If you look at it on paper, my first day as a rookie I was ahead of where I am now. After all the work, experiences I’ve had, film I’ve watched, hours in the gym, I’ve gone backwards. That’s definitely a test, and it’s a matter of how badly I want to prove it, so it’s going to take a lot of perseverance.”
Lin said the decision to join the G League after receiving no offers to be on an NBA roster took four months of weighing the pros and cons, but ultimately he wanted to try and make a comeback in the NBA. Lin will be joining the Warriors G League squad, the Santa Cruz Warriors, where he’ll be playing alongside some rookies as well as guys who have never even played in the NBA.
The G League season will be played entirely inside the same Orlando bubble the NBA used to finish out the remainder of the 2019-20 season, and Lin will be joined by other NBA veterans like Lance Stephenson and Michael Beasley as they also try to prove to teams they can still play at the highest level.