As much as Jeremy Lin sounded eager about a “fresh start” with the Lakers, he relived a few things about his time with the Houston Rockets that he described as “up and down.”
The frustrations went beyond losing his starting point guard position to Patrick Beverly. Or experiencing two first-round playoff exits. When the Rockets made an successful attempt at Carmelo Anthony, team officials featured the free agent star wearing a No. 7 Rockets jersey. The only problem: that is Lin’s number. Lin soon went to Twitter and cited a Bible verse from Luke, Chapter 6, verse 29: “If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them.”
Did the Rockets’ disrespect hurt Lin?
“I didn’t lose any sleep. I wasn’t outraged,” Lin said Thursday at his introductory press conference. “I wasn’t upset. I just felt like they could’ve kept it internal. IT wasn’t a big thing to me. I did feel like in some ways it could be handled a bit differently.”
Lin hardly found issue, however, with Rockets guard James Harden downplaying a series of offseason defections. The Dallas Mavericks signed restricted free agent guard Chandler Parsons, whom the Rockets allowed to go in hopes of maximizing cap space for Anthony. When Houston struck out on Anthony, the Rockets dealt Lin and a first and second round pick to the Lakers to clear up salary for Chris Bosh, who stayed with Miami. Harden told reporters, “Dwight 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.”
Parsons took issue with Harden’s assessment. But Lin actually agreed with it.
“Those two are the cornerstones,” Lin said during his introductory press conference with the Lakers. “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. I’ve spoken to him since I’ve been traded. He didn’t mean anything in a derogatory or condescending way. I don’t think it’s a secret that him and Dwight are the cornerstones of the Houston Rockets.”
Lin’s respect for Howard apparently only goes so far. He curiously omitted the former Lakers center when ticking off Carmelo Anthony, Harden and Kobe Bryant as great teammates he will have play with in his career.
But Lin still looks back at his two seasons with Houston with some fondness, believing it helped him overcome frustration in trying to live up to the so-called “Linsanity” during a breakout season three years ago with New York.
“It’s been definitely an up-and-down year for me,” Lin said. “When I look back not just the past year and on past two years, I think I learned and grown a lot as a person and basketball player. From the minute I stepped in to Houston until now, I’m much more of a complete player. I’ve learned to do a lot of things that maybe I never had to do before, which was learning how to play off the ball, cutting and challenging myself with some of the weaknesses that I had to improve on.”
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org