Charlotte Hornets

Guard Jeremy Lin says he would ‘love’ to return to Charlotte Hornets next season

Charlotte Hornets guard Jeremy Lin says this past season was the most fun he’s had in the NBA and he’d love to be back in Charlotte next season.
Charlotte Hornets guard Jeremy Lin says this past season was the most fun he’s had in the NBA and he’d love to be back in Charlotte next season. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Charlotte Hornets guard Jeremy Lin, who can opt out of next season on his contract, says he’d very much like to re-sign with the franchise this summer.

"I would love to," Lin said Monday. "I don’t like moving every year, I don’t like packing and unpacking boxes. So we’ll see. But I’m definitely interested in coming back."

Lin played for the New York Knicks, Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers before signing with the Hornets in July. He played both point guard and shooting guard for the Hornets and found this season the most enjoyable of his career.

"This is the most fun I’ve had in my six years" in the NBA, Lin said. "Being around a great group of guys and a coaching staff that really cares. I’ve learned so much about the game of basketball, particularly at the defensive end."

Lin indicated he plans to opt out of his contract, which would pay him about $2.2 million next season. Ideally he’d sign a longer-term deal with the Hornets, and Lin said money won’t be the overarching factor in where he signs.

"My biggest thing is I want to have fun and be happy,” he said. “I’ve been paid on the lower end and had a blast, and I’ve been paid on the higher end and not enjoyed it at all.

"Honestly, money has never been the most important thing. Money is important because it shows how a team values you. But beyond that I don’t care all that much about money. Me coming here (for slightly more than $2 million a season) showed that."

Lin said the chemistry the Hornets developed this season was special and rarer than fans might realize.

"I definitely want to play with these guys and this coach," Lin said, referring to Steve Clifford. "When you bounce around a lot the way I have, seeing a lot of organizations, there’s a lot about this one that I can appreciate in terms of my experience, that maybe I didn’t have in other situations.

"From the (preseason) China trip we knew this team really got along. I kind of expected there’d be bumps and bruises along the way as far as guys getting along with each other, but really there wasn’t. I’ve never seen a group of guys at the professional level (where) all the guys 1 through 15 got along together. It wasn’t uncommon for all 15 of us to do something together.

"That’s really, really rare."

Lin said he also appreciates Clifford’s candor and honesty.

"He’s not one to sugar-coat or lie to you, which is why a lot of guys love playing for him," Lin said.

"What he told me from the beginning is pretty much how it went. I felt like for me, some of the adjustment was playing in such different roles. But that wasn’t because of false expectations, it was just about guys getting hurt."

Charlotte Hornets guard Jeremy Lin visited South Charlotte Middle School, Tuesday, April 12, 2016. South Charlotte is one of the top performing schools in a reading challenge put on by the Jeremy Lin Foundation and Newsela. The reading challenge e

Rod Boone contributed to this story.

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