Jeremy Lin is the owner of one of the most compelling narratives in the history of the NBA. From a virtually unknown player, the 6-foot-3 point guard became a household name practically overnight. He made such a tremendous impact during his time with the New York Knicks, that his amazing rise to fame even earned its own moniker: “Linsanity.”
Life in the NBA wasn’t always good for Lin, though, as he struggled early on in his career. He also fell from grace towards the tail end of his NBA career, with him bouncing from team to team in his final couple of seasons. The former Harvard alum did make a lot of money along the way, however, and today we take a look at how much cash he pocketed throughout his career in the NBA.
Lin spent four years playing for Harvard, and despite a successful run, he went undrafted in 2010. Fortunately for him, the Golden State Warriors saw his potential, which prompted a two-year rookie-scale deal worth $1.2 million. Lin averaged just 9.8 minutes per game during his time with the Dubs, playing in no more than 29 contests in his rookie campaign. A year and a half later, the Warriors waived him.
The Houston Rockets were quick to claim Lin from the waiver wire, but his stint in Houston lasted for only a couple of weeks without playing a single game for the team.
After being waived by the Rockets, the New York Knicks pounced and signed him on December 2011. A couple of months later, Linsanity would happen. Lin went on an astounding run of games, practically coming out of nowhere. In 10 games, he averaged 24.6 points (on 49.7 percent shooting), 4.1 rebounds, 9.2 assists, and 2.4 steals, while also connecting on 1.2 triples per game. This included a memorable 38-point gem against the Los Angeles Lakers. Lin led the Knicks to an extraordinary seven-game winning streak during this span. He reportedly earned $762,000 during his time in New York.
The following summer, Lin entered free agency, and with his stock skyrocketing, he agreed to sign a huge $25.1 million, three-year deal with the Rockets. Lin spent two relatively productive years in Houston prior to the team trading him to the Lakers in the summer of 2014. That season, Lin reportedly pocketed a massive $14.9 million from the Lakers. This was the final season of the three-year deal he signed with the Rockets, and turned out to be the largest single-season earning he made throughout his career.
Lin once again entered free agency in 2015, but because his season in L.A. left a lot to be desired, his value plummeted. Lin signed with the Charlotte Hornets for $4.4 million for two years. The second year of the deal was a player option, and Lin eventually opted to decline the second season, as he once again became a free agent.
The Brooklyn Nets had a lot of money to spend that summer, and they decided to splash the cash on a 28-year-old Lin. This came out to the tune of $38.3 million for three years — Lin’s largest contract ever. After a rather mediocre first season, Lin decided to exercise his player option for the second year of his deal. He earned $12 million that season despite playing only one game for Brooklyn that year. To say that the Nets did not get their money’s worth out of his deal would be an understatement, and they finally decided to trade him prior to Year 3 of this deal.
The Atlanta Hawks were Lin’s next stop, where he played 51 games in the 2018-19 campaign before being waived by the team in February of 2019. He still cashed in on the $11.8 million he was owed from the Nets deal, though.
A couple of days after being waived by the Hawks, the Toronto Raptors claimed Lin off the waiver wire. He signed a deal with the Raptors for the rest of the season amounting to $697,000. Lin played a minor role for the Raptors, averaging just 7.0 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game. However, as destiny would have it, he was able to take part in that memorable and improbable championship run by Toronto in 2019. It’s as if all of Lin’s hard work was paid off — figuratively — when he finally got his hands on the coveted championship trophy.
After that season, however, the Raptors decided not to re-sign Lin on a new deal. He was not able to find a new team for the following season, which prompted him to play abroad during the 2019-20 season. As of writing, Lin has yet to agree a deal with any NBA team, and looking at the big picture, it would not be surprising if he isn’t able to make his way back to the NBA. While it is unfortunate, there’s no better way to end your career in the league with a championship — something that Lin can say he achieved.