Former NBA Champion Jeremy Lin Departs from NBA, Joining Beijing Ducks

Jeremy Lin (source: AP)

After a rather disappointing off-season, former NBA Champion player Jeremy Lin decided to sign with the Beijing Ducks of the Chinese Basketball Association, and will be playing for the team in the upcoming season in China.

On Aug 27th, after signing with the team, Lin officially met with the Beijing Ducks players and the front office executives. According to Sina Sports, the Beijing Ducks offered Jeremy Lin a one-year, $3 million (after tax) contract to attract the former NBA player to join.

Jeremy Lin also tweeted on his personal twitter account: “Thanks to the NBA and everyone who’s supported me the last 9 years! Will always cherish being able to rep Asians at the NBA level. Excited for the next step with the Beijing Ducks. Excited to make more history. Congrats lil bro on signing your contract extension on the same day!” Lin also posted a picture from the Beijing Ducks’ announcement on Lin’s arrival.

Earlier this month, Pandaily reported that the former NBA veteran guard struggled to secure a contract with another NBA team despite winning an NBA championship title with the Toronto Raptors. The Palo Alto native also had an emotional moment talking about his NBA future at an event earlier in July, saying that the NBA has “given up on him”.

The Chinese basketball league usually ends at March, leaving the players the chance to sign with another NBA team should they find such opportunities. Earlier in 2019, former Shanghai guard Jimmer Fredette signed with the Phoenix Suns after finishing the season in China. Back in 2012, NBA player and former sixth man of the year recipient, JR Smith signed with the New York Knicks after playing in China for a season due to the NBA lockout earlier in 2011. Lin’s decision to play in China for the upcoming season might leave some hope for the former champion player to return to the NBA in the future.

Earlier in July, Jeremy Lin turned down an offer from the European basketball powerhouse CSKA Moscow. The Russian team reportedly offered Lin a 2-year, $5 million contract.

The 31-year-old undrafted guard from the class of 2010 was one of the most inspiring players in NBA history. Lin had a series of extraordinary performances while playing for the New York Knicks in 2012. It is worth noting that Lin was on the brink of being released by the team.

Lin later played for the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, Charlotte Hornets, and then secured a starting point guard position with the Brooklyn Nets in 2016. However, after suffering from a season ending injury, Lin was once again marginalized by the league and later joined the Atlanta Hawks, serving as the back-up point guard and mentor for the Hawk’s promising rookie Trae Young.

In 2019, Jeremy Lin requested a buy-out from the Atlanta Hawks and then joined the Toronto Raptors in an effort to fight for a championship title. The Toronto Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors in the 2019 NBA Finals. Jeremy Lin, however, did not play a major role in the team’s victory, and only played for less than one minute in the Finals.

The Beijing Ducks are one of the most successful teams in the Chinese basketball leagues, thanks to former NBA legendary player Stephen Marbury. Between 2011 to 2015, The Ducks won three CBA championships in four seasons. Stephen Marbury was one of the most successful foreign players in the Chinese basketball league. The former NBA all-star even has a statue of him set up in Beijing, despite having some major disagreements with the team on his contract in 2017. Located in the nation’s capital city, the Beijing Ducks are also a team that attracts more attention than the other regional teams such as Jilin, Shanxi, and Fujian due to Beijing’s geographical location and importance.

As an American basketball player, Lin will be occupying one of the foreign players’ spots on the Beijing squad. Lin’s parents immigrated to the United States from Taiwan. Lin was born and raised in California and was selected into the 2012 USA Basketball Men’s Select Team to play against the 2012 USA Basketball Olympics squad. Lin has not played for any team on the international stage, and has been taking a vague stance towards playing for any teams or join the Chinese National Team. Lin would qualify to play for the Chinese Taipei as he would be qualified to apply for a Republic of China passport. However, there is no record of Lin having that passport.

Beijing finished fifth in the 2018-2019 regular season and were eliminated by the Shenzhen Leopards in the CBA quarter-finals. With more resources allocated to player recruitment, Beijing is looking for major breakthroughs in the coming season to return to the glory days of the Marbury era.