Derrick Rose might have scuppered Jeremy Lin's hopes of returning to the New York Knicks

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Although Kevin Durant, Hassan Whiteside, DeMar DeRozan and a host of other top names around the NBA continue to dominate the rumour mill with free agency fast approaching, there are some hidden gems lurking in the shadows waiting to be plucked, too.

One such name is Jeremy Lin, the Charlotte Hornets point guard. The 27-year-old declined his player option on the second year of his Hornets deal to explore what's on offer to him in free agency and potentially land at his sixth team in seven years.

In doing so, he turned his back on the $2.2 million he would have pocketed next season had he returned to the Time Warner Cable Arena. However, it's worth remembering that Lin's contract before that was a $25 million deal with the Houston Rockets.

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While it's fair to say Lin won't be expecting a payday quite like that one post-Linsanity, he believes he is more valuable than the money the Hornets had on the table too.

Lin averaged 11.7 points and a career-high 3.2 rebounds from 26.3 minutes this season, but there is no doubt he is the number two option behind Charlotte's backcourt star Kemba Walker.

One possible destination where Lin could have proved useful is where his star has never shone brighter - the New York Knicks. The Big Apple franchise were crying out for a point guard last season and even Carmelo Anthony publicly insisted the organisation must pursue a playmaker in the postseason.

It would have seemed like the stars were aligning for the Harvard graduate to return to New York, but their blockbuster trade for Derrick Rose last week would appear to have put an end to that notion.

“It’s not looking likely, because they just traded for Derrick Rose,” Lin said in a conversation at the World Economic Forum in China. “But I will say, ever since I left I’ve been open to going back, and I still am. Never say never. That’s the one thing in the NBA. Never say never. So I’ve always been open, but right now, I’m not sure it’s the best timing."

That would indicate that Lin sees himself as a starting player wherever he goes next and is not prepared to only start 13 games like he did during the 2015-16 campaign in Charlotte.

"I want to find a home,” he said. “I want to see how good I can become. I’m 27, an athlete’s prime in the NBA is usually 27–30.”

At his peak in December 2011, Lin became the first NBA player in history to score at least 20 points and have seven assists in each of his first five starts. During that period, Lin registered averages of 14.6 points, 6.2 assists, 3.1 rebounds, 1.6 steals and a shooting percentage of 44.6 from the field a night.

It shows he has it in his locker to be a valuable asset to a franchise, but his stint in Houston and subsequent pitstop with the Lakers are somewhat contradicting evidence.

Is there a franchise ready to trust him as the main man?

Charlotte Hornets
Southeast Division
Eastern Conference
New York Knicks
Atlantic Division
Derrick Rose
Chicago Bulls
Central Division
Carmelo Anthony
Derrick Rose
Jeremy Lin

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