How Faith Can Bring Jeremy Lin To New Orleans

A wise sports anchor once told me “stay away from public conversations regarding politics and religion…all those topics do is cause controversy.”

While I can’t disagree with the man who told me that…I am going to write about religion and how one players faith may lead him to New Orleans. 

Like all NBA fans I was captivated by Jeremy Lin when he burst onto the scene 6 weeks ago. 

(Sidebar: For the record, I had Jeremy Lin in a big Chris Paul/Hornets/Golden State Warriors trade I proposed on this blog last summer)

Lin-sanity was something special…but until the Harvard University alum became an international sensation I had no idea he was an evangelical Christian who one day hopes to become a pastor.

Upon learning this I instantly thought of Hornets head coach Monty Williams and the one-on-one interview I conducted with him the day he was hired.

Monty is a man of great faith.  He spoke very candidly about the heart issues he dealt with as a college player at Notre Dame and how his faith helped him heal.  In fact, Monty says, his faith literally healed him.

Sometimes you meet people who talk about being Christian but they don’t practice what they preach.  Listening to Jeremy Lin and those who know him best…it’s easy to see he is a person who’s pure and who has truly given himself to his faith.  Same goes for Monty. 

I bet if these two had the chance to have dinner they’d become very fast friends…they’d see similarities in one another that would allow them to forge a bond very few coaches have with players.  That being said, should the Hornets make a massive push to sign Lin to a massive contract when he becomes a restricted free agent this summer?

The answer is…YES!!!! 

Am I suggesting the team go after Lin this summer during free agency just because his religious beliefs seem to mirror the head coach of the team?  No.  I’m suggesting the Hornets sign Lin for a variety of reasons.  The team desperately needs someone to be the face of the franchise, Lin can easily be that guy.  I’m sure the new ownership group would love nothing more than to land an international star that instantly makes their investment relevant.  While Greivis Vasquez is a very nice player, he’s probably best suited as a combo guard off the bench…meaning the Hornets need a floor general to lead them as they rebuild…enter Jeremy Lin. 

Plus, with Mike D’Antoni out as the Knicks head coach and Mike Woodson in…Lin’s role may drastically change in NYC. (read this amazing Howard Beck Column for more insight into Lin’s future in New York: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/16/sports/basketball/for-the-knicks-linsanity-has-left-the-building.html?_r=1&ref=howardbeck)

So if Jeremy Lin decides to test the free agent waters this summer and if he finds that Monty Williams is a man he shares a connection with and if the two decide to embark on the amazing New Orleans rebuild together…will the Hornets have to overpay in a big way to keep the Knicks from matching an offer to Jeremy Lin?  YES!

Is giving Jeremy Lin a huge deal (Like 5 years, $40 million) smart for the New Orleans Hornets?  YES!!!!!

By adding Lin and 2 lottery picks this summer the Hornets become a team on the rise overnight.

Imagine if you will this opening night lineup next season:

1. Jeremy Lin (signed as free agent)

2. Eric Gordon (re-signed longterm as a restricted free agent)

3. Harrison Barnes (2nd overall pick in 2012 NBA draft)

4. Gustvo Ayon/Jason Smith

5. Jared Sullinger (11th overall pick {from Minnesota} in 2012 NBA draft)

Coming off the bench: Jarrett Jack, Greivis Vasquez, Trevor Ariza, Al-Farouq Aminu, Jason Smith/Gustavo Ayon (no, Emeka Okafor is not on this team, I believe the Hornets use the amnesty provision on him) 

For all its debauchery, New Orleans is still a deeply religious town…and fans are still “in” when it comes to the Hornets…so many are praying for the franchise.  Hopefully prayers will be answered this summer and Jeremy Lin will take a chance and head down to the Big Easy to do for a down and out  basketball team what Drew Brees did for a down and out football team 6 years ago.

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3 Responses

  1. Without even looking into his value on the court, I can’t see any way that it would make financial sense for the Knicks to let Lin go. In terms of value added to the team, he is worth much more to New York than whatever they or any other team will inevitably end up paying him. Just look at the rise of Madison Square Garden’s stock price since his lightning-fast rise to stardom around the start of February; it jumped close to 15% in just one week’s time, and that price has held to this day. With a market cap of $2.48 billion, that equates to a whopping $375 MILLION in added value. That being the case, why would New York ever let him walk?

    It’s an interesting thought, and I absolutely see your point from a local perspective, but I’d say there is at least a 95% chance that Lin stays in NY, and that estimate is likely conservative.

    • A slight correction: MSG’s ~15% stock price increase came over a two week period, not one as I previously stated. Just wanted to clarify.

  2. I agree with everything except the starting lineup. Ariza has no business coming off the bench.

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