Following one season with the Beijing Ducks, former NBA Champion Jeremy Lin announced on his social media that he will not be returning to the Chinese basketball league in the upcoming season. Without having a clear path for his future basketball career, Lin said he is going to try to return to the NBA.
“Despite being beyond grateful with sooo much that the CBA, China, and all my Asia fans gave me this past season, today I decided to not return to the Beijing Ducks next season,” Lin said via a post on his personal Instagram: “Instead I will be waiting for free agency and preparing myself for the NBA — and continuing my greatest dream.” The 32-year-old basketball player is looking to have a new start in his professional career: “New chapter, new mindset, new me. Work smarter, aim higher, reach further.”
Following Lin’s decision to leave the team, the Beijing Ducks issued a long statement appreciating the American basketball player’s contribution to the Ducks on and off the court.
The California-born Jeremy Lin joined the Beijing Ducks in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) league in 2019, after not securing any contracts with NBA teams. Reflecting on his NBA career, Lin said during an event in Taiwan that “the NBA’s kind of given up on me.” After joining the Chinese basketball league, Lin became one of the most popular players in China and was selected to the CBA All-Star team in the past season.
His team, the Beijing Ducks, finished fourth in the 2019-2020 CBA regular season. The Beijing team was eliminated in the CBA playoff semi-finals by the eventual champion Guangdong Southern Tigers. Following the loss against Guangdong, Lin complained about the CBA league not doing enough to protect players and was reported to suffer from temporary hearing loss. Lin was also hospitalized after the games.
In the past reason with the Ducks, Jeremy Lin led the team with an average of 22.3 points per game and averaged 5.7 rebounds, 5.6 assists, and 1.8 steals. Those stats are significantly lower than some other fellow former NBA players who currently play in China. Former Indiana Pacer player Joseph Young has 38.3 points per game. Former Memphis Grizzlies player MarShon Brooks had a season average of 28.2 points per game.
Furthermore, Lin continues to suffer from three-point shots. With the Beijing Ducks, Lin shot 33.8% at the three-point line, lower than the NBA league average of 35.8%.
Lin said the decision to leave the Beijing Ducks was not an easy one to make, but he ultimately decided to give the NBA another try: “I couldn’t sleep right for 3 weeks with this decision weighing over me. I was brought to tears trying to verbalize the struggle to my family. I analyzed facts, but the reality is that faith ultimately comes down to taking a step towards what you can’t see yet.”
The CBA league will have some major changes with teams’ foreign recruits. The league administration will set up a team salary cap of $4 million after tax. Jeremy Lin had an after-tax salary of $3 million in the past season. To stay with the Ducks, Lin would need to take a substantial pay cut. In the 2019-2020 season, the Beijing Ducks have three foreign players on its squad, with a total after-tax salary of approximately $7 million.
The Chinese basketball league will also set up restrictions on foreign players’ playing times. Foreign players on the team can play a maximum of 48 minutes, making it hard for Jeremy Lin to maintain his playing time. Lin played an average of 32.4 points last season.
Lin, who was born in the U.S. and holds a U.S. passport, is deemed as a foreign player by the league despite the player identifying himself as a person of Chinese descent. Earlier in August, Lin acquired a passport from the Republic of China (Taiwan). Both of Lin’s parents are born in Taiwan, making him eligible to acquire citizenship and passport. Jeremy Lin has never played for any country in FIBA competitions. After formally acquiring a Taiwan passport, Lin may choose to play for Chinese Taipei, the team representing the Republic of China in international competitions, for future FIBA competitions.
Chinese media Sina Sports reported that there are at least 6 NBA teams that are interested in signing Jeremy Lin. They have been in contact with Jeremy Lin’s agent in the U.S.
Jeremy Lin is the first Chinese-American basketball player to play in the NBA Finals and the first Chinese-American player to win an NBA Championship title with the Toronto Raptors. Before joining the Beijing Ducks, Lin played nine seasons for eight different teams in the NBA, with an average of 11.6 points, 2.8 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 1.1 steals per game.
The 2020-2021 NBA season will start on Dec. 1, 2020. The league hopes to run a full 82-game schedule to complete the NBA Finals in June. This will allow NBA players to participate in the postponed Summer Olympics Games in Tokyo.