Jeremy Lin is conspicuously missing from the Houston Rockets new season ticket promotional materials. It's James Harden on one side, a big Dwight Howard in the middle and Chandler Parsons on the other side in the ads.
Lin found himself just as absent from the Howard recruiting pitch — given less respect than Patrick Beverley, a still completely unestablished NBA player.
In many ways Lin's been pushed aside by the very people who spent so much time, effort and money courting him last summer. Daryl Morey gives some token talk about how he's an assistant GM now and that Lin isn't going anywhere at the Howard press conference and the patty cake Houston media buys in.
As if Morey hasn't said the same thing about every single player he's ever traded. With the possible exception of Royce White.
No one's really going out of their way to make Jeremy Lin feel valuable.
Instead of fretting, Lin's quietly enjoyed a productive offseason, one that gives him a great chance to confound all the haters.
And you know what? It doesn't really matter. Lin's never been one to let others' evaluation of his game decide his future.
If he did, he'd have been out of the league when Morey and the Rockets cut him that one Christmas Eve.
Instead of fretting, Lin's quietly enjoyed a productive offseason, one that gives him a great chance to confound all the haters — and no player this productive has ever had this many haters — wrong.
Lin may not have been deemed worthy of the promotional flyers, but he made sure he was part of the Rockets impromptu players-only LA mini camp. He was right in those drills with Harden, Parsons, Howard, Beverley and Terrence Jones at UCLA.
"Last Supper in LA . . . great workouts with Rockets this week! #cabbagecarrotscelery" Lin tweeted at the end of the gym run.
There are some things you can doubt about Jeremy Lin. Him being a good teammate isn't one of them.
Lin's expressed excitement about the Dwight Howard move — even if it seems like all the Rockets power brokers have lost excitement in him.
"It's huge," Lin told the Los Angeles Times at Steve Nash's charity game. "It's really important for us. When you talk about a franchise player or a superstar, having him and James Harden — we're definitely fortunate to have two of those top tier guys."
Summer of Jeremy Lin
Lin is doing his best to be a more than effective third wheel. After being limited by rehab last offseason, Lin's been playing a lot of basketball this summer.
He dropped 45 points in a glorified pick-up game against other NBA players. Of course, all anyone wanted to talk about after that was the fact he'd been dunked on by the unremarkable Drew Gordon.
Disrespect him all you want, he'll just come back fighting.
That's what makes the YouTube video. That's what was picked up by news outlets. Even if Gordon is 6-foot-9 and the only thing really remarkable about the play is the fact that Jeremy Lin even put himself in position to contest a dunk in a summer game.
This is how it goes for Jeremy Lin.
Disrespect him all you want, he'll just come back fighting. Morey almost seemed to bait Lin by not including this once franchise face in the Howard recruitment.
Lin just notes it and embraces the future possibilities.
"I wasn't part of the recruiting process," Lin told the LA Times (he's spent much of his offseason in friendly California). "Everyone just started texting me."
Does that sound bitter to you?
Jeremy Lin will not pop off like Omer Asik. He will not give the Rockets any outright cause to trade him. He'll just keep putting the work in, showing up whenever his guys gather to do extra.
He'll just keep getting better. Nobody knows for sure if Jeremy Lin will be jettisoned again by the Houston Rockets.
But you can be certain they'll end up regretting it if they do.