Los Angeles, May 10 (CNA) As many as six NBA teams are interested in signing injured New York Knicks star Jeremy Lin for the 2012-2013 season, according to the U.S. basketball website Hoopsworld.
The website did not reveal which teams are interested in pursuing Lin, the first American-born NBA player of Taiwanese descent who shot to stardom after leading the struggling Knicks to a seven-game winning streak in February.
The second-year point guard will become a restricted free agent July 1. That means another team could sign Lin to an offer sheet, but the Knicks would have the right to match it.
Lin made US$762,195 this season, which is the league minimum for a player in his second year.
The Knicks only have a mid-level exception available to them under the NBA's salary cap, which means the most they could offer Lin, or any other new player they might want to sign for the coming season, is US$5 million.
One possible addition would be Steve Nash, who has been linked to the Knicks by New York media in recent days, but it is highly unlikely the team could sign both Nash and Lin for US$5 million next year.
Opposing teams will also not be allowed to offer more than US$5 million for a single-year deal to Lin under salary cap rules but they could offer a longer-term deal to him averaging US$6 million to US$7 million a year that the Knicks might not match, said Hoopsworld's NBA managing editor Steve Kyler.
Lin himself has left his options open. A New York Daily News report quoted him as saying that he has learned that nothing is set in stone.
"We talked about (my free agency). I love the Knicks and the organization. But at the same time, it's a business. Me, personally, I think it would be great if I come back. But crazy things happen and I don't really know what's going to happen," Lin said Thursday.
Knicks coach Mike Woodson called Lin a "big part" of the team and said he wants the 23-year-old to return to the team with him next season.
Woodson stopped short, however, of guaranteeing the starting job to Lin, who underwent surgery April 2 to repair a meniscus tear in his left knee.
"Jeremy's a big part of our team. Will he start? Only time will tell," Woodson said Thursday.
"He has started for our team, and he has played well for our basketball team, but this summer will be very pivotal for him in terms of his improvement and the future's very bright for him. So will he be back next year? Absolutely. He's a big part of our ballclub," he added.
The Knicks began their offseason Thursday following its 106-94 loss to Miami Heat in the fifth game of the first-round playoff series.
Lin took to Twitter to thank his fans for their frenzied support, dubbed "Linsanity," during the season.
"Huge thank you to all the fans who made this year so special! I'll never forget how much fun you guys made this season!" Lin wrote.
(By Oscar Wu and Sofia Wu)