EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Jeremy Lin remains one of the most recognizable basketball players in the world, and he's joined perhaps the most popular global brand of any basketball team in the Los Angeles Lakers.
But it doesn't mean Lin is looking to use all that attention to replicate the same lightning-in-a-bottle situation he had when he burst onto the scene with the New York Knicks during the 2011-12 season.
"I'm not trying to relive that banner season," Lin said during his introductory news conference with the Lakers on Thursday. "I think that's been a big weight off my shoulders, and I think that's very important for me as a player. I'm not trying to recreate a 'Linsanity.' I'm not trying to be that phenomenon that happened in New York. I think I just want to be myself more than ever."
The player Lin is today in some respects is even better than the one who dropped a career-high 38 points on the Lakers at Madison Square Garden in February 2012. Even though Lin lost his starting point guard role with the Houston Rockets to Patrick Beverley last season, he still shot career bests from the field (44.6 percent), from 3-point range (35.8 percent) and from the free throw line (82.3 percent). He also limited his turnovers to just 2.5 per game after averaging 3.6 with the Knicks.
"I think from the minute that I stepped into Houston until now, I'm definitely a much more complete player, and I learned how to do a lot of things that maybe I never had to do before, which was learning how to play off the ball, cutting and really challenging myself with some of the weaknesses that I've had to try to improve on," Lin said.
The Lakers traded the rights to Sergei Lishchuk along with cash considerations to the Rockets in exchange for Lin, a future first-round pick and a 2015 second-round pick. They used their cap space to absorb Lin's $15 million expiring contract for next season (although only $8.3 million of that deal counts against the cap).
It wasn't the first time L.A. tried to bring in Lin.
The Lakers were in negotiations with his representatives to bring him to training camp on a partially guaranteed deal after Lin went undrafted out of Harvard and had a strong summer league showing. Lin, who was born in nearby Torrance, California, but spent his youth growing up in Palo Alto, California, chose to sign with the Golden State Warriors, who had made a similar offer to the Lakers', to be closer to home.
After the Warriors cut him midway through his first season in the league, the Lakers again attempted to acquire Lin, only to have their waiver bid beat out by Houston, which had a worse record at the time.
"The first thing I said to him when he sat down was, 'You know, three times is a charm,'" Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said, recalling the conversation he and Lin had when the point guard came in for his physical with the team.
Lin, 25, could step right in as the Lakers' starting point guard.