Wednesday afternoon, rookie guard Jeremy Lin signed his two-year deal with the Warriors.
The moment the ink touched the contract, he became perhaps the most popular player on the roster.
"I don't think I've ever been a part of something like this before," Lin, a Palo Alto native, said from the players' lounge at the Warriors downtown facility in Oakland. "This is unbelievable. Words can't really express my feelings right now and how happy I am and how grateful I am. This is crazy."
General manager Larry Riley said the serious talks began in earnest on Monday. He was won over with Lin's play in Las Vegas.
"Boy, he had a nice summer league," Riley said. "He was pretty good most of the time. I wouldn't base it one game."
Lin-sanity has hit the Bay Area since word of Lin's intention to sign with the Warriors broke Tuesday.
That the undrafted rookie out of Palo Alto High and Harvard with a partially guaranteed contract had an introductory news conference is odd enough. But Lin drew more media than the draft and the news conference introducing the No. 6 overall pick, Ekpe Udoh, illustrating Lin's pull in the Bay Area.
But that wasn't the only reason Lin signed with the Warriors. According to multiple sources, he got offers from the Dallas Mavericks and the Los Angeles Lakers. He even got a counteroffer that possibly topped the Warriors' deal.
In the end, Lin couldn't pass up the chance to play for his favorite team growing up. Plus, he's been assured he'll have a chance to compete for playing time.
The first order of business for Lin — per Lin, Riley, and even Lin's AAU coach — is to develop a more consistent jumper and adapt to the NBA 3-point range. Riley said he also wants to see Lin develop on the defensive end.
Still, Riley said Lin will get every opportunity to earn the 10-or-so minutes available behind starting point guard Stephen Curry. He wasn't just brought on to be the 15th man.
Riley, who has three open roster spots, still could add another guard. He said he still wants some experience on the bench. But he also wanted Lin. Even if the Warriors had been able to keep C.J. Watson, the veteran point guard they traded to the Chicago Bulls, Riley said he would have signed Lin.
"From my point of view, I'm ready to go," Lin said. "I feel like I'm ready to play and I feel like my game is very suitable for the NBA style, because I'm a slasher and there's a lot of pick-and-rolls."
"It's like leaving your mom to go to college far away," Watson said. "But you've got to do it. It's a business."
Watson drew interest from Orlando, Cleveland and Portland. But he said Chicago is the only team that offered him a contract (certainly, the Warriors' ability to match scared some teams off). He said the Bulls are the best fit, mostly because he wanted to go to a playoff team. Chicago, which added All-Star power forward Carlos Boozer this offseason, is expected to be a contender in the Eastern Conference.
Watson said he isn't concerned about the playing time available behind All-Star point guard Derrick Rose, or lack thereof. He said his days with the Warriors taught him how to deal with that.
Despite always seeming to be the odd man out in the rotation, Watson's minutes increased every year with the Warriors, including an average of 27.5 per game last season.
"It's not really about what people say in the offseason," Watson said. "I've proven I can play in this league and I'm worth the minutes I get. I'm just going to go in there, play defense, score, push the ball, and do what I can to help the team win."