Jeremy Lin was back in China on Monday, resuming a goodwill and promotional tour after returning to California to finalize his trade from the Houston Rockets to the Los Angeles Lakers.
As the former Palo Alto High School star plans his move to Southern California, he need not worry about a place to live. A Chinese-American mother in Redondo Beach -- a "huge Lakers fan" -- placed a Craigslist ad Sunday offering to let him live with her family for free.
The ad says he would have to do his own laundry and clean up after himself. The place is described as "close, but not too close, to Asian communities (kind of like living in Palo Alto but by the beach)."
Away from the court, the popular point guard is expected to give the Lakers a marketing boost. Los Angeles is the largest Asian-American TV market outside of Asia, five times larger than Houston's. Los Angeles County alone has nearly 1.5 million people of Asian descent.
Joz Wang, editor of 8Asians.com, a site that focuses on Asian-American news, wrote that there is a huge fan base for the Asian-American Lin in Los Angeles.
"Literally people like me -- not huge fans of the NBA, or even huge fans of basketball but fans of Jeremy Lin," Wang wrote.
China native Ray Peng is among the fans awaiting their favorite player. The 24-year-old film student in Burbank said all that matters to him is that Lin is Asian.
"There is some guy's face, who looks like us, and he is playing in the NBA," Peng told KPCC radio in Los Angeles.
Huxley Phan, a busboy in suburban Arcadia, which is 61 percent Asian-American, said he is excited to see what the son of Taiwanese immigrants can do on such a high-profile team.
"The Linsanity -- bring it to L.A.," the 21-year-old Phan told KPCC. "Maybe it will all hype us up again. We're not known to be super athletic, so maybe his presence might encourage other Asian-Americans to pursue their dreams."
On the court, Lin gives the Lakers another player that can get to the basket, the type of attacking point guard that has become coveted in the NBA in recent years.
Lin also gives the Lakers durability at the position, something they can't count on from the presumed starter, 40-year-old two-time league MVP Steve Nash. The eight-time all-star from Santa Clara University star was healthy for just 15 games last season. Kendall Marshall is the Lakers' third point guard. He does not have Lin's offensive skills.
The Lakers have not spoken about their plans for Lin, but the high hopes of his fans might not be shared by the team's brass. General manager Mitch Kupchak's short statement on the trade called Lin "a solid player," hardly the endorsement that might be expected if Kupchak was thinking of Lin as a potential star.
Hints about Lin's potential for stardom in Los Angeles could come once the Lakers hire a head coach. If the new boss is interested in running a pick-and-roll style on offense, Lin's stock could rise. That style of play allowed him to become an overnight sensation with the New York Knicks in 2012, when the "Linsanity" sensation swept this country and most of Asia and earned Lin a $25 million contract with the Rockets.
Lin will have to adapt to playing alongside one of the game's greatest scorers in Kobe Bryant. Following the acquisition of Lin, the Lakers lost free agent center Pau Gasol, a former all-star and a player Bryant had wanted to remain a Laker. Bryant, soon to be 36 years old and coming off a season shortened to six games by injuries, finds himself on a rebuilding team without any teammates who are likely to join him in the All-Star Game.
Lin told a Shanghai TV network Monday that he has not spoken to Bryant but looks forward to meeting him in September and learning from the 15-time all-star.
"He's one of the best players who ever played the game," Lin said. "I have a lot to learn. Everything. You can go from footwork to how to be successful, how to take care of your body and recover, to your mindset going into a game. There's so many nuggets of wisdom that I think he has."
Lin also said Los Angeles is one of three cities in which he prefers to play, along with San Francisco and New York.
Various sources have reported that Lin's style did not mesh well in Houston alongside another shooting star, the Rockets' James Harden. Lin averaged 12.5 points and 4.2 assists while making 33 starts last year. He improved his long-range shooting (35.3 percent on treys) and had back-to-back 30-point games in November with Harden sidelined by an injury, but Lin lost his starting job when coach Kevin McHale wanted a more tenacious defender (Patrick Beverley) to pair with the defensively deficient Harden in the backcourt.
Byron Scott, a three-time NBA champion with the Los Angeles Lakers before becoming an NBA head coach and TV analyst, told Comcast SportsNet that Lin's defense is not a liability. Scott thinks the Lakers made a great move and he expects Lin to come into Los Angeles with a bit of a chip on his shoulder.
"He's kind of looking to re-establish himself," Scott said. "Because of the injuries he had last year, he kind of lost his way and lost his (starting) job there."