National buzz about Lin is distant memory

The heat of "Linsanity" seems like a long time ago.

Those were days when Jeremy Lin was on the cover of every New York paper, when people waited at stores for the No. 17 jerseys to arrive, when the greatest out-of-nowhere sports story forced Time Warner's hand to carry Knicks games in its New York City homes after months and months of negotiating tension, and when seven trademarks were filed for "Linsanity," including one by Lin himself.

It's early but, as Jeremy Lin makes his way back to Madison Square Garden on Monday for the first time since he left, the fall is pretty astonishing.

The guy who ignited water-cooler talk across the nation last winter has all but disappeared from the national discussion.

In February, Google Trends had Lin's search volume at 100 out of 100, which is what the search engine calls the peak of a certain individual's search volume

This month, the search volume for Lin is at a 6 on that same scale.

Nine months ago, there were more than 20,000 Lin items on eBay at the same time, more than any other NBA player. Today, that total has been halved and the prices have deflated.

It doesn't help that those most interested in him have easily been able to move on now that the Knicks are 18-5 with the likes of Jason Kidd and Raymond Felton. It doesn't help that Lin's Rockets are playing under-.500 ball.

But the greatest factor in Lin's decline as a marketing icon is not that the Knicks decided not to sign him. Being in the biggest market certainly helps, but it's not everything. His problem now is that he's not breaking through the clutter like he used to. He's not a regular on SportsCenter's nightly highlights. He hasn't yet justified the three-year, $25.1 million contract Rockets general manager Daryl Morey gave him.

"Linsanity" didn't end when Lin got traded to the Rockets, but what was understood is that he'd somehow have to continue to have those incredible games we got so used to. In his first 22 games with the Rockets, he has scored 15 points on four occassions. In his first 22 starts with the Knicks, he surpassed the 15-point mark 15 times.

Lin is still, and will always be, marketable in Asia. No matter what happens here, his hero status there has been cemented, which has to be one of the reason why he still has a shot to be voted into the All-Star Game, which happens to be in Houston. But he has quickly fallen off the radar in this country, meaning any new deals that come to him from multinational companies likely won't pay him significant dollars for a U.S. campaign.

Perhaps that doesn't matter to him. He's making $61,000 a game, up from about $9,000 last season. And we presume he's not sleeping on a couch anymore.