Jeremy Lin will most likely be wearing a Houston Rockets uniform next season. The New York Knicks are very unlikely to match the offer sheet Houston and Lin agreed upon and are prepared to let Linsanity walk.
The Knicks matching Lin’s offer sheet seemed as certain as anything before Saturday night. Then the Knicks pulled off a sign-and-trade with the Portland Trailblazers for point guard Raymond Felton.
The Knicks would now have two point guards on their roster in Felton and Jason Kidd and paying a third in Lin the kind of money they’d have to just doesn’t make sense, even for the Knicks.
Lin’s 3-year offer sheet with Houston has him making $5 million in year one, $5.225 million in the second year and a whopping $14.8 million in the final year. It’s that third year that reportedly is keeping New York away from Lin as they’d likely incur around $30 million in luxury tax penalties that season with Lin on the books.
Lin at 23 years old gave the NBA world one of the best stories last season. He came out of nowhere playing on the biggest stage in the league and put up All-Star caliber numbers. Linsanity didn’t last long, just a few weeks really, but it was enough to get him paid this summer.
The money Lin will make in the third year of this contract is too much. The sample size for his production is small and there are doubters out there who don’t think he’ll reach the All-Star level of play he demonstrated this past season.
Lin brings so much more to the table though with ticket sales and jersey sales that a team is likely to make up for overpaying him some with the profits they’ll earn elsewhere. That is unless your payroll is violently beyond the luxury tax threshold like New York’s would be.
The Knicks are playing it kind of safe for once. Lin can be good in this league but needs a lot of help to do so. In Mike D’Antoni’s system, a point guard will always put up numbers and that’s what Lin did. That isn’t the case as much playing for Mike Woodson.
Lin has huge turnover problems too. He isn’t even really a true point guard and it’s not like he’s an elite athlete either. Lin will have to continue to prove people wrong to make in this league. Houston will be a good fit for his game as they feature their points in the pick-and-roll similar to how D’Antoni does.
Parting ways with Linsanity has to be a tremendously tough decision for the Knicks front office. Beyond basketball it won’t be easy for them to throw away all of the potential Lin could bring the organization.
The Rockets know about that potential and they plan to capitalize on it. They’re still “all-in” for Dwight Howard but a Plan B of Lin on the team Yao Ming used to play for isn’t too bad.
New York will complete this offseason making the most noise by not making moves than by making them. They lost out on Steve Nash, let Jeremy Lin walk and there’s a new team in town ready to steal their thunder.
The Knicks have a long road ahead of them to be considered a championship-caliber team. They’ll have to be patient as they try and find the pieces that fit but that’s a hard thing to do in a city like New York.