Jeremy Lin, the point guard whose 35-game stint with the New York Knicks galvanized the franchise and the fanbase, is apparently headed to Houston. Howard Beck of the New York Times reports the Knicks are not expected to match the Houston Rockets’ 3-year, $25 million offer sheet for the former Harvard star.
The decision was ultimately financial, not emotional, according to people briefed on the deliberations. The contract with Houston includes a third-year balloon payment of $14.9 million, which would have cost the Knicks another $35 million or more in luxury-tax penalties had they matched the deal. The so-called poison pill was designed to dissuade the Knicks.
Of course, the Knicks had an out – the stretch provision, which would have permitted New York to dump Lin after two years and spread out his 3rd year balloon payment over three seasons. The news of the stretch provision really only emerged this morning and gave Knicks’ fans hope; one wonders if New York brass even was aware of it. If they were, then it was never seriously considered, because they struck a deal with Raymond Felton Saturday night after getting wind of Houston’s new offer.
If the Rockets indeed win the Lin sweepstakes, a lot of the blame will fall upon James Dolan, the Knicks’ incompetent owner, and some will inevitably blame Carmelo Anthony, the team’s star who never got along with Lin. A lot of people will say this is about money, but clearly there was more to it. Why worry about what’s going to happen in three years when four players will have expiring deals? Clearly, money was a secondary issue in this deal.
The Knicks have until 11:59 pm tonight to change their minds. Here’s hoping they do.