Knicks Out; Jeremy Lin joins Rockets
By Jonathan Lee
July 17, 2012
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Official: New York Knicks Refuse to Match Houston Rockets’ Jeremy Lin Offersheet; Lin is a Rocket
Linsanity is headed to Houston. The New York Knicks decided Tuesday afternoon not to match the Rockets three-year $25 million offer sheet to the point guard. They will instead head into the season with the recently acquired duo of Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd.
The move on its face means very little to New York. Our projections show there almost no difference between Lin as the starting point guard or Felton.
There is reason to think that Felton might be the safer bet. He has a much longer track record in the NBA, and had a relatively successful stint with the Knicks during the 2010-11 season. Lin has basically a 30-game stint of incredible play during February and March.
There are also plenty of reasons to criticize this move. The first is that Lin has the potential to be much better than the current versions of both Felton and Kidd. Felton has often played uninterested basketball recently, and has a problem staying in shape. His one good season with the Knicks was under a very different system with Mike D’Antoni. The same question mark hangs on Jeremy Lin, but Felton’s play has declined significantly since leaving that system. Kidd is already 39 years old, and his play has declined significantly as well.
New York is also the one team that could afford to take on Lin and his contract. The Knicks are already well over the salary cap, and will be competing with this core of players for better or worse the next three seasons minimum. Acquiring players of Lin’s quality on the open market will be impossible. As long as Lin plays at a reasonable level his marketability alone would pay for any tax hit the team would have to pay. The New York Times reported that MSG gained $600 million in market capitalization since the beginning of the Linsanity craze in February. When the Knicks were rumored to be passing on Lin they dropped $50 million. Now it has actually come to pass.
Even if Lin didn’t perform this offseason has proven that any contract can be traded especially an expiring one. A “stretch provision” in the CBA would have also allowed the Knicks to save some money if they chose to waive Lin down the line.
Houston meanwhile gets a young point guard and one of the most marketable players in the NBA. The Rockets are still all-in trying to acquire Dwight Howard so while Lin makes the team better, they are still forecasted to be at the bottom of the Western Conference.
Houston improves but not significantly