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Friday, October 31, 2014

Houston Rockets land Jeremy Lin after Knicks choose not to match bloated offer

Jeremy Lin is officially a Houston Rocket for the second time in his career.

Lin became a member of the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night when the Knicks decided not to match the three-year $25.1 million offer Houston made to him during his period as a restricted free agent. The $8 million per year figure may have been doable for New York, but it was the bloated $15 million “poison pill” he was owed in 2014-2015 that most likely discouraged the Knicks.

Had New York matched the contract and retained Lin, they would have owed $77.3 million to four players that season — Jeremy Lin, Tyson Chandler, Amar’e Stoudemire, and Carmelo Anthony — and they would have owed $50-60 million in league taxes per the terms of the new CBA. New York would have had plenty of time to work around that crazy thought and could have traded Stoudemire and possibly waived Melo with the amnesty provision, but they decided to keep the team’s current core together in hopes of making a title run. They also opted to go the cheaper route by agreeing to a sign-and-trade with Portland where they acquired Ray Felton, and by adding Jason Kidd as a backup.

The Knicks would have been a better team with Lin, and now they’ve upset a big part of their fan base by getting rid of the best thing that’s happened to the team in years. But at that price, and without Mike D’Antoni (under whom Lin flourished as a point guard), it was the right move for the team to make even if it hurts them in the short-term. Linsanity had died and the fans will be satisfied as long as the team wins. That’s something they can do with or without Lin, as long as they manage things well in the future.

As for Houston, this was a good signing for them. GM Daryl Morey finally gets to make well on the mistake he regretted making last year, and the Rockets should have an exciting point guard. But they’re also going to have a tough time building a roster in 2014-2015 when Lin is due $15 million.

Lin’s people must be fuming over this and realizing they overplayed their hand. Lin won’t be as much of a megastar playing in Houston as he was in New York. It won’t even be close. He’ll be great for the Chinese market that the Rockets are popular in thanks to Yao Ming, but Linsanity in the Big Apple is dead. They probably never thought the Knicks wouldn’t match an offer, and didn’t realize until later what they had done.

Ultimately, the Knicks impressed me by not succumbing to fan pressure when they made their decision. Maybe they have their eyes on the bigger prize — Chris Paul next summer.



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