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Jeremy Lin became a Houston Rocket this week, and Knicks fans are outraged. The reaction has been ridiculous on all sides, really. But don't let it ruin Jeremy Lin for you.
Jeremy Lin was assured by nearly everyone at the top of the New York Knicks organization, from head coach Mike Woodson to owner James Dolan, that the he would continue to be an important part of the team for the 2012-13 season. At 11:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, however, general manager Glen Grunwald called Lin and told him that the Knicks would not be matching the Houston Rockets' three-year, $25.1 million offer sheet.
Lin spoke with SI.com on Wednesday to discuss what happened during one of the offseason's most hotly-discussed free agency signings.
"Honestly, I preferred New York," Lin says. "But my main goal in free agency was to go to a team that had plans for me and wanted me. I wanted to have fun playing basketball. ... Now I'm definitely relieved."
The phone call reportedly lasted just 30 seconds. Grunwald thanked Lin and wished him luck, and Lin returned a kind word towards the Knicks. If Lin feels like he was misled in anyway, he didn't show it. He had nothing to say but nice things to say about New York City, the Knicks and the fans that helped make Linsanity possible.
"I love the New York fans to death," Lin says. "That's the biggest reason why I wanted to return to New York. The way they embraced me, the way they supported us this past season, was better than anything I've ever seen or experienced. I'll go to my grave saying that. What New York did for me was unbelievable. I wanted to play in front of those fans for the rest of my career."
The Rockets, meanwhile, have seemingly embraced Lin with open arms, going so far as to admit they made a mistake when they cut him last December.
Jeremy Lin has left the New York Knicks for the Houston Rockets, James Dolan is probably really mad about the poison pill that Daryl Morey force-fed him, and there's going to be less merchandise sold at Madison Square Garden this season. Lost in all this is that the Rockets got a shiny new point guard, and they have fans who matter too.
Tom Martin at The Dream Shake wrote about Lin's acquisition, which he called a good move. He's expecting Lin to become a legitimate starting NBA point guard, but not a superstar.
So at the end of the day, what can we expect from Lin? I'd say we're looking at a point guard who will fall just inside the top 20 in the league once he gets used to his teammates. Maybe 13 to 15 points per game with six to seven assists? Defensively, Lin will probably struggle, but on offense I don't think the Rockets will lose much from the position. This is a good move for Houston, perhaps more for our spirits than for wins, but the wins should come in time, too.
I almost forgot to mention, he's only 23 years old. That's as encouraging as anything else.
Meanwhile, Brian McDonald of SB Nation Houston is a little more skeptical. He decided to cross the streams and compare Lin's signing to a recent poor signing by the Houston Astros.
Kaz Matsui in two and half seasons (239 games) with the Mets hit for a .256 batting average with a .308 on base percentage, .363 slugging percentage, and scored 106 runs. During a season and a half with the Rockies (136 games), Matsui had a .300 batting average, .350 on base percentage, .426 slugging percentage and scored 106 runs; night and day difference. His numbers were inflated by playing at Coors Field, the Astros gave him a stupid three year contract for 16.5 million, and he was a disaster in Houston with .259 batting average.
No one's expecting Lin to duplicate Linsanity, but a consistent four years of starter-level play will suit Rockets fans just fine.
Jeremy Lin will officially be heading to the Houston Rockets for the 2012-13 season and beyond. The New York Knicks declined to match Houston's back-loaded offer sheet and will not be retaining the services of the point guard who became an instant sensation and cult hero in the Big Apple last season. Understandably, most Knicks fans are not happy with the move.
Seth at Posting and Toasting puts it as magnanimously as a Knicks fan may be able to at this point:
Farewell, Jeremy. You were a fine Knick and you made me as happy as I've ever been as a Knicks fan. Best of luck in Houston.
It'll be interesting to see if the Knicks release any detailed official statement or explanation for their actions. They haven't yet and I won't be surprised if they don't, because it sounds like they've handled this entire ordeal with as little class and professional courtesy as possible. At least Jeremy himself has now been notified directly. If the organization had any dignity left, this would be pretty humiliating. We've already covered every reason why this decision is baffling, but the way the Knicks went about it (right down to the fact that they apparently changed their minds just a few days ago, too late to try to get anything in return for Lin) just makes it suck more. Oh well.
There are thousands of comments from Knicks fans at Posting and Toasting since Tuesday and they run the gamut of emotion, from gratitude to Lin, to sadness at his departure, to anger at the Knicks' front office, to ... well, that covers most of it, actually. A comment from gymtanlandy suggests that the Knicks are "the most poorly managed team in all of sports." Most New York fans seem to be hard-pressed to disagree at the moment.
The New York Knicks will not match Jeremy Lin's three-year, $25.1 million offer sheet with the Houston Rockets, a Knicks spokesman confirmed to multiple reporters. Rockets GM Daryl Morey celebrated the decision on Twitter:
New York's decision wasn't a surprise, in part because Morey included a "poison pill" third year that would have forced the Knicks into paying an exorbitant luxury tax. After making a combined $11 million in the first two years of the contract, Lin will make $14.9 million in his third season alone. As the New York Times' Howard Beck previously reported, that sum would have triggered a luxury tax penalty of $35 million or more for the Knicks given their existing payroll commitments.
So instead, Lin returns to Houston. Lin played for the Rockets in the preseason last December before being released one day before the start of the regular season -- and several weeks before becoming a household name with the Knicks. Instead of fighting for a roster spot, he returns with a guaranteed starting job -- not to mention an extra comma on his paycheck and a worldwide following of fans.
Linsanity will be relocating to Houston next season. The New York Knicks have decided not to match the three-year, $25 million offer sheet presented by the Rockets, according to Howard Beck of the New York Times. This means that Lin will be a member of the Rockets next season.
The news concludes a bizarre few days in which the Rockets tried everything they could to steal Lin away and the Knicks stalled for time. In an attempt to increase the financial pain the Knicks would suffer if they kept Lin, the Rockets decided to exercise a little-used clause in the CBA that would have escalated Lin's salary to $14.9 million in the third year had the Knicks kept him. The Knicks were upset that the Rockets made this late increase and dodged the official paperwork in an attempt to prevent the three-day window to decide on restricted free agents from beginning. In that time, the Knicks traded for Raymond Felton to replace Lin on the roster.
Lin dazzled the basketball nation by starring in a 35-game sample after bouncing around the fringes of the league, but the Knicks, who already owe a combined $62 million in 2014-15 to Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler, were reluctant to have another high-salaried player on the roster, given the more punitive luxury-tax penalties that exist in the new CBA.
The Knicks (who supposedly love Jeremy Lin) and Lin (who supposedly loves the Knicks) could have avoided this whole disaster if only they had kept that meddling Daryl Morey out of the picture. Why didn't they?
The Hook is a daily NBA column by Tom Ziller. See the archives.
Only in the NBA can a team waive a crazy contract to make enough salary cap space to sign another crazy contract. The Hook looks at how strategic amnesty has led to a spate of massive free agent deals.
New York Knicks fans and Houston Rockets fans are both waiting anxiously to find out what will become of superstar point guard Jeremy Lin. It is believed that the Knicks have until Tuesday to match an offer from the Rockets for Lin's services, or else let the restricted free agent walk. As of Sunday, it is looking less and less likely that Linsanity will return to the Big Apple.
One of the factors the Knicks will have to weigh on whether to match the huge offer from the Rockets is how a big contact for Lin might negatively affect the New York locker room. Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated was able to get these comments from shooting guard J.R. Smith:
"I'm sure the city would love to have him back, but the team decided to go in a different direction," Smith said. "It's nothing personal, I don't think, just business. We just hope everybody can benefit from here.
"I don't really know how Mr. Dolan feels at this point with what the luxury tax is now and what it used to be, but I just hope it works out the best for both of them."
Asked if Lin's contract could cause a challenging dynamic with his teammates, Smith agreed.
"Without a doubt," he said. "I think some guys take it personal, because they've been doing it longer and haven't received any reward for it yet. I think it's a tough subject to touch on for a lot of guys."
This story will likely not resolve for a few more days while the Knicks mull over how badly they feel they need Lin to return.
Reports surfaced Saturday night that the Knicks were close to acquiring Raymond Felton through a sign-and-trade with the Blazers. Well, apparently whatever was holding the deal back is no longer, as the Knicks acquired Felton, according to a report from Frank Isola.
This is a bit of a reunion deal for the Knicks as they acquire two players with previous stops in New York. Felton played 54 games for the Knicks during the 2010-11 season while Kurt Thomas spent seven seasons in New York (his last was 2004-05). Felton posted the best numbers of his career during his first stint with the Knicks, averaging 17.1 points and 9.0 assists per game. Felton will reportedly sign a three-year $10 million contract.
Blazers will sign guard Raymond Felton to a three-year, $10 million deal and then trade him to Knicks in sign and trade, source tells Y!— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 15, 2012
The acquisition of Felton likely confirms the Knicks will not match the offer sheet Jeremy Lin signed with the Houston Rockets. Instead New York will rely on Jason Kidd and Felton to hand the point guard duties.
As Jeremy Lin tested restricted free agency, there was very little concern from Knicks camp. New York was reportedly willing to match any offer Lin received. However, that changed Saturday night, and now there are reports indicating Lin could be headed to the Houston Rockets. One of the main causes for the change from the Knicks could be the use of a loophole by the Rockets.
Rockets found loophole that would cost them $8 million on third year of Lin offer sheet and Knicks $15 million, source tells Y! Sports.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 15, 2012
The extra cost is a major factor when it comes to the NBA's luxury tax system.
Luxury tax team NYK fear of matching Lin deal understandable when 3rd year of tough to trade contract would cost $15 million,source tells Y!— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 15, 2012
So much for this, I guess. It's a clever poison pill contract written by the Knicks.
Source with knowledge of Knicks' thinking: "They will match any offer on Lin up to 1 billion dollars"— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 5, 2012
The New York Knicks will have three days to match the offer sheet the Houston Rockets have signed Jeremy Lin to. That is, as soon as they get the aforementioned sheet. And the Knicks, by all reports, will do that, bringing back the player who electrified Madison Square Garden and the NBA in the 2011-12 season.
But if they don't? The Knicks may well turn to their last competent, exciting point guard, Raymond Felton. Yahoo!'s Marc J. Spears reports that the Knicks are nearing a deal that will bring Felton back to New York — and that Linsanity's marriage to the MSG crowd may be over.
Knicks close to obtaining point guard Raymond Felton in sign and trade with Blazers, source tells Y! Sports.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 15, 2012
Jeremy Lin appears close to being a Houston Rocket with Raymond Felton to NY deal close to being done, sources tell Y!— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 15, 2012
Spears is far from the only person reporting a Felton-Knicks link: the New York Daily News' Frank Isola and Houston Chronicle's Jonathan Feigen both reported talks happening shortly before Spears reported the potential deal.
Felton played all of 54 games for the Knicks in 2010-11 before being included in the package that pried Carmelo Anthony from Denver. He was excellent in those 54, averaging 17 points and nine assists per game. But it won't be Mike D'Antoni's offense Felton would run in New York in 2012 and beyond, and Felton's lack of conditioning during the NBA lockout limited him as a Blazer in 2011-12.
Jeremy Lin has signed the Houston Rockets' new, renegotiated offer sheet. But, despite going to seemingly Herculean lengths, the Rockets haven't gotten it to Knicks GM Glen Grunwald yet, according to the Houston Chronicle's Jonathan Feigen.
The saga continues. The Rockets did not deliver the Lin offer sheet, after all. Imagining a PI in a trench coat staking out Tao.— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) July 14, 2012
The league had already made clear that the offer sheet needs to be delivered to Grunwald, not just sent to the Knicks' Madison Square Garden offices, which likely means that there is a hapless Rockets front office staffer looking all over Las Vegas — where many NBA personnel are for Summer League action — for him.
This all matters because the Knicks will apparently have three days from receipt of the offer sheet to match any deal, which they have indicated they will do, and they can certainly drag the affair out for all of those 72 hours if they want, forcing Houston to keep an iron in the fire that might distract from other offseason work, like ironing out a Dwight Howard trade.
The Houston Rockets and general manager Daryl Morey altered their offer sheet for point guard Jeremy Lin, bumping the guaranteed money in the deal from $19 million to $25 million. Lin agreed to an offer sheet with the Rockets when he visited Houston last week, and was then expected to make it official this week when the NBA's free agency moratorium ended. That agreement was a backloaded deal reportedly worth $28.8 million over four years, with a team option on the final year.
But Lin traveled to Las Vegas on Friday to meet with the Rockets and both sides renegotiated a new deal. According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, the Knicks were unaware of Lin's visit to Las Vegas and are angered by the new agreed-upon offer sheet. The new deal is for three years and $25 million, all of it guaranteed. The team option fourth year has been wiped out, and the backloaded third year jumped from $9.3 million in the original offer to $14 million in the newly signed sheet.
Berman cited a source who indicated that Morey re-arranged the offer sheet because of the widespread reports that the Knicks would match any and all offers for the restricted Lin:
According to a source, Morey upped the offer because he heard the Knicks easily would match the old offer and had lost all his point guards.
The increased third year "poison pill" will likely have dramatic luxury-tax implications for James Dolan and the Knicks, should they match. They are scheduled to have $87 million committed to just eight players in three years, which should be well above the luxury tax line.
While Morey is citing a dearth of point guards as a reason for re-doing the deal, he's also clearly taking advantage of the Knicks proclamations that they would match, including one comical report stating they would match "any offer up to $1 billion dollars." The Knicks now have three days to match.
Restricted free agent point guard Jeremy Lin will make it official and sign his offer sheet with the Houston Rockets on Friday, according to Howard Beck of The New York Times. Lin and the Rockets agreed on the offer sheet last week when he visited Houston.
While Rockets general manager Daryl Morey was adamant on coming to terms with Lin, the Knicks have been just as determined to match any offers. The clock for matching the four year, $28.8 million offer from Houston will start on Friday, according to Beck:
Jeremy Lin will likely sign his $28.8 mil offer sheet w/Houston on Friday, I'm told. That will start 3-day clock for Knicks to match.— Howard Beck (@HowardBeckNYT) July 12, 2012
All indications are that the Knicks have already decided to match the offer, despite the potential luxury tax implications the backloaded contract may have on their salary cap situation in the future.
The New York Knicks agreed to terms with free agent point guard Jason Kidd on Thursday, but that doesn't mean they're giving up on Jeremy Lin. The Houston Rockets might want the Knicks to do that considering the offer they made to Lin on Thursday, but apparently Linsanity isn't going anywhere.
Quite a few people assumed the Knicks planned to match the offer, but the New York Post's Marc Berman quoted from a source confirming as much for his story on Friday morning.
"He's their guy," one NBA official debriefed on the Knicks' strategy said. "They'll match."
The Knicks officially will be presented the offer sheet Wednesday, the day the NBA's free-agency moratorium ends, and will have three days to match it. It should take them three minutes.
Matching the offer will push the Knicks further into the luxury tax during the third year of Lin's contract, but New York apparently believes his on-court abilities and the ability to contribute to off-court marketing strategies will help make up for the luxury tax bill ... and that will almost certainly be the case.
The Rockets' offer sheet for Jeremy Lin — who was cut by Houston in 2011 before spawning Linsanity in New York in early 2012 — approaches $30 million, and makes a lot of sense for a team that has no point guards at the moment. But the Rockets may be playing a long game that isn't really even about acquiring Lin at all.
Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski lays some of Houston GM Daryl Morey's cards on the table:
As one rival GM said: "Houston knows New York will match, but it will be more money for them in the tax distribution in three years."— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 6, 2012
That idea, that Houston would throw out offer sheets it knows other teams will have to match because it will drive up prices and make money for the Rockets when luxury tax revenue is redistributed to the league, does pass the smell test for logic.
Of course, there's a more logical gambit Houston's likely employing at the same time. Driving up the market for players means forcing teams into tough choices about how they spend their money. But Morey's "genius" reputation being what it is, the "We'll make them pay more and they'll end up paying us more!" explanation is definitely going to be the one fans and observers remember.
The Houston Rockets and Jeremy Lin reached an agreement on an offer sheet for the restricted free agent point guard. Lin visited with the Rockets on Wednesday and many expected General Manager Daryl Morey to make a substantial offer. Initial reports indicated that the offer sheet would be for four years and at least $31 million.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! sports reports that the offer sheet is a three-year deal with a club option for a fourth. As expected, the four-year deal is backloaded with Lin's salary spiking to more than $9 million in the last two years of the contract. Wojnarowski again with the details of the contract:
Offer sheet for Lin will pay him $5M in year one, $5.2M in year two and $9.3M in years three and again in team option year four, source says.
Despite the agreement on the offer sheet, it is expected that the New York Knicks will match the deal and retain the rights for Lin. One source conveyed the Knicks' adamant wishes to match in no uncertain terms to ESPN's Marc Stein:
Source with knowledge of Knicks' thinking: "They will match any offer on Lin up to 1 billion dollars"— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 5, 2012
The Knicks may have to take a luxury tax hit when Lin's deal increases in the third year, but all indications are that James Dolan and the front office will match the Rockets' offer.
The point guard position continues to be the center of a wild week of NBA Free Agency. One day after the Lakers landed Steve Nash, the New York Knicks, who missed in their bid for Nash, reportedly edged out the Dallas Mavericks for veteran Jason Kidd.
With Kidd now in the fold, the immediate focus turned to the Knicks' decision on Jeremy Lin, a restricted free agent point guard who received an offer sheet worth at least $31 million from the Houston Rockets. The Knicks were expected to match offers for Lin and, according to Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated, the addition of Kidd has not changed that plan:
With Jason Kidd shocking Mavs and opting for NY, source says Knicks still expected to match Jeremy Lin offer sheets. They want 1-2 PG punch.— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) July 5, 2012
Despite the three-year deal, Kidd is obviously past his prime and in the sunset of his career -- creating a continued need for Lin, even if it requires matching the hefty offer sheet from the Rockets.
Free-agent point guard Jeremy Lin has drawn interest from a few teams, and has especially caught the eye of the Houston Rockets. The New York Knicks have the ability to match the Rockets' offer to Lin, but Lin is reportedly considering the current four-year offer from Houston.
Rockets general manager Daryl Morey had his second crack at Jeremy Lin yesterday and offered him a back-loaded deal worth at least $31 million, and he was mulling it over late last night.
Because the Knicks were ditched by Steve Nash, sources have indicated the club is as intent as ever in matching any Lin offer sheet before the free-agent signing moratorium ends July 11.
Lin was released by Houston 12 days into training camp last season, which allowed the Knicks to claim him. After losing Goran Dragic, the Rockets are in the hunt for a new point guard and appear willing to give Lin a second chance with the club, admitting their mistake of waiving him last season.
Restricted free agent Jeremy Lin is expected to receive an offer sheet from the Houston Rockets during his meeting with the club on Wednesday. Marc Berman of the New York Post reports that the Rockets are likely to offer a back-loaded contract comparable to the one they gave RFA Omer Asik. Rockets GM Daryl Morey also spoke to the Post about adding Lin:
A league source said Lin will be offered a contract today - maybe in the $30 million range - in a back-loaded nature similar to the one the Rockets offered Bulls big man Omir Asik.
"Jeremy Lin's an excellent player,'' Rockets general manager Daryl Morey told The Post. "We got to know him firsthand when he was with the Rockets early this season. We think he'd make a fantastic addition to our team.''
There is some speculation about whether the Knicks will match the offer sheet from the Rockets. Initial reports indicated that New York would be willing to match any offer in order to retain Lin, but the potential luxury tax penalties may be an issue for owner James Dolan. Seth of Posting and Toasting thinks that regardless of the offer coming out of today's meeting with Houston, the Knicks must make the move to match:
I think the Knicks will match anything, and I think the Knicks should match anything. I have doubts about luxury tax payment being a huge problem for Dolan because: 1. He's paid it before. 2. The Knicks look like they'll be taxpayers in 2014-2015 anyway. 3. Jeremy Lin almost certainly makes the Knicks a lot of extra money simply by being Jeremy Lin. He definitely did that last season.
On top of the luxury tax stuff, I think Jeremy's worth the investment and the risk therein. Even once "Linsanity" died down, Lin produced very nicely for a 23-year-old point guard and the team won more than it lost with him in charge.
Housekeeping note: Rockets swingman Courtney Lee is now an unrestricted free agent after Rockets withdraw his qualifying offer— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 3, 2012
The Rockets are reportedly hot after free agent point guard Jeremy Lin, and pulling their offer for Lee has some speculating that it's a way to make room for Lin on the roster. It's still possible, though unlikely, the Rockets will try to keep Lee.
Lee should garner plenty of interest on the open market for his services. Originally drafted by the Orlando Magic, Lee was traded to the Brooklyn Nets in a move for Vince Carter, and then part of a four-team deal that sent him to the Houston Rockets. Lee played in 139 games for the Rockets over the past two seasons.
The Houston Rockets, who are suddenly mired in a difficult negotiation for their own free-agent point guard, Goran Dragic, will reportedly explore a well-known alternative. The Rockets will spend their July 4 meeting with New York Knicks restricted free agent Jeremy Lin, according to a report from Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.
It would seem unlikely that the Rockets could steal Lin away from the Knicks, but New York general manager Glen Grunewald has decided to let Lin explore his market instead of aggressively trying to keep him. The Knicks have been interested in Steve Nash and had been working on potential sign-and-trade arrangements to land him. That effort took a hit with the Raptors signing Landry Fields, a key cog in a potential sign-and-trade deal with the Suns, to an offer sheet.
While the Knicks would likely want to match Lin, the Rockets could make it difficult by giving Lin a poison pill contract that would cause his contract to escalate in the third year. The Rockets pulled a similar maneuver in giving Chicago Bulls center Omer Asik an offer sheet over the weekend.
In a major surprise, an arbitrator ruled in favor of New York Knicks free agents Jeremy Lin and Steve Novak, allowing the players to receive early-Bird free agent rights that will allow the Knicks to sign them and maintain their mid-level exception, according to Howard Beck of the New York Times. This affords the Knicks a better opportunity to re-sign both players.
Prior to the ruling, the Knicks would have had to use a section of their mid-level exception, a mechanism for teams over the salary cap to sign free agents up to the average NBA salary, to keep Lin and Novak. This was because both players were claimed by the Knicks after having been waived by other teams. Now, however, the Knicks can re-sign them and still have the mid-level exception to use on other team's free agents.
In addition to Lin and Novak, Chauncey Billups of the Clippers and J.J. Hickson of the Blazers now have full Bird rights. Both players were claimed by teams after being released -- Billups with the Amnesty clause, Hickson at the trade deadline.
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