Linsanity Moves Off Broadway
Linsanity is officially over in New York City. When the Knicks allowed the deadline to pass without matching the Houston Rockets’ offer to point guard Jeremy Lin, the greatest out-of-nowhere story in sports closed its Broadway run.
A couple of things now appear obvious.
The Rockets employed the “poison pill” tactic to perfection, structuring the offer so that it would cost the Knicks around $45 million in the third year of the contract.
The second item is that Lin wanted out of New York. He’ll never say it, but Lin and his agent knew exactly what they were signing. The Harvard grad realized that it would be an impossible match for the Knicks and he would be free of Mike Woodson’s offense that allows Carmello Anthony to be a ball stopper. Anthony is not a pick-and-roll forward, and doesn’t like to play with a dominant point guard.
And Lin will be the focus of the Rockets’ offense and will get all the shots he wants.
The real winner is the new CBA, and the mostly smaller market teams that are under the salary cap.
The Rockets, not small but well under cap, would have only to pay Lin the $25 million face value of the contract. Because of the new penalties enforced as luxury taxes on teams over the cap, the Knicks would have been obligated to pay $2 in luxury tax for every dollar of salary at their level of cap excess. That’s why year three would have been so expensive.
The Knicks generally throw millions around like rice at a wedding, but even they balked at paying a year of salary and penalty that would have made Jeremy Lin the most expensive one-year player in NBA history. And now New York gets two veteran point guards in Jason Kidd and Raymond Felton for a combined $7 million per year.
As far as marketing opportunities for Lin, Houston isn’t New York, but the Yao Ming connection with China should allow Lin to make far more off the court that he ever will on it. The Knicks must have gritted their teeth when they saw what Lin and the Rockets cooked up, but they could have avoided all of it by offering Lin a decent deal months ago.
Like the man once said, it’s only business.