Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Knicks Decline to Match Jeremy Lin's Offer Sheet With Rockets
As quickly as "Linsanity" took over all of New York City, it seems as though it's come to an end just as fast.
Just twenty-five starts in, and Jeremy Lin's Knicks tenure officially (somewhat shockingly) came to a close as the team opted not to match the guard's $25.1 million offer sheet from the Houston Rockets.
Though the Knicks had publicly made Lin a top priority heading into the offseason, a change in offered contract terms (from an originally reported four-year, $28.8 million deal to the new three-pact instead) by the Rockets seemed to do Knicks' brass in. With ramifications already high as New York looks prepared to dive head-first into luxury tax territory, Lin's salary in the third year of the contract (an estimated $14.9 million) may have been too poisonous of a pill for the team to swallow.
But was the decision not to keep Lin in the fold purely financial? Were tensions between the two sides running amuck following the bold change in contract terms? Or perhaps the Knicks simply didn't believe Lin was worth such a substantial investment, given his small sample size to date as a starting point guard.
Nothing can be determined for sure (or completely ruled out, for that matter) until when/if team officials opt to comment further on their decision not to roll the dice on Lin for a second time.
During his time as the Knicks' starting floor general, Lin averaged an astonishing 18.2 points and 7.7 assists per game. He not only stepped up when the team needed it most (in fact leading the way to a seven-game winning streak in February), but also helped elevate the play of multiple teammates, most notably Landry Fields and Steve Novak. Both Lin and Fields were also honored as members of the "Rising Stars Challenge" during NBA All-Star Weekend.
In Houston, Lin will not only have continued opportunities to shine, but perhaps an even better shot at making the All-Star team. While this may be pre-marure to say based on Lin's still developing talent-level, the large Asian fan-base in the city (largely due to Yao Ming's Rockets tenure) just may be enough to propel Lin to such an accomplishment.
Would Lin's growing popularity and fame have become an issue in the Knicks locker room? It's difficult to say. Nevertheless, Lin now has a team of his own to help lead. The Harvard graduate is certainly a nice starting piece, especially should the Rockets still aim to eventually acquire Dwight Howard.
Whether or not Lin will be able to maintain the level of play which he had during the outburst of "Linsanity" remains to be seen. That said, there's no denying his efficient play was infectious for the Knicks, and the electricity and excitement surrounding what he would be next just oozed out of The Garden crowd each and every night.
Both Lin's local and international fame were on such a level, that it was even rare for a big market like New York City to encounter such a phenomenon Who knows what sponsorships and marketing campaigns await him in Houston, but make no mistake they would have continued to rack up in the Big Apple as well.
The money Lin stood to consistently make the Knicks in endorsements may have been enough for others to justify paying such a high price for an otherwise arguably unproven player. By not matching Lin's offer sheet, New York proved with their actions that they simply did not believe that.
Regardless of what the fans demanded, there were obviously pros and cons to both retaining Lin or allowing him to walk. Hopefully the Knicks will, at the very least, provide its fan-base with some sort of an explanation either way.