Everybody hates the New York Knicks.
On Tuesday, Marc Stein of ESPN reported that the Toronto Raptors reached an agreement with Landry Fields in a move that seemed solely predicated to prohibit the Knicks from acquiring Steve Nash. Another report suggests that the Raptors aren’t the only team that’s contemplating sucker punching them.
Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld reported that at least one franchise is considering offering Jeremy Lin a “poison pill” contract. Kennedy goes on to explain:
The amount of money that Lin can make in the first two years of his new deal is limited to $5,000,000 in year one and $5,225,000 in year two. However, teams can offer Lin up to $15,000,000 in the final two years of his deal.
If such a deal were to go down, New York can’t match an offer that massive and keep Lin, Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler long-term.
Melo's, Amar’e's and Chandler’s contracts expire in the summer of 2015. At that point, Anthony would be making over $22.6 million, Stoudemire $23.4 million and Chandler $14.6 million. Throw Lin’s $15 million into that mix and those four players alone would cost over $75.5 million (the NBA salary cap is around $58 million).
One, if not two, of those players would have to go. In the end, though, it’ll ultimately come down to Lin vs. Melo. Chandler is the only player that doesn't create chemistry problems and no one in their right mind would take Stoudemire’s contract in a trade (of course, there’s always the Brooklyn Nets).
Lin and Anthony just don’t fit well together. Each needs his touches and isn’t effective unless the offense is running through their hands.
Who's more important to NY?
Comparing the Knicks’ success with and without the stars makes it quite obvious who they should keep. Last season, New York was 16-10 when Lin was in the starting lineup and 21-24 without him. With Melo in the starting five, they were just 30-29 and without him, 7-4.
Lin also seemed to fit better alongside Stoudemire. While the pair forms a top-notch pick-and-roll duo, the only thing Anthony and Stoudemire create is a game of tug of war.
If a team offers Lin a poison pill deal, New York will have a decision to make that'll set the course of their franchise for the next three years.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.