To put it in perspective for Knicks fans, Jerome James was paid more in his first two years and his contract went for five years. The Knicks only need to look at their new neighbors giving Gerald Wallace $40 million/4 years to realize that Lin is a relative bargain. The Knicks should not hesitate to match.
Matching the Rockets offer makes sense both financially and on the court. With Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, Kyle Lowry, Goran Dragic, and Deron Williams all off the market, the list of available point guards does not look very promising. The Knicks must ensure that they have a quality point guard leading their offense or they will look much like they did at the beginning of the 2011-2012 season.
Also, Lin coming back to the Knicks validates the signing of Jason Kidd as Kidd will serve to facilitate Lin's development as a point guard. Before the Rockets agreed to trade Lowry to the Toronto Raptors (ESPN), the Knicks could have landed him in a sign-and-trade for Lin. Now, the Rockets have left the Knicks no choice but to match.
While matching this offer does put the Knicks deep into the luxury tax going forward, does it matter? The Knicks (along with the Lakers) should be teams that laugh in the face of a more punitive luxury tax. I am not advocating reckless spending. I am advocating offering contracts solely for basketball reasons without regard to profits.
However, in the case of Lin, the Knicks do not need to worry about profits. Linsanity showed the power of Jeremy Lin's brand. No only did Asian Americans become interested in the NBA, Lin became the most popular current NBA player in China. The ability to tap into and dominate a market that large should bring the Knicks all sorts of revenue streams.
The Knicks only need to make sure Lin remains a good player. The better Lin becomes, the bigger his marketability will become. His development should continue under the tutelage of Kidd and his growth as a player will lead to the Knicks winning on and off the court.
The Knicks do not want to end this game of point guard musical chairs without a seat. They should leave that to the Rockets who not only will fail to land Jeremy Lin if the Knicks match, but also lost Lowry and Dragic (ESPN). With the point guard market dried up, the Rockets have Shaun Livingston at point guard. Now, they will have to contend with the Dallas Mavericks over the scraps left in the point guard market.
Their only hope is that the Knicks are foolish enough not to match, but this is a move that even Isiah Thomas could not mess up.