The New York Knicks haven't been a decisive hit during free agency, but they haven't been a miss either.
There's still time to salvage it, too. By matching Jeremy Lin's offer sheet, they can officially move into "hit" territory.
Last week, Lin was issued a four-year, $28.8 million offer sheet from the Rockets, and according to Marc Berman of the New York Post, the Knicks plan to match it as soon as Wednesday. An official agreement between Lin and the Knicks, though, couldn't come soon enough.
According to Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News, a source said that Lin is miffed that the Knicks didn't offer him a deal before the Rockets, and it's going to take time—and work—for that relationship to be mended.
As a result, it's imperative that the Knicks match the Rockets' offer, lock Lin up for at least the next three years and then move on to the next item on the agenda. That is, patching up the personal relationship with the fan favorite, especially after the Rockets planted a seed of doubt in Lin's head that the Knicks aren't all that interested in him.
A source told Lawrence:
[Lin] was surprised that the Knicks didn’t make the first move. They know they’ve got to mend some fences with him because he believes what the Rockets have told him, that the Knicks weren’t as interested as they are.
The Knicks can't afford to have a disgruntled Jeremy Lin on their team. They need to make him feel welcome and wanted, which, by all indications, he should be.
In his second year in the league, and his first with New York, Lin stepped in admirably for the injury-riddled Knicks and quickly established himself as an up-and-comer in the league. He registered 14.6 points, 6.2 assists and 1.6 steals in about 27 minutes per game.
His season was cut short by a meniscus tear in his left knee that required surgery, but his impact on the team was resounding. For most of February and March, Lin was the most exciting player in the NBA. His jersey was flying off the racks, and most importantly, he got Knicks fans reinvested in the team—not to mention the fact that he played a big part in helping the Knicks make a run toward the playoffs.
Lin clearly wants to stay with the Knicks. Despite the fact that the NBA is a business, just like any other place of employment, it's understandable that Lin is unhappy that the Knicks didn't come after him as soon as free agency began. It's easy to see how he believed what the Rockets allegedly told him—that the Knicks don't want him all that bad.
The Knicks need Lin, and they're getting him for a reasonable price. According to Berman, only the first three years and $20.3 million of Lin's proposed contract are guaranteed. He may be relatively unproven, but there's no question that he completely rejuvenated this franchise when it desperately needed a boost last winter. There's also the fact that Lin proved last season that he can be the one to put fans in the seats, which is no small feat.
Now is the time to match that offer sheet and make sure Lin knows that this team truly wants him, before it's too late.