New York Knicks Free Agency: The Importance of Jeremy Lin
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At this point in time, it is uncertain where Jeremy Lin will be playing basketball next season.
According to ESPN, his current team, the New York Knicks, have executed a sign-and-trade with the Portland Trailblazers to acquire point guard Raymond Felton. The deal has forced many to question whether or not the Knicks will be matching the offer made by the Houston Rockets and keep Lin next season.
By signing their third point guard of the free agency period, the Knicks have given themselves the depth at the position they so desperately missed last season. They now have until 11:59 PM EST on Tuesday to decide whether they want the Harvard graduate to add even more depth to the roster.
Although there are financial reasons to let Lin go, it is simply mandatory that New York get him back.
As reported by The New York Times, the offer Lin signed with the Rockets is designed to hurt the Knicks financially in that it gives Lin a $14.9 million salary in the third year of the contract. This means if the Knicks match the offer, they would have $77 million tied up in four players (Lin, Amar'e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler) in 2014-2015.
The Knicks would be forced to pay the luxury tax at that point.
It would be a shame to let the luxury tax scare the Knicks out of a player like Lin. Forbes has already listed the Knicks as the second most valuable team in the NBA, and Lin's marketing potential is nearly unparalleled.
According to ESPN, Jeremy Lin's jersey was the highest seller in the NBA for both February and March of 2012 and was the second-best seller since April 2011 despite Lin not getting playing time for the first 10 months of that span. Playing in one of the largest markets in the league, Lin became an absolute superstar and attracted a huge demographic by being the first successful Asian-American in the history of the league.
Yes, $25 million over three years is a lot, but Lin's meteoric rise should tell the Knicks he is well worth it in marketing value alone.
Beyond financial reasons, Lin is a hot commodity for his skills as well. Despite only starting 25 games last season, Lin showed considerable potential on the court. He penetrated superbly and drew contact often.
He also did a excellent job of finding teammates like Steve Novak for open shots and knocked down 32 percent of his three-point attempts.
His 14.6 points and 6.2 assists are impressive enough, but Lin was and is more than numbers. Not every player can drain a three-pointer at the buzzer to beat the Toronto Raptors and drop 38 points on the Lakers. Not every player can rejuvenate Madison Square Garden.
The Knicks owe it to Lin and they owe it to themselves to give him more than 35 games.
As New York saw last season with the injuries to Jeremy Lin and Baron Davis as well the disappearance of Toney Douglas, you can never have too many point guards. Jeremy Lin is the best man to create that depth, and he must return.
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