Jeremy Lin: New York Knicks Must Match Offer Sheet for Young Point Guard
The New York Knicks' recent trade for Raymond Felton seems to indicate that they will not be bringing back Jeremy Lin, but this decision would be disastrous for the organization.
Frank Isola of the New York Daily News first reported the trade via Twitter.
The Knicks have acquired Raymond Felton and Kurt Thomas from Portland for Jared Jeffries and Dan Gadzuric, sources tell the Daily News— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) July 15, 2012
ESPN's Stephen A. Smith then reported that the Knicks will not match the Houston Rockets' offer sheet for Lin, which is a three-year deal worth more than $25 million. The contract would reportedly pay Lin $5 million in year one, $5.225 million in year two and $14.8 million in year three.
That spike in the third year is apparently the Knicks' main deterrent, as it would put them over the luxury tax and cost them around $30 million in 2014-15.
While that is a shocking amount of money for a largely unproven 23-year-old, I'm surprised the Knicks are concerned about the monetary aspects of this deal.
James Dolan is president and CEO of Cablevision, the company that owns the Knicks. According to HoopsHype, the company's net worth is $494 million, and the current value of the Knicks is $780 million. Seems to me like a little venture into luxury tax territory wouldn't exactly be devastating for Dolan and Co.
Also, you have to consider the money the Knicks could make because of Lin. Linsanity became a legitimate global phenomenon in February, after the previously unheralded Lin averaged 20.9 points and 8.4 assists per game during the month.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images
With his unique story, he appeals to so many people. There's his Asian-American heritage, his Harvard education, his outspoken belief in Christianity and his classic American underdog tale. Throw in the fact that he was highly successful last season, and Lin is marketing gold.
Sure, he comes with a hefty price tag. But just think of all the jerseys sold, the television deals, the expansion of the Knicks' brand in China and other Asian countries. If money is the issue in not re-signing Lin, I'm not really sure what the Knicks are thinking.
What should the Knicks do with Lin?
And really, money has to be the deciding factor here, because basketball-wise, Lin is clearly a better option than Felton.
First of all, Lin isn't lazy, perpetually out of shape, and he's never publicly blamed his head coach for his own terrible play like Felton. He's also more than four years younger, and as Ryan Feldman of ESPN Stats & Info recently wrote, he's much better than Felton in isolation and pick-and-roll sets offensively.
Lin is also a slightly better defender than Felton, and although we have a relatively small sample size when examining his play, he appears to have more upside.
Yes, Felton was successful in his previous one-year stint in New York. And yes, Lin's contract is scary at first.
Still, Lin is the younger, better and more marketable player. By letting him go, the Knicks would be making a terrible mistake.
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