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You remember Jeremy, right? The Chinese-American kid from Harvard who owned New York City for 26 games last year?
You probably heard something about him. I think he got a little coverage on SportsCenter. A mention or two, at least.
Anyhow, he was a restricted free agent after last season, and a source famously told ESPN that the Knicks would "match any offer up to $1 billion."
Turns out that mild overstatement didn't scare off the most dogged suitor.
The Rockets knocked themselves out to sign him. Houston offered a three-year, $25 million deal that when New York matched it, Houston restructured the deal to add a "poison pill," a provision that meant the contract would be much more expensive for New York because it would trigger the luxury tax.
Okay. Let's put aside Lin's skill set. Forgot about his level of talent. $25 million over three years is a lot for an unproven point guard.
So either Houston panicked and stampeded after losing out on Dwight Howard, or there is a larger reason for the usually disciplined Rockets to have overpaid for Lin.
And that brings us to the global implications: The Rockets have the largest potential fanbase in the world.
Two words. Yao Ming.
I assure you this statement about the Rockets is true. Remember how Ming got 2.5 million All-Star votes, breaking a record held by Michael Jordan? Or how a game Ming played against another Chinese player, Yi Jianlian, became maybe the most-watched NBA game in history?
The Rockets understand the inroads they made into a market with more than a billion potential fans.
The Lin contract should be viewed not as a desperate team overpaying for an unproven point guard, but as an investment by a globally savvy team that knows how to make an investment pay off handsomely.