The disseminated notion that the New York Knicks would pay up to $1 billion to keep Jeremy Lin around for the foreseeable future might not find a place in reality; indications Saturday are that the team might pass on matching the Harvard graduate’s offer from Houston.
Though the Knicks have not officially declined to match the Rocket’s offer to Lin, the team’s trade for its former starting point guard Raymond Felton Saturday strongly indicates it will do so. With Felton and Jason Kidd on the roster, Lin would seem superfluous, and that reality makes matching his back-loaded, three-year, $25.1 million offer significantly less appealing, especially given the hefty luxury tax implications that would linger on the horizon.
The trade for Felton, who started for New York during the 2010-11 season until being traded in the Carmelo Anthony deal, was a sign-and-trade deal that also brings veteran Kurt Thomas back to Madison Square Garden. In exchange for those players, Portland receives Jared Jeffries, Dan Gadzuric and a 2016 second round pick.
Houston, which was the team that waived Lin prior to his “Linsanity” explosion in New York, lost free agent Goran Dragic and traded fellow point guard Kyle Lowry earlier this offseason, moves that both indicated confidence in acquiring Lin. While media continued to stomp on that dream, noting that there was no way New York would let Lin go, it suddenly appears that there might have been some merit to Houston’s hope.