For all the talk of re-signing Jeremy Lin for up to “$1 billion,” according to a source, the New York Knicks are going to let the point guard move on to Houston by not matching the offer sheet he signed with the Rockets.
And the one reason is money.
Lin inked three-year deal worth more than $25 million, which are not figures that scare the Knicks. But the way the contract is structured, with Lin receiving $14.8 in the final year of the deal, has made New York back off. If the Knicks were to match the offer, they would also be subject to a luxury tax in the third year, bringing their total out-of-pocket cost for Lin to approximately $30 million in 2014-2015.
That’s a lot for a player who has not proven himself over an entire season, even for the deep-pocketed Knicks.
A source close to the process told ESPN.com that the Knicks received the offer sheet Saturday night, meaning they have until 11:59 p.m. ET Tuesday to match it or let Lin go to the Rockets.
Without saying so specifically, Carmelo Anthony let it be known that re-signing Lin might not be prudent based on how the Rockets’ structured the contract offer of $5 million the first year, $5.225 the second and $14.8 the third.
“It’s not up to me,” he told the New York Daily News. “It’s up to the organization to say that they want to match that ridiculous contract.”
Meanwhile, the Knicks traded for Raymond Felton, who has a contract worth $9 million over three years.
Jared Jeffries, headed to Portland in the sign-and-trade deal that will bring Felton to the Knicks, said, “I never thought they would let (Lin) go.”
A source close to Lin told ESPNNewYork.com that the Knicks’ trade for Felton caught Lin off guard.
“He was very surprised,” the source said. “He felt the whole time that the Knicks would just match the offer.”
Initial reports had the Rockets offering Lin a four-year deal for around $28 million. That deal included salaries of more than $9 million in each of the last two years, which would be a big hit on the Knicks’ salary cap.
Still, the organization seemed intent on matching.
“They will match any offer on Lin up to $1 billion,” a source told ESPN.com’s Stein last week.
Knicks coach Mike Woodson said Wednesday that Lin would not only be back but would enter next season as the Knicks’ starting point guard.
Does not look that way now.