[Update] The Knicks are expected to match Houston’s offer on Jeremy Lin—though they could be scared off by a back-loaded contract that forces them to pay heaby luxury tax in 2014-15.
Jeremy Lin, the former Harvard guard who made a month-long splash in the NBA last season with the New York Knicks before suffering a knee injury, plans to spend his 4th of July in Houston discussing a contract offer from the Rockets.
Lin became a phenomenon with his stellar play that included scoring 38 points against the Los Angelese Lakers on national television. The Asian-American’s play leveled off after teams began to game-plan for him, but he still displayed scoring and passing acumen.
He wants to remain with the Knicks, reports say, and New York has the right of first refusal, meaning it can match any offer sheet he signs to retain him.
If Lin is offered a back-loaded contract that pays him an eight-figure salary in the third and fourth years, the Knicks could be hesitant to match the offer. With the new collective bargaining agreement employing a more punitive luxury tax beginning in the 2013-14 season, the Knicks are extremely concerned about the financial ramifications of such a deal.
The Knicks can offer Lin a four-year deal worth $24.5 million. But an opposing team can offer Lin a poison pill that could go as high as $40 million over four years. Such a contract would pay Lin $5 million in each of the first two years and then go as high as $15 million in each of the last two years.
Matching such a contract would give the Knicks four players — Lin, Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler — making more than $14 million in the 2014-2015 season. Those four players alone would have a combined salary of $72 million, nearly $2 million above the luxury tax.