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Knicks Let Jeremy Lin Walk Because of Money

Everyone knew it, but no one in the New York Knicks hierarchy said it. Until now.

General manger Glen Grunwald finally addressed the team’s decision to not match an offer sheet Jeremy Lin signed with the Houston Rockets this summer.

“Basically, it comes down to the fact that Houston made a commitment to him that we weren’t prepared to make,” Grunwald said on Monday about the 3-year, $25.1 million offer the Rockets made to Lin last July. “But I’m very happy for Jeremy that things worked out for him personally and for his family and I wish him the best.

“I’m more excited for our team, the team we assembled right now. We’re very excited and optimistic about this coming year.”

Added coach Mike Woodson: “I’m not going to discuss Jeremy Lin. I think as a franchise we wish Jeremy nothing but the best. It’s a process that we went through and we were able to get a player by the name of Raymond Felton, and a guy by the name of Jason Kidd, a Pablo (Prigioni) in here. … As an organization and as coach I wish Jeremy nothing but the best.”

Meanwhile, Lin said to the Houston Chronicle Monday on why he signed with the Rockets: “(The Rockets) talked to me about building the culture, about how Coach (Kevin) McHale wants to play, what he believes in. They were saying stuff, but I already knew what I had seen in training camp. In some ways, it didn’t really matter what they were going to say. I knew how they operated. I know how Coach McHale coaches and what he says to the team and what he expects. It made sense for me because I buy into what he says.

Back in July, the Knicks decided not to match Houston’s offer to Lin, which included a $14.8 million payment in Year 3.

If the Knicks matched the offer, they would have been subject to a luxury tax in the third year, potentially bringing their total out-of-pocket cost for the team’s salary to about $43 million in 2014-15. So the team decided to let him walk to Houston and instead obtained Felton in a sign-and-trade with Portland.

Felton thrived in a previous stint with the Knicks, averaging 17 points and nine assists in 54 games during the 2010-11 season. He was sent to Denver in February of that year in the trade that brought in Carmelo Anthony.

Now he’s back. The 28-year-old had a sub-par season in Portland last year. He admittedly came into camp out of shape and averaged just 11.5 points and 6.5 assists on 41 percent shooting.

“I was out of shape when we first went there,” Felton said on Monday at the team’s annual media day. “I’m in shape now, ready to go and I’ve got a big, big chip on my shoulder. So I look forward to this season and I’m definitely happy to be back in this New York Knicks jersey.”

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