After agreeing to a 4-year, $29 million dollar offer sheet with the Houston Rockets, it appears now that the New York Knicks will match the deal to keep Jeremy Lin and his “Lin-Sanity” in the Big Apple.
The deal will pay Lin $5 million the first year, $5.2 million in the second and $9.3 million in the third and fourth years, adding up to a very backloaded contract. This will put the Knicks in the luxury tax during the final 2 years of Lin’s deal.
Is that too much money for a player who could very well be just a one-hit wonder?
The Knicks don’t seem to think so.
Lin averaged 14.6 points and 6.2 assists for New York before a knee-injury ended his year in mid-March of last season.
Under former coach Mike D’Antoni, Lin helped reinvigorate a Knicks team that was in desperate need of a shot in the arm. His underdog antics became one of the biggest stories not only in basketball, but in all of sports.
Fans of the NBA couldn’t help but fall in love with Lin. Here was a guy who struggled to crack the rotations of the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors before finding a home with one of the most esteemed franchises in the NBA, the New York Knicks.
As the famous Frank Sinatra ballad goes…..“If I can make it there, I can make it anywhere”.
That Lin did.
On a team that features perennial all-stars in Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire, Jeremy Lin was perhaps the biggest selling point to watch a Knicks game live. In a matter of weeks, Lin became one of the most popular players in the NBA and an overnight international superstar as he led the Knicks on a nice little winning streak that seemingly salvaged their season.
An Asian-American making it big in New York City made for media gold. Whether it was because of his Asian heritage or not, Jeremy Lin was a commodity and everyone wanted a piece of him. No one had ever seen anything like him before. It was new, it was fresh and it was entertaining to watch.
The thing is….Lin is far from the perfect point guard. He turns the ball over quite a bit (3.6 a game), is a terrible one-on-one defender and has a knack for taking ill-advised shots at a high rate. No one is going to confuse Lin for Chris Paul or Derrick Rose anytime soon.
So how much of this signing is because of Lin’s market value and how much of the signing is his potential to grow into an elite point guard?
Can’t it be both?
Jeremy Lin will easily make up for the sum of his contract in merchandise and ticket sales for the New York Knicks. For those who are concerned that the Knicks overpaid for Lin, just remember that this team is one of the richest franchises in the sports world. Money isn’t a concern.
To think, Lin had a good stretch for just one month and look at how huge a star he became. Just imagine how much bigger his name can be with a full season under his belt. If you thought Lin-Sanity was crazy before…..
As a pure basketball investment, Lin is probably worth the risk. The Knicks played well when Lin was handling the point guard duties in the starting line-up. To be fair, Mike D’Antoni and his run-and-gun system were contributing factors to Lin’s success. With Mike Woodson calling the shots, Lin was demoted to a backup role while Baron Davis was inserted into the starting 5. It remains to be seen whether Woodson can trust Jeremy Lin as his full-time starter moving forward into the 2012-13 season.
With the recent signing of future hall-of-fame player Jason Kidd, the Knicks will now have wise veteran point guard who can mentor Lin and help him grow on and off the court. There are few things in the game of basketball that Kidd has not encountered at some point during his historic career. What better way to bring Lin up as a player and assist in his development than having Kidd come in and show him the ropes, so to speak.
It’s not everyday that a player comes around who captivates fans not only with his skill on the court, but with his demeanor, work ethic and overall charming personality quite like Jeremy Lin.
The Knicks made the right call resigning this kid and matching the Rockets generous offer.
It’s best to keep the Lin-Sanity in house as long as possible.
Christopher Walder is a sports blogger and lead editor for Sir Charles in Charge. You may follow him on Twitter @WalderSports