And his emerging stardom left New York determined to keep the 23-year-old point guard in the Big Apple for the foreseeable future. But the Houston Rockets are doing their darndest to make that a taller-than-expected task.
According to a New York Post report citing a league source, the Rockets have offered Lin a backloaded three-year deal with a fourth-year option worth around $30 million. The contract, already dubbed a “poison pill” for the Knicks, would pay him around $5 million the first two seasons and about $10 million in seasons three and four. Forbes reporter Allen St. John calculated keeping Lin would cost up to $35 million in luxury tax payments.
The Knicks have said they would match any offer for the sparkplug who helped jump start their season in February. And with Steve Nash headed to the Lakers, New York has already lost one of its top backcourt targets. But how high will they go to keep Linsanity on Broadway?
With Goran Dragic on his way to Phoenix, the Rockets have a gaping hole at the point, and Lin could be an ideal fit for a team that has already reaped the global benefits of owning a
Chinese star of Asian heritage.
Speaking of Yao Ming, the retired center could be the key to convincing Lin to head back to a team that waived him in December.
Rockets general manager Daryl Morey is pulling out all the stops in his effort to bring Lin back to Houston. Ahead of Lin’s Wednesday visit, he made a public plea to the city to welcome the point guard back.
“Jeremy Lin’s an excellent player,” Morey told the New York Post. ”We got to know him firsthand when he was with the Rockets early this season. We think he’d make a fantastic addition to our team.”
Another Texas team, the Dallas Mavericks, could also be in the mix, especially if the Knicks pursue their free agent point guard, Jason Kidd.
In the end, Lin and New York may be the best fit for one another. But if the Knicks won’t match Houston’s offer — and frankly, doing so may not be worth it for them — Lin’s payday with the Rockets could be too good to pass up.