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So maybe Jeremy Lin isn’t a total lock to return to Knicks

Jul 2, 2012, 12:43 PM EDT

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It’s been the conventional wisdom around the league that Jeremy Lin would return to Knicks. They can match the $5 million any team could offer him next season and he is worth considerably more than that, somewhat on the court but more in terms of ticket sales, sponsors and marketing. He’s a steal at that price.

But with the Knicks having long-term salary cap concerns, there is one way a team could pry Lin away from the Knicks, reports Chris Broussard at ESPN.

While both Lin and the Knicks are hoping for a reunion, sources say that if any clubs offer Lin, a restricted free agent, a backloaded contract that pays him an eight-figure salary in the third and fourth years, the Knicks could be given pause about matching the offer.

The Knicks, like a lot of big market teams, are frightened of the escalating tax that kicks in fully in a couple years. If you are going to pay a guy a lot after that, he had better be worth it.

Those are called “poison pill” offers and a tea like Toronto could consider it. But do you really want to pay Lin — a good point guard that excelled for a short stretch in Mike D’Antoni’s point-guard friendly system but has yet to prove he can do it consistently otherwise — in excess of $10 million a year in three years?

Hard to see any team taking that gamble. But if the Raptors or another team get desperate enough they might put some kind of pill in that third or fourth year. If for no other reason than to hurt the Knicks.

  1. cantonbound13 - Jul 2, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    Why would Toronto pay that much for a guy that played 12 good games?

    • duane888 - Jul 2, 2012 at 2:32 PM

      A team like Toronto could afford to pay Lin:

      1) They really don’t have a legitimate superstar since Bosh left
      2) there’s a huge Asian population on the northeast side of the city
      3) ticket sales and marketing.

      • sguy2130 - Jul 2, 2012 at 7:54 PM

        Bosh is a legitimate “Superstar”?

  2. allmyteamsareterrible - Jul 2, 2012 at 12:50 PM

    I really do not understand the hyper surrounding Lin. If someone signs him to an 8 figure contract are really going to be regretting it in a few years.

    • phaden27 - Jul 2, 2012 at 12:55 PM

      Sure you do, you’re reading something adding to it right now. And agreed.

      • allmyteamsareterrible - Jul 2, 2012 at 1:15 PM

        I saw a guy who has shaky ball handling skills, a shaky shot, and is prone to 7+ turnovers a game. Maybe it’s just me but I wasn’t impressed. it’s not like I am wishing bad on the guy or the story, but I just do not see a guy would 10 million or more a year.

      • phaden27 - Jul 4, 2012 at 11:18 AM

        No like I said I agree, but stories like these are going to get him that money. Sad.

    • hartdaddy - Jul 2, 2012 at 12:59 PM

      18 pts. 4rbs, 8ast. & 1stl coming from a 23 yr. old second year undrafted PG from Harvard isn’t impressive or something?

      Either way, he’s gonna be Knick, backloaded deal or not, I just think Chris Brousard was bored so he decided to do a story on this to entertain himself.

      • gmen4life33 - Jul 2, 2012 at 1:08 PM

        I know. People say it was 15 games, or he hasnt won anything, HE HASNT BEEN GIVEN THE CHANCE. He has only played in like 20 real NBA games, and played extremely well in like 15 of those, what else can you ask from a rookie (his 2nd year but in terms of minutes played)? What more could he have done before getting injured to justify he is a top 10 PG prospect.

        Not saying Lin is top 5 right now or anything, but he is on the level of Dragic and (almost) Rubio in term of PGs of the future. If Wallace gets a 4 yr 40 million contract, a team paying 5 mil, 5 mil, 10 mil, 10 mil isnt absurd for Lin (on and off court).

  3. cnyphinfan - Jul 2, 2012 at 12:58 PM

    You are missing one key piece – the Knicks cap situation is not tied up in after 2014/2015 season – both STAT and Melo deals are done that year – STAT obviously would not be resigned……….So the Knicks are still able to absorb the poison pill and match.

    • duane888 - Jul 2, 2012 at 2:46 PM

      Don’t hold your breath about absorbing that pill. They’ll find another bad contract to screw up and overpay on. They are notorious for this!! Ex: Alan Houston, McDyess…

      The Knicks will have real change when the power is taken out the Dolan’s hands.

  4. bigzant82 - Jul 2, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    brooklyn nets could use him if deron leaves it swould be great plan b he wouldnt break the bank and he bring in a boatload of new fans asians

    • knightrider1755 - Jul 2, 2012 at 1:53 PM

      Toronto has a larger Asian fanbase than NY.

      • heystarbuck - Jul 2, 2012 at 7:34 PM

        uhhhh wut?

        The New York City Metropolitan Area contains the largest ethnic Chinese population outside of Asia, enumerating 682,265 individuals as of the 2010 United States Census.

  5. bparmalee - Jul 2, 2012 at 1:07 PM

    I agree that paying Lin more than the 5 million a year seems crazy but I really don’t want to see him back in New York. The Knicks are determined to limit his playing time and he just doesn’t fit with Carmelos “Give me the ball and everyone stand over there” playing style. It would be nice to see him on a 1 or 2 year deal with a team like the Raptors or Suns. Teams that are uptempo and value ball movement. Plus there won’t be that constant pressure from that NY spotlight. The Knicks should just trade this guy or let him go…. they have handed the team over to Melo.

  6. wjmoffatt - Jul 2, 2012 at 1:11 PM

    he isn’t worth anything over 4

  7. dgforreal - Jul 2, 2012 at 1:28 PM

    Putting poison pills in tea now?

    • p1nch3dloaf - Jul 2, 2012 at 4:37 PM

      Just chill and pour over ice…a tall glass of Lemmingade…or is it Linmonade?

  8. ufullpj - Jul 2, 2012 at 1:41 PM

    If he’d played in Detroit, Milwaukee, Utah, Minnesota, Memphis, Portland, etc., ESPN wouldn’t even know who he was. And make no mistake, he’s a solid player – just not nearly as great as the idiotic NY media makes him out to be.

    • fm31970 - Jul 2, 2012 at 5:46 PM

      …and that’s why he’s worth what he is. His value goes beyond wins and losses on the court, and that “extra” value is worth more in a top 5 NBA market like New York.

  9. jamesinva - Jul 2, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    Who else could sell tickets and merchandise? Did you all forget how many fans were rooting for Lin when the Knicks played in T.O?? He would be HUGE for marketing. And with the Asian population, Toronto (which already seems to have a pretty good fan base) would be sold out night in and night out.

  10. jolink653 - Jul 2, 2012 at 4:05 PM

    lin is great on this team because he’s the only guard that can and will penetrate the defense and kick out to the open player…carmelo and amare take the ball in bad spots and take long range jumpers which leads to baskets in transition for the other team and losses for the knicks…lin is young and can be very good for the knicks long-term if they keep him healthy and have him keep doing what he does…i don’t think he’s necessarily the answer to all the team’s problems but he helps a lot and i think a lot of the problems that plagued the knicks last year will be solved once they finally get a training camp together

  11. marcusfitzhugh - Jul 2, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    I’m a Knicks fan, I like Lin, and I hope he stays on the Knicks. BUT if some GM wants to offer him $10M, they can have him. A year ago today, the league had a total of eight point guards who were scheduled to earn $10M or more in 2011/12. THREE of those guys were amnestied as soon as the rule was enabled (Billups, Baron Davis and Arenas). Did you know J Kidd and Derrick Rose earned less than $10M last season? Rondo earned $10M. Jeremy Lin is going to earn Rondo money?

    That’s why the lockout occurred – GMs overpaying and then complaining that they can’t compete with their overpaid roster.

    These are 2011/12 point guards who were on the books for $10M or more. These players are listed by the NBA as points. Don’t complain because some SHOOTING GUARD isn’t on the list:

    Gilbert Arenas $19.2M
    CP3 $16.4M
    Deron Williams $16.3M
    Chauncy Billups $14.2M
    Baron Davis $13.9M
    Tony Parker $12.5M
    Nash $11.6M
    Rondo $10M

    • borderline1988 - Jul 2, 2012 at 11:03 PM

      Sorry buddy but you have completely missed the point here.

      Jeremy Lin is a marketing marvel. His jersey was one of the top selling jerseys in the game after just a few starts. The entire East Asia loves him, and there happens to be a lot of people living there.

      The question isn’t why would Toronto offer him that money; the question is, why wouldn’t they? They have no one else to spend that money on, because free agents never sign there. Unless they want to keep throwing stupid money at the likes of Amir Johnson or Jose Calderon, the luxury tax will never be an issue for them.

      The Raptors have corporate owners; they see dollar signs all over this guy, and honestly, they don’t give a s*** how much Rondo or Rose makes.

      • marcusfitzhugh - Jul 3, 2012 at 11:54 AM

        You and I disagree on what “the point” is. “I think” the point is to win basketball games. You appear to think the point is to sell Jerseys. Just another reason why New York is New York and Toronto is Toronto.

        As for Toronto’s “corporate owners”, according to Forbes, the Raptors have an operating income that’s less than one-tenth that of the Knicks. Let me dumb it down for you: The Knicks, the team that owns Jeremy Lin’s rights, earn over 10 times as much as Toronto every year. The Knicks could pay Lin $20M a year plus the tax and still earn over 10 times what Toronto does.

      • borderline1988 - Jul 3, 2012 at 12:21 PM

        My point is simply that the NBA is a business first, no matter whether it’s Toronto or NY. And therefore, teams will pay for Jeremy Lin because he can make money for them. Trust me, the Knicks will re-sign Jeremy Lin, regardless of what some ESPN analyst says.

        Comparing Lin to Rondo or Nash is useless; everyone knows that Lin will be paid b/c he holds the key to Asian fans. This isn’t about production on the court – how can you argue otherwise?

        You can give me all that jazz about how “NY is NY, while Toronto is Toronto”…please spare me here. Both Toronto and NY are seeing Lin in terms of dollar signs. You’re nuts if you think otherwise.

  12. sageandjudahsdad - Jul 2, 2012 at 4:36 PM

    We need NASH, not Lin! Sign and trade Lin and Fields and Novak and get a real PG and let’s see where we can go with this team. We’ve got a 2 year window and that’s it! The time is now!!!

  13. fanz928 - Jul 2, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    It’s probably within those 12 games you see his potential and iq for the game

  14. sageandjudahsdad - Jul 2, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    He’s a backup , no more.

  15. chitown56 - Jul 2, 2012 at 5:39 PM

    R we really talking about jeremy lin?!?! Who cares?

  16. dysraw1 - Jul 2, 2012 at 6:11 PM

    yeah right this moment hes a back up at best, but we all saw that he can run the starting line if pushed into that position. i keep saying that i loved what Jeremy did last season, but he needs to get stronger, and just a little more heady & he could improve his jump shooting. that being said i rather give the key to someone else just until hes totally ready

  17. jimeejohnson - Jul 2, 2012 at 9:29 PM

    He’s from west of I-5, and there’s a mighty large Asian population there. Linn’s been back east since college, however, and knows where the money is: New Yawk City, and I don’t mean just playing basketball. Even Michael Jordan benefited from the spotlight that is NYC. Just remember that before Hollywood it was NYC as the center of the entertainment, financial, and with those dang Yankees, sports world as well. “NY got the ways and means, it just won’t let you be, no-NO!”

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