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Winderman: Lin’s offer sheet not problem, Knicks entire payroll is

Jul 16, 2012, 2:25 PM EDT

New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin and Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony looks on against the Atlanta Hawks in the second quarter of their NBA basketball game at Madison Square Garden in New York Reuters

This is where many get the NBA luxury tax wrong: The third year on the offer sheet extended by the Rockets to Jeremy Lin will not cost the Knicks $43 million when factoring in the luxury tax, as some have extrapolated.

It will cost the Knicks the $15 million on the third year of that contract.

The excess payroll will cost the Knicks $43 million.

And that is a point executives familiar with such situations are quick to point out: Just because a player is the last, or latest, contract added to a team’s salary pool, it doesn’t make it the one that puts the team into — in this case, excessively into — the luxury tax.

It is the sum of the entire payroll.

For now, the debate in New York, and among Lin-sanity observers elsewhere, is whether the Knicks can afford to retain Lin amid such a huge potential luxury-tax hit.

But that also overlooks the bigger picture, that by trading for Carmelo Anthony‘s huge salary, by signing Amare Stoudemire to such an excessive salary and by putting so much cash into Tyson Chandler‘s limited game, the next big salary on the Knicks’ books was always going to be the one that was going to lead to luxury-tax Armageddon.

The Knicks forestalled the initial hit by using an amnesty claim with Chauncey Billups before last season. They then thought they could get by on the cheap at point guard when Baron Davis came along at a minimal salary.

And then Lin-sanity ensued (in retrospect, if only it had been Bibby-sanity . . .).

In 2014-15, the season of excess in the Rockets’ offer sheet to Lin, Anthony and Stoudemire each will be earning $23 million, with Chandler earning $15 million.

That is why the tax is an issue.

Of course, if Lin is retained, an argument could be made about Raymond Felton‘s salary not only contributing to the excessive tax overage, but being unnecessary.

With the NBA moving away from offensively limited big men, moving Chandler won’t be easy. With so many injury issues, you can just about forget about moving Stoudemire’s uninsurable deal. And Anthony is the supposed cornerstone.

If those three are the core, then the Knicks just move on from Lin.

But it’s not Lin’s contract, alone, that has created such pause. It’s all the contracts. Collectively. Knicks-sanity, if you will.

Ira Winderman writes regularly for and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at @IraHeatBeat.

  1. livingsacrifice86 - Jul 16, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    Not a Knick fan, just merely on the outside looking in, but I find it hilarious the comment Carmelo made this wknd regarding Lin’s “riduculous” contract offer. Melo is a nice offensive player, but you could argue he has one of the most ridiculous contracts in the league. Same goes for Stoudemire. It will be interesting to see what the Knicks do. My guess is they will do everything they can to keep up with the Heat, Celtics, Bulls and pay the tax. Either way, I see them in the middle of the pack, maybe top 4 if they could get their “stars” to commit to playing hard both ways.

    • elComandanteenJefe - Jul 16, 2012 at 2:54 PM

      There should be no argument that Caramelo’s and A’moron’s contracts are ridiculous. Those guys are not MAX type players; only a handful of those in the league (i.e. Kobe, LeBron, Durant, Howard, Duncan, Jordan, O’Neal, Olajuwan, and so on). Unfortunately, everything in the NBA is market driven, for both players and teams, and that’s what gets them into the financial trouble most of these NBA teams find themselves in. As it stands, most of the NBA teams will start using their amnesty clause to rid themselves of a prior mistake (i.e. Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Allan Houston, Vince Carter, Rashard Lewis, Andrei Kirilenko, Michael Finley, Steve Francis, and the list will never end), but will rush to make another mistake soon thereafter (i.e. Brook Lopez, Roy Hibbert, Eric Gordon) without ever knowing if these guys will ever provide a return on investment.

      • abasketballthing - Jul 16, 2012 at 4:12 PM

        To be fair, teams usually get in trouble with max contracts that are signed after a player’s first deal. Lopez, Hibbert and Gordon are unlikely to cause much trouble to their teams in the near future. If they get max deals after becoming FAs, that’s when their teams will be screwed.

  2. truthhurtstoo - Jul 16, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    Poorly constructed team… NO WAY they will compete with the HEAT! Hope Nick fans enjoy watching LeBron win Championships!

  3. 1historian - Jul 16, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    I hate the nix which means that the fact they consistently screw up every year makes me happy.

    39 years and counting since their last title.

    • saint1997 - Jul 17, 2012 at 4:43 AM

      39 years and counting since you last got laid

  4. angulocarlos1 - Jul 16, 2012 at 2:47 PM

    Carmelo “as long as I get my 30” Anthony has to be the worse contract ever. Dude cares more about being a star than a winner. He can’t take a team deep into the playoffs because his selfish iso ball does not work against the top teams. Yet he has the cajones to question the contracts of others?! Knicks about to implode and realize they can’t be a championship team with Melo at the helm. They’ll tried to trade him and unfortunately another sucker team and fanbase will be waiting with open arms.

    • elComandanteenJefe - Jul 16, 2012 at 2:58 PM

      Shhh.. can’t say that Caramelo is a ball hog iso selfish not a winner type of player around here. These Knicks fans will argue to the death with you about that, but I have to agree on every point you made, since it is the same thing that I’ve been harping on since the day they traded for him.

    • abasketballthing - Jul 16, 2012 at 4:23 PM

      I agree that he cares about being a star more than he cares about winning, but I’m pretty sure that, with the right players, his style can work against any team. Remember he was the best player on some really good offensive teams in Denver. The reason why they never won a championship was defense. He was a big part of that problem, but the Knicks have Chandler to make up for Anthony’s and Amar’e’s defensive ineptitude. They just don’t have the right mix of players to maximize Anthony’s scoring ability and become a top offensive team.

      The fact that he needs a certain type of supporting cast certainly speaks about his limitations as a player, and proves that, he’s on a level below KD, LeBron and others, but it doesn’t mean he can’t win a championship playing that way. He definitely can.

      • mogogo1 - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:29 PM

        Only problem is that there’s no way for Chandler, even if he can stay healthy, to make up for both Melo and Amare’s defensive shortcomings. The storyline for success absolutely needs to include those two working hard enough to at least be acceptable defensively. It’s not like they lack the physical skills, they just need to accept coaching and put forth the effort. If that doesn’t happen, they’re absolutely doomed. Melo’s a pure scorer and deserves credit for being so good on that front, but to be the cornerstone of the team he can’t be entirely one-dimensional.

      • lmoneyfresh - Jul 16, 2012 at 8:59 PM

        That’s the problem though, Melo doesn’t fit in a system. Not many teams/offenses can overcome having a black hole on offense. Despite his great offensive ability, he takes his teams out of rhythm and that can’t be overlooked.

    • 6thsense79 - Jul 16, 2012 at 11:19 PM


      Your assesment of Anthony’s contract is silly at best. If you think his contract is the worse ever then you really haven’t been following the NBA too long. There are flaws to Anthony’s game but he is easily an All star. He’s also a Franchise player. I’m sorry but there are over 30 franchises in this league and it’s a little hard to believe anyone would say Anthony can’t be the Franchise player for one of those teams.

      In a fair critique of Melo’s game….He’s an excellent scorer. He has a variety of mid range and low post moves. He’s a good but not great athlete. He has been named on the 2nd or 3rd team all-NBA team 5 times in his 9 year NBA career. All-NBA teams are significantly better than all star teams because there’s less of the fan voting element and more of judging a player on his merrits and performances. Through out his career he’s been a top 15 player. Every team he’s played on since entering the league has at very least made it to the playoffs and on every one of those teams he was its best player. I’d also point out that Kevin Garnett faced similar criticism through many early playoff exits in Minnesota until he got traded to a team with 2 other potential hall of famers…3 if Rondo keeps up his level of play…then low and behold we hear how great Garnett is.

      Weaknesses include:
      Plays dis interested defense.
      Is a black hole. Once he gets the ball movement dies. Can be a decent passer if he wants to be but rarely looks to pass.

      Since his one great skill and love is scoring goes into a funk or isn’t as impactful to the game when scoring is off. All though I’ve seen games when his shot isn’t falling and for whatever reason sometime lights a fire under him and he becomes an absolutely monster rebounder and garbage basket scorer.

    • saint1997 - Jul 17, 2012 at 4:41 AM

      Oh I’m sorry are you friends with Carmelo? You know what he is like and how he thinks? Wow would it not be great to have your awesome life!

  5. ezmoney365 - Jul 16, 2012 at 3:10 PM

    so let me get this straight…..the knicks get a better PG in Felton for less money than what Lin will cost and ppl still are killing the knicks? im a bulls fan not a knicks fan fyi, and the story to me isnt why they cant afford Lin but the fact that they dont need him! Raymond Felton is head and shoulders above Jeremy Lin and anybody who knows basketball will tell you the same thing, does melo play d? no..does Stoudimire fit? No but the team is full of talent with no head coach! the team will still be better than last year and they gotta move Amare. but Lin is just hype and a good story, yea he was cookin a little bit last year but he was just riding that wave of confidence and didnt even wanna play in the playoffs cuz he was “85%”….goodbye Lin…hello jason kidd and raymond felton= top 4 in east…(chicago falls due to rose injury)

    • nokoolaidcowboy - Jul 16, 2012 at 3:36 PM

      Jason Kidd is growing up to be a drunken, whino. Mrs. Kidd is lucky he got to that tree first before getting home. A batterer with a drinking problem, and not enough common sense to call a cab!

    • knightrider1755 - Jul 16, 2012 at 4:17 PM

      Spoken like a diehard Knicks fan hiding under a Bulls cloak. Get over it, the Knicks are screwed as a result of those outlandish contracts dished out to Melo and Amare and the franchise is going to suffer for years to come because of it.

      • ezmoney365 - Jul 17, 2012 at 11:42 AM

        im sorry i thought this article was about Lin, but yet nobody decided to challenge my viewpoint on Felton Vs Lin…if this article is about them not bringing back Lin then why are we crucifying the knicks before THIS team ever steps on the floor….is anybody goin to tell me they are worse than last year? come on knightrider1755…you know you want to…you dont seem to know basketball if you think a team cant win with over payed players becuase EVERY TEAM has over payed players! The point of my comment was to point out that the knick have got BETTER this offseason…..thats a bad thing why? i would be more concerned if the owner was more interested in the off court money Lin brings rather than him getting rid of him to make the team better…but hey what do i know? im just some “diehard Knicks fan hiding under a Bulls cloak” stfu and go play xbox….

    • 6thsense79 - Jul 16, 2012 at 11:33 PM


      I honestly don’t know what Jeremy Lin is considering he played in D’ Antoni’s run and gun offense and all half way competent pgs that play in that system seems to put up numbers.

      Felton’s one season in NY under that offense saw him produce 17ppg and 9apg in 54 games. His career average is 13.4ppg and 6.7apg. Lin on the other hand averaged 14.6ppg and 6.2 assists per game. How much of that was playing in D’Antoni’s offense I don’t know. Obviously Lin has talent but 25 games is such a small sample.

      I don’t think Felton is heads and shoulders above Lin by any stretch base on just watching their games. Felton (if he can get in shape) would make a pretty strong starting point gaurd in NY. Lin is just getting started in the league though and in theory has plenty of more room to improve while Felton probably reached his max potential and you know what you get with him.

      • ezmoney365 - Jul 18, 2012 at 1:51 PM

        im glad somebody acctually approached the Lin vs Felton argument with some facts and knowledge. I agree with the PG’s tend to have better stats under D’Antoni but i cant agree with Felton not being better than Lin, Granted its opinion, but the eyeball test is a test and you can tell by watching Felton that he is more polished at every facet of the game then Lin, Lin can only go right, ball handling is suspect, more of a create my shot PG than a find the open man PG and lets not forget about DEFENSE please….Felton’s Defense is by far better than Lin’s. With that said you are right Lin has a chance to improve, but as everybody has pointed out, the Knicks can only keep up this ridiculous payroll for a couple of years, why wait on Lin to possibly improve vs getting a PG that you know can run the team RIGHT NOW…If you say Felton went from 17 and 9 to 13 and 7 without D’Antoni then Lin should go 15 and 6 to 12 and 4 right? Granted i give him more credit than 12 and 4 but if PG’s stats go up under D’Antoni theres no reason to believe Lins 15 and 6 are going to get better….especially with the Rockets. What it comes down to is that Felton is all around better and cheaper. The team acctually made a move that wasnt about money but about getting better on the floor and all people can focus on is that their Jeremy Lin Knicks jersey’s are now sitting in the closet collecting dust. i seriously cant wait for Lin to be just the average player he is….the kid cant even go left yall…and has zero defense….smh

    • latrops - Jul 19, 2012 at 4:34 PM

      I’ll bite. Is Lin to Felton a huge downgrade? Probably not. Felton is capable and the offense was set to change to a slower, more structured attack, which would have diminished Lin’s impact. The Knicks are about the same as they were. The problem is, what they were is a first round playoff loser. Felton isn’t going to change that. The Bulls may slip depending on how long it takes Rose to get back to form, but the Nets move up. The Knicks just spin their wheels as a bottom 4 seed.

  6. yousuxxors - Jul 16, 2012 at 3:24 PM

    james dolan ruined the knicks. its why donnie walsh quit. they will never win again with him as the owner. i should just become a nets fan. they give a broken player 23 million. trade a good team away for a player whos a ballhog. i love chandler but overpayed by about 4 million. god dammit i hate dolan. idk how they still make money.

  7. nokoolaidcowboy - Jul 16, 2012 at 3:55 PM

    Anthony once again showed his immaturity and lack of class (along with JR Smith). Jeremy Lin is one of the most humble players in the league. He did not ask for nor promote the circus that ensued in NY.
    When given the opportunity to come in and play on a team with injuries and bleak aspirations of “reaching” the finals, he came in and played his heart out. In doing so, he created a spark on the floor and a boon for merchandise and ticket sales. Something Carmelo, Smith and Amare never accomplished combined! Throughout it all, Lin just played. The rest of the guys available to play did the same. No worries about Carmelo’s 30 or feeding Amare inside, they just played. So along comes Houston, needing a PG and THEY set the market for how much value they see in him for his services.
    But wait, somehow people get all riled up like if this were a salary demand. It’s not. Why isn’t anyone riled up over Houston setting this precedent? Because its big money should Lin tell Houston to lower it, it’s too much? Come on.
    The kid is young, studious and in all likelihood sets a good example in the locker room. He listens to coaches and wants to play. Is he a little green? Sure he is, but he wants to learn. He’s accomplished what he has in spite of making rookie mistakes!
    I wanted to see him grow in NY. But he should leave. If anything, just to get away from poisonous Divas and troublemakers like Anthony and Smith.
    Good luck Jeremy in your future endeavors! You made it fun to watch basketball in NY for a couple of months.

  8. going4iton4th - Jul 16, 2012 at 3:56 PM

    Phil Jackson said it himself–the Knicks roster was put together “clumsily”. I thought the Knicks were on the right track when Walsh took over and cleaned up Isaiah’s mess now they are right back where they started. Jeremy Lin is OK as a point guard but now there is no more D’Antoni offense to make him look semi-competent. The Knicks are no championship team–a playoff team maybe but no chance for any rings. Carmelo is a black hole on offense and clueless on defense. Amare is one injury away from ineptitude. I too like Chandler but there is a reason why Dallas wouldn’t pay him. Now they have Kaman who is a good enough rebounder but cheaper. I loved Jason Kidd in his prime but let’s be honest he’s not a major minute player anymore.

  9. abasketballthing - Jul 16, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    You must be kidding. Most teams would love to have Chandler. He’s the main reason why the Knicks’ defense is suddenly good. He completely transforms a team’s defense, maybe more than any coach not named Thibodeau and any player not named Howard. Defense is half the game, and his contributions on that end are bigger than all but 2 or 3 Centers’ contributions on offense.

    • protectthishouse54 - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:35 PM

      Yeah, saying Chandler can’t be moved is stupid, especially after we just saw JOE JOHNSON get moved.

  10. onereasonableman - Jul 16, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    I’m not a Knicks fan and don’t know the current state of the luxury tax, but could they sign Lin to a sheet but front load his pay? So rather than a poison pill at the end when the other big contracts are kicking in, they pay it up front?

    • chiadam - Jul 16, 2012 at 4:55 PM

      No. He is a restricted free agent, so that ship has sailed. They now have to match exactly what Houston is offering. The Knicks could have signed him to a deal before July 1st, but I think they were caught off guard by the lunacy of the Houston Rockets (who might be paying $30 million to Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin in 2014).

  11. ohnothatguy - Jul 16, 2012 at 5:21 PM

    Please dont re-sign lin!! That has jason giambi written all

    • knightrider1755 - Jul 17, 2012 at 8:28 PM

      Not true, Giambi was on steroids.

  12. mbuda732 - Jul 16, 2012 at 5:32 PM




  13. mbuda732 - Jul 16, 2012 at 5:34 PM

    Ira Winderman is officially an idiot. Why the hell would the Knicks consider moving Tyson Chandler? PBT needs some new writers.

    • sparty0n - Jul 16, 2012 at 10:38 PM

      Because there’s no way in hell another team is going to trade for Amare or Melo with their contracts and the fact that they only play on the offensive end of the court. So, if the Knicks needed to dump salary, of the Knicks “big 3” contract-wise, Chandler is the only one who might have a market!

  14. kev86 - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:51 PM

    What’s the plus/minus on endorsement dollars for Lin playing in Houston vs. NY? I think Lin camp did a good job getting the most they could on the contract but they made it hard for Knicks to match. Knicks should let him walk at that price. Too unproven.

    • knightrider1755 - Jul 17, 2012 at 8:34 PM

      Regardless of where he goes, Lin is going to be marketed largely to the consumers in China and other Asian countries and in the Chinese-populated areas in the US and Canada.He stands to earn quite a lot considering China has a population of nearly 800 million people (4 times the size of the US). So his physical location is highly irrelevant.

  15. jolink653 - Jul 16, 2012 at 9:04 PM

    I still feel confident they’ll match because as stupid as Dolan may be in terms of putting a team together, he does know about good business decisions and keeping Lin is great for business…I think they brought Felton in for depth at the 2 spot with Shump out and Smith as the only 2 on the roster since Felton can hit the three and we know he can perform in New York and he can run the point from time to time if they need him to…They brought Kidd in mostly to mentor Lin so why would they now let Lin walk after they went out to get Kidd? They’ll let the Rockets stew a little bit for having the audacity to offer him such a backloaded deal before they match last second just to stick it to Houston

  16. proballerslounge - Jul 17, 2012 at 2:47 AM

    Battle for New York

    Knicks vs Nets

  17. mgavin78 - Jul 17, 2012 at 7:42 AM

    Get rid of Carmelo.

  18. abasketballthing - Jul 18, 2012 at 5:06 PM

    I’ve always been the first to criticize Carmelo, but even though he’s a black hole on offense, I think a team can be very good offensively playing around him. Woodson’s style fits him pretty well, and if the Knicks can somehow get the players and make the adjustments they need, the will be a championship caliber team. To me, he might not even be a top 15 player, but his scoring ability is good enough to make him capable of being the main weapon of a very good offensive team. He was that once in Denver, and he could be that again in NY. His limitations make it difficult for his teams to become great offensively, there’s no denying that. I’m only pointing out that there IS a way to win in the playoffs, and even win a championship having ‘Melo as your offensive star. It’s not easy to do, but it’s possible.

    On defense, I do think ‘Melo and Amar’e have had to make an effort to help the team improve on that end, but Chandler still deserves most of the credit. He helps the team with his own body, blocking and contesting shots, but he’s also very vocal on defense, helping his teammates do better on that end.

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