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Knicks to decline to match Jeremy Lin offer. He’s a Rocket.

Jul 17, 2012, 4:22 PM EST

Injured New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin reacts during pregame ceremonies before the Knicks play against the Miami Heat in Game 2 of their first round NBA Eastern Conference basketball playoffs in Miami Reuters

Linsanity, welcome back to Houston.

As was expected in recent days, the New York Knicks have decided not to match the Rockets three-year, $25 million offer to Jeremy Lin, so he will be a Rocket, reports Howard Beck at the New York Times. While nothing is final until midnight eastern, the only way this changes is if owner James Dolan has a last minute change of heart. Which is highly unlikely. The Knicks are done debating it, Beck reports.

This is not going to sit well with some Knicks fans, who had a soft spot for Lin. After years of futility he brought a sense of hope and fun to Madison Square Garden that had been missing. He saved this past season in New York, sparking a turnaround (one that evolved under new coach Mike Woodson) that led the team to the playoffs. Fans loved him for it.

Knicks fans, if this upsets you don’t blame Lin, blame your own team management.

Rather than make an offer to Jeremy Lin and try work out a deal, they told him to go out and get an offer on the open market, but told everyone publicly and privately they would match any offer that came in. Woodson said Lin would be the starter in the fall.

Then the Rockets offer came in — $5 million for year one, $5.2 million for year two (the max any team could pay him those years under the terms of the CBA), and a whopping $14.8 million in year three. A “poison pill” deal.

The Knicks balked. They dared him to get an offer they wouldn’t match, and he did.

The Knicks looked at their expenses in that final year — Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire make $23 million each, Tyson Chandler makes $14.5 million — and they looked at the looming, more punitive luxury tax that will be in place by then. The Knicks said no.

The Knicks traded for Raymond Felton last week and we all knew that meant Lin was likely gone.

Lin will return now to the Rockets — Houston had him briefly last year but had no place to really play him on a team with Kyle Lowry and Goran Dragic. They waived him and he found his way to New York.

Lowry and Dragic are both gone (Toronto and Phoenix, respectively). The Rockets will have Lin to run their point and be an international marketing phenom (something the organization has experience handling). However, having Lin will add salary and complicate the Rockets’ chase for Dwight Howard.

And Knicks fans will not have their favorite. A guy the Knicks could have kept with some up-front negotiations.

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