10:41 am Jul. 3, 20121
Could be, after all that, that Jeremy Lin has gotten too expensive for the Knicks to afford?
It's still hard to imagine, for reasons that go beyond mere salary.
Regardless of whether the Knicks add Steve Nash to start over Lin, or sign a reasonable backup to keep Lin from getting taxed "like freakin' Secretariat," Lin is worth a ton in marketing treasure. Basketball aside, he's simply a very good investment.
In terms of how Lin affects the salary cap and the Knicks' ability to acquire other players, there's not much there, either. Since the players won the right to have players acquired via waivers retain their Bird Rights, bringing back Lin will not affect the Knicks' ability to add to the roster. Lin's salary would keep the Knicks over the cap, but thanks to the deals for Tyson Chandler, Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony, they were over that cap already.
The only thing a poison-pill contract would do is cost the Knicks more in luxury-tax penalties, particularly in 2014-15.
Let's not gloss over the basketball, though: Lin, in his first significant N.B.A. time, played at a level comparable to the rookie seasons of Isiah Thomas, Chris Paul, Jason Kidd and John Stockton. There's still the question of how durable he will be, simply because he hasn't lasted through an N.B.A. full season yet. But in Lin, the Knicks have a point guard who should be entering the prime of what is likely to be a very high level of basketball.
So after the Knicks discovered a talented point guard on waivers, then won the right to retain him without compromising their roster in arbitration, they'd be letting him go elsewhere for financial reasons that may quickly turn out to be invalid anyway.
Lin makes sense for the Knicks from a financial and basketball perspective, and the Knicks will get to make the final call on whether to bring him back.
It shouldn't be hard decision, should it?