It’s a No-Brainer for the New York Knicks – Keep Jeremy Lin

The more I think about this, the more I am convinced the Knicks will be crazy not to match Jeremy Lin.

I get that the three-year, $25 million offer sheet Jeremy Lin signed with Houston is a pretty big number. I get that the poison pill third year, $14.8 million, is going to be a stiff jab to the Knicks in the form of a $25.9 million luxury tax penalty (which mean’s Lin would cost them $40.7 million in that third year). At first glance, that sounds tremendously high for Lin. But all things considered, it’s an acceptable risk. And the Knicks may end up losing more by not keeping Lin than they would by matching.

Before I get into the reasons I’d say keep Lin, can we just pause for a moment and think about the oddity of the Knicks suddenly be concerned about overpaying a guy? Are you kidding me? We aren’t talking about the San Antonio Spurs here, a small-market team that makes a habit out of shrewd management. This is the Knicks, experts at smoking money. This is the same team that gave Jerome James a five-year, $30 million contract. The same team that locked Allan Houston up for SIX YEARS, $100 MILLION at age 30. This is the same team that traded for Stephon Marbury at the end of his career and swallowed the remaining $76 million of his contract. And, by the way, the coach that year, Larry Brown, was getting upwards of $10 million to produce 23 wins. The Knicks doled out $20.2 million between 2008 and 2010 to Eddy Curry, and he played a total of 74 minutes in 10 games.

Jeremy Lin has already given the Knicks more bang for their buck than either of those guys (save for Allan Houston). New York’s sudden bout of fiscal responsibility aside, there are some good reasons why the Knicks should match.

* Jeremy Lin will make the mid-level the first two years. That’s less than Ryan Anderson, Landry Fields and Jeff Green got, and about a third of what Eric Gordon landed.  Lin’s first two years are for about the same money that Louis Williams, Andre Miller and Jason Terry will get. Based on Lin’s age and production, no way you can say that’s not a great deal. Lin averaged 14.6 points and 6.2 assists in 35 games last season. His Per 48 minute stats were 26 points and 11 assists. Even with his turnovers, that is really good production.

If Lin continues his development, his $14.8 million third year will still be high. But no doubt there will still be non-tax teams willing to acquire him (Houston) and his big expiring contract (and his fan appeal). So, feasibly, the Knicks could get a great bargain last year, when he made $762,000, and a great bargain the next two years, assuming Lin matches his production. If at that point they decide he still isn’t worth the money, then the Knicks can trade him before the end of the third year and avoid the tax penalty. That’s a good deal. Or, if they’re really serious about not wasting money, they can amnesty Amar’e Stoudemire. (Forgot they already used their amnesty on Chauncey Billups. Wow.)

* Lin gives the Knicks something to go to. Without Lin, you can count on the Knicks relying on Carmelo Anthony isos, Amar’e Stoudemire mid-range jumpers and J.R. Smith 3-pointers. What Lin does give the Knicks is something reliable to go to. Lin last season averaged the third-most points on isolation plays (behind Chris Paul and James Harden).  And get this, only Steve Nash and Stephen Curry had a higher field goal percentage on jumpers off the dribble (minimum 90 jumpers).

Lin running the pick and roll is perhaps the Knicks most-reliable offense. At the very least, it’s a weapon they can use when their offense bogs down.

* Lin is 23. To assume he won’t get better is kind of silly. At the very least, he’ll get better at what he does best. And that’s already pretty good

* Linsanity alone is probably enough. With Deron Williams and the Brooklyn Nets infringing on the Knicks territory, it would seem Lin’s marketing appeal would be even more valuable to the Knicks now.

* The addition of Raymond Felton helps. The big question for Lin is can he keep this up over a whole season, can he do it as the full-time starter. With Felton, he doesn’t have to. He has someone to share the load with, whether he starts or comes off the bench. It will cut down his turnovers and figures to improve his defense and offensive efficiency.

By no means is Lin the perfect player. Nor do I think he’s the difference between a title or no. But matching his contract far outweighs not. If they let Lin walk, not only will they get nothing for one of the greatest finds in team history, but they will lose out on and off the court. They have three years to figure out what to do with that third year. In the meantime, they get a pretty valuable asset for $5 million a year. The only reason not to match him is the third-year money, and since when did the Knicks care about that?

Marcus Thompson

  • PhillyJ


  • oldskoolballa

    Agreed, but that brief period when Melo and Lin played together last season was not
    winning b-ball!

  • BayDub

    With all this talk now questioning #JeremyLin and his lack of dedication to the Knicks, or his willingness to play hurt during the playoffs sounds to me like someone’s NY ego got hurt. Probably the more accurate situation is summarized by #JRSmith who said, “I think some guys take it personal, because they’ve been doing it longer and haven’t received any reward for it. I think it’s a tough subject to touch on for a lot of guys.” Fragile little men. The Knicks don’t deserve @JLin7.

  • Dan

    Thank you gswscribe for breaking this down so logically. I keep reading rants about how he’s not worth the money. I don’t even know what that means anymore. You’re right on every point here. The Knicks have to keep him. Btw, I’m still bitter that the Warriors let him go. I wanted Curry, Thompson, Lin backcourt. Oh well.

  • Namster

    MT’s thought process when writing this entry:

    Blog is ostensibly “Inside the Warriors”.

    Only thing anyone cares about right now is Jeremy Lin. ESPN and SI throw emergency roundtables of all their experts together to discuss Lin. (How many page hits do Lin articles get compared to everything else, anyway?)

    Screw it, everyone has given their thoughts on Lin, I’ll do it too!

    On the article itself, I think the analysis is spot on. Lin has been in the spotlight so much that his flaws are magnified and overexaggerated as if they are much bigger than that of other young point guards. High turnovers? His usage was off the charts, and he was creating offense in the process. Plus the record shows most young point guards eventually cut down on their turnovers. Can’t go left? I’ve seen him do it during games, and heck Steve Francis and Lamar Odom had decent NBA careers never going to their opposite hand once. And that’s not even getting into critiques about his defense (not that bad, doesn’t get outmuscled and isn’t as foul-prone as Curry) and his jump shot which are hyperexaggerated. Bottom line most of his flaws are stuff that can be improved on. Court vision, ability to penetrate and finish plays, and create offense? Very hard to develop if you don’t have it, and Lin has it in abundance.

    Also, if Lin does go to the Rockets and does well, then this has the potential to backfire TREMENDOUSLY on the Knicks. As in we’ll be talking about it in 30 years as one of the dumbest moves ever made level backfiring.

    Small nitpick: The Knicks already amnestied Chauncey Billups to offer Tyson Chandler more guaranteed money, so they’re stuck with Amare for 3 more years. Ridiculous or what?

  • Gulley

    Unfortunately the Knicks wouldn’t be able to amnesty Amar’e Stoudemire because they’ve already used it on Chauncey Billups. Teams only get 1 amnesty.

  • Nigel Tufnel

    So your basic argument is that because the Knicks have given out so many ridiculously stupid contracts over the years, they shouldn’t care about giving out another one? I don’t care, it’s not my money, but I wouldn’t give him that contract.

    Lin has some nice attributes, but the dude has the 5th worth assist to turnover ratio among all NBA PGs and he’s a poor fit with NY’s star player.

  • Nigel Tufnel

    If I were the Knicks, I would go all in on acquiring Chris Paul next year. That’s a guy worth a max contract and would probably like to play there.

  • leo

    It seems to make sense that Lin’s value, in terms of Marketing, would be higher for teams like the Warriors, Knicks, and the Rockets, because they have large Asian Populations with high incomes and education, especially in the Warriors.

    Businesses do what makes them money. Hiring qualified Asians in the Bay Area in visible jobs, instead of the traditional back of house nitty grity work, might make good business sense. The Knicks and Rockets are willing to spend millions thinking that way.

  • Rufus and Chaka

    While I’d love to see JLin stay in NYC, the argument that the Bricks can afford to potentially overspend again is specious. But I still like your arguments. Well thought out

  • Ben Brung

    As much as you make a strong argument about Lin’s contract, his production and the market potential, you’ve probably made an even stronger argument that in backing away from Lin The Knicks see a festering issue that goes beyond the financial factors you’ve laid out. Perhaps the numbers get a lot more complicated if Melo decides he wants to play somewhere else.

    As much as it’s not fair to blame Melo for all Knicks woes his bank-handed, limp comments about Lin sound more like what a player would say about a hated rival he didn’t want to help motivate with a statement that was too negative. When said about a teammate, it’s got to be about as comforting as hearing the it’s-not-you-it’s-me speech from someone you’re dating.

    When the Knicks decided to build around Melo they committed to a clear direction. Bargain or not, if Lin is a move in a different direction he will be gone like D’Antoni. It doesn’t seem like they’re moving in the direction based on a championship being the top priority but I doubt they currently have the stomach to deal with the consequences of moving in a different one.

  • KC

    The bottom line is, will all the marketing, promotion and hype eventually out weigh the hefty 40 mil that the Knicks are dropping for him?

  • Stan

    Posts like this MT, make Joe Lacob suicidal..he had Lin for minimum wage, what? 8 months ago?

    If the Knicks let Lin walk,then they deserve to be another mediocre team.

    I bet Lin would generate in New York -and the world- more merchandise then the rest of the team combined. I wouldn’t give you 2 cents for a Knick jersey of Carmelo Anthony.

  • Gunner

    The funny thing is the Knicks could have offered him $24 million for 4 years, and Lin would have no reason to shop around. Instead, the Knicks told him to shop around, hoping he would not get a good offer and they could simply match in the end.

    The bottom line is they tried to be cheap but got bit! And now their whole organization are all sour grapes.

    In the end, the only only things that are ridiculous are Melo, JR Smith, Steven A Smith, Dolan and the Knicks management which totally underestimated Lin’s market price.

  • earl monroe

    The Knicks are dummies. Woodson dislikes the way Lin plays, everyone writes that on the last year of Lin’s contract the Knicks would have to pay over 40 million because of the luxury tax, but that is not solely based on Lin’s contract it an amalgamation of all the contracts on the team. I don’t know if they have amnestied anyone yet but if not they could next year or the year after, there is no guarantee Amare will be healthy in 2014 with his knee and back issues.

    Woodson was backstabbing D’antoni and happens to be one of Isiah Thomas’ guys,
    and we know Isiah is the man pulling Dolan’s strings, I wonder what Thomas has on Dolan, it must be good though

  • earl monroe

    Gunner- totally agree with you

  • Xraided

    Dan Says:
    July 16th, 2012 at 8:53 pm
    Thank you gswscribe for breaking this down so logically. I keep reading rants about how he’s not worth the money. I don’t even know what that means anymore. You’re right on every point here. The Knicks have to keep him. Btw, I’m still bitter that the Warriors let him go. I wanted Curry, Thompson, Lin backcourt. Oh well.


    take comfort in the fact that the W’s couldn’t afford him in the long run anyway(would be great trading material obviously)… unless of course they wanted to dump Lee or something … which would leave us empty at the PF position.

  • Stan

    Everything on KNBR (and Papa on thegame) about Lin has been tinged with racism. Its come close to “He’s just a good Asian”. Right,and that’s why 99.99.990 percent of men-of every race- Lin’s age who love basketball aren’t in the NBA.