After losing out on a possible sign-and trade-deal with Steve Nash to the Los Angeles Lakers, the New York Knicks find themselves faced with the difficult decision of whether they want to go all in on restricted free agent Jeremy Lin.
The Knicks have until July 14 to decide whether they want to match the four-year offer sheet worth $28.8 million that the Houston Rockets and Jeremy Lin have agreed to. The Rockets have included a “poison pill” in their offer where year three of the contract would reportedly cost the Knicks $9.3 million if they decide to match.
Assuming the core of the Knicks remains intact for the 2014-15 season, the Knicks would owe Carmelo Anthony $24.4 million, Amare Stoudemire $23.4 million, Tyson Chandler $14.6 million and Iman Shumpert $2.6 million that year. That’s a combined $65 million owed to just four players and if the Knicks decide to match the Rockets’ offer for Lin, they’ll owe a combined $74.3 million combined to five players.
There’s been a lot of speculation on whether Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire can coexist together and the original thought was that if the Knicks were able to land Steve Nash, their problem would be solved. Nash is an excellent distributor that can run pick-and-rolls which would allow Anthony and Stoudemire to be the isolation players that they are.
Instead the Knicks must decide whether they want to commit a large sum of money to Lin, a player who until last season had been a career backup. In 35 games last season, Lin averaged 14.6 points and 6.2 assists with a .320 three-point shooting percentage.
The Knicks also must make a decision on what they want to do with recent free agent acquisition Jason Kidd and what role he will have this season. Kidd recently agreed to a three-year deal worth $9 million following a poor performance with the Dallas Mavericks last season where he averaged just 6.2 points and 5.5 assists per game with a .354 three-point shooting percentage.
It’s doubtful the Knicks would consider Kidd to be starter at this point in his career and if they decide Lin’s price is too much, their alternative options are to sign a free agent such as Raymond Felton, Ramon Sessions, Aaron Brooks, Randy Foye or Derek Fisher.
The question for the Knicks, who have salary cap concerns are whether any of those free agents would be willing to accept the Knicks’ mid-level exception which at-most would pay $3 million per year.