I’ll make this quick, so everyone can get to yapping in the comments.
Ignore, for a moment, the transcending popularity, jersey sales, and other peripheral reasons for the continued marriage of Jeremy Lin and the New York Knicks. No need to beat a dead horse. One thing above all else has bothered me a ton, and that’s the perception that Jeremy Lin’s cap number in year three of his offer sheet immediately nullfies the financial agreeability of the deal. Really, that’s what all this debate boils down to. So let’s, for a moment, replace myth with fact.
Lin’s third year cap number is $14.8 million, which, including the luxury tax, will be upwards of $30 million. This is what has Knicks fans running for the hills, understandably so. “Value!” they scream, as Junkyard Dog, Eddy Curry, Allan Houston and Jalen Rose stroll by. But the Knicks don’t actually have to pay that luxury tax-induced behemoth until, you know, the third year. And, by that time, Lin will still be a 25-year-old starting-caliber point guard with legitimate trade value, or, at the very least, a wonderful $15 million dollar expiring contract with, you guessed it, trade value. In today’s NBA, the latter is particularly valuable – just take a look at Theo Ratliff, who’s made a career out of being an expiring contract as opposed to an NBA commodity. As long as the team acquiring him is under the cap, he won’t cost $30 million, or $40 million, or whatever.
Really, for the first two years under contract, Lin will somehow be a bargain player. The Knicks will only owe him $10 million over two years, and then they’ll have that $15 million dollar expiring contract to dangle in front of the rest of the league. At best, he turns into an excellent starting point guard and the Knicks are able to maneuver under the cap in spite of his contract. At worst, Linsanity flames out and he’s just, still, an expiring contract.
That’s why this Knickerbocker decision should be basketball motivated, not financially. We could get into the nitty gritty of Lin versus Felton (which we will soon), but really the question should boil down to on-the-court facts. Finances, as always, can be addressed later – Lin’s contract demands it.
What do you think?
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