Linsanity is over in New York. Or is it?
We’ll know for certain within the next 72 hours.
With Lin signing a backloaded $25 million, three-year offer sheet with the Houston Rockets, the Knicks have gone out and found themselves a replacement — or a sidekick — for Lin, depending on who you want to believe.
That player is Raymond Felton, who will return to New York along with center Kurt Thomas in a sign-and-trade deal with the Portland Trail Blazers for Jared Jeffries, Dan Gadzuric and a second-round draft pick — and possibly more. (Felton was dealt to Denver two years ago as part of the Carmelo Anthony deal.)
Marc Berman of the New York Post said the recent developments “all but end the Jeremy Lin era prematurely and bitterly,” citing a source who insisted the Knicks will not match the offer sheet Lin renegotiated with the Rockets after New York told the point guard/global sensation they would.
“The Knicks were furious the Rockets changed the offer sheet for Lin and upgraded it to a $25 million guarantee over three years, according to a source,” Berman wrote. “The Knicks were bitter because they told Lin immediately the club would match the original offer and Lin apparently shared the information with the Rockets. Lin and Houston then plotted to redo it. Lin secretly flew into Las Vegas without informing the Knicks to renegotiate the contract and sign it. The Knicks had been set to match Lin’s original offer sheet of four years, $28.9 million that had a $19 million guarantee before the Rockets threw a financial curveball that called for a $15 million third year that would have doomed owner James Dolan’s luxury-tax predicament. So this likely ended the Knicks’ endless blabber across the past two months, swearing they would bring Lin back and that he was a “big part” of “what we’re trying to do,’’ as coach Mike Woodson put it three days ago.”
But hold on a minute.
That sign-and-trade with the Blazers is not yet good to go, according to beat writers Jason Quick and Mike Tokito of the Oregonian, who report ”the deal is not complete and includes several other components coming to Portland. The details of the deal are expected to be finalized today.”
Howard Beck and Nate Taylor of the New York Times said Felton will receive a three-year, $10 million contract, and that the Knicks would include the rights to two overseas players: “It has been widely assumed that the Knicks would match Houston’s offer and keep Lin, despite a salary increase to $14.9 million in the third year of the deal. Team officials have said as much for weeks, both before and after the Rockets made the offer. Two reports late Saturday cast doubt on that assumption. The first came via the Twitter account of a South Carolina television reporter, Mark Haggard, who said that Felton had told him that the Knicks planned to let Lin leave for Houston. A short time later, Yahoo Sports reported that Lin “appears close” to joining the Rockets, in light of Felton’s deal. … Coach Mike Woodson said earlier this week the Knicks would not only match Houston’s offer, but that Lin would be the team’s starting point guard. He reiterated that point even after the Knicks signed Jason Kidd, a 10-time All-Star. Woodson said that Kidd would be the backup.
It appears one of those overseas players is recent draftee Kostas Papanikolaou.
Possible details of Blazers-Knicks deal could be Knicks sending Kostas Papanikolaou to Blazers and $$ to help pay for Jeffries’ $3.1M salary
— Jason Quick (@jwquick) July 15, 2012
Source says indeed the #Knicks second-round pick Kostas Papanikolaou is part of Felton package.
— Marc Berman (@NYPost_Berman) July 15, 2012
And if the Knicks are adding cash to the deal, it can’t be more than $1.1 million, as they already sent $2 million to the Rockets in the Camby deal, and teams have only $3.1 million to use in trades before next July (Up $100K from last season).
Frank Isola of the New York Daily News reported a source familiar with the club’s thinking is confident that the Knicks will not match. Isola also notes that the GeriatKnicks (my word, not Frank’s), with Thomas and Camby, will now have two of the players who were on the roster the last time the team won a playoff series, in 2000 against the Miami Heat in the second round. Isola also tweeted this today:
Grant Hill, NBA’s second oldest player behind Kurt Thomas, is considering Knicks, Lakers & Heat. Hill’s wife, the singer Tamia, prefers NY
— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) July 15, 2012
Lin was a close friend of guard Landry Fields, who will be joining the Toronto Raptors after New York declined to match his $20 million offer sheet.