Are basketball fans in Texas ready for Linsanity? Are those in the Big Apple ready to lose it?
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo!, the Houston Rockets have made a multi-year offer to restricted free agent Jeremy Lin. The New York Knicks can match Houston's offer (and any other team's) to keep the point guard who took the league and New York by storm last season.
But will they? Various reports say the Knicks are poised to match any offer for Lin. However, Wojnarowski tweeted that the Rockets' offer includes back-loaded money which could make match the deal quite unpalatable for executives at the Garden.
Houston tried retaining backup point guard Goran Dragic by offering a deal that would pay him $8 million a year. But after after Kobe Bryant and the Lakers swooped and acquired two-time MVP Steve Nash in a sign-and-trade, the Suns pounced on Dragic and signed him to a four-year deal.
New York was said to be the frontrunners in the Nash sweepstakes earlier on Wednesday, but Nash chose L.A. to be closer to his family. Now that the Knicks have lost out on one point guard, will they pull out all the stops to keep Lin?
As Lin is a restricted free agent, the Knicks have the right to match the deal. According to multiple reports, the Knicks do intend to do so, pairing Lin with Jason Kidd, who has reportedly agreed to come to New York by way of a separate deal.
PREVIOUSLY FROM THE ASSOCIATED PRESS:
NEW YORK (AP) — Jeremy Lin will visit the Houston Rockets on Wednesday, two people with knowledge of the plans said, and the New York Knicks restricted free agent is expected to get a contract offer.
The Rockets waived Lin last December and he was claimed by the Knicks, turning into a breakout star when he landed the starting point guard job. Now with Goran Dragic not expected to return, Houston may want Lin back.
One of the people told The Associated Press on Tuesday the Rockets are planning to make Lin a multiyear offer, though the Knicks can match it and have said they intend to keep him. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the negotiations were to remain private.
The Rockets liked Lin, but had Kyle Lowry and Dragic ahead of him and needed to open a spot so they could add Samuel Dalembert to the roster. So they waived Lin, a decision general manager Daryl Morey would later write on Twitter that he regretted during Lin's sensational February stretch that made him the biggest story in the NBA.
The undrafted guard from Harvard, the NBA's first American-born player of Chinese or Taiwanese decent, would fit nicely with the Rockets, who remain popular in Asia even after former center Yao Ming's retirement.
But both coach Mike Woodson and general manager Glen Grunwald have said the Knicks planned to keep Lin, who averaged 14.6 points and 6.2 assists in 35 games, 25 starts, before his season ended because of surgery to repair torn knee cartilage.
The Knicks may have to match two offers to keep their starting backcourt intact. Landry Fields plans to sign an offer sheet with the Toronto Raptors that his agency said is worth about $20 million over three years.
The Knicks are looking for veteran point guard help, hoping to land Steve Nash, but they don't want to lose Lin, whose popularity made them fans around the world and had merchandise flying off the shelves at Madison Square Garden. They scored their highest TV ratings in years during the height of "Linsanity."
Deals can't be signed until July 11. The Knicks would then have three days to match.
AP Sports Writer Chris Duncan contributed to this report.
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