When Houston first offered Jeremy Lin a backloaded contract which would pay out $14.8 million in the final year (and $25 million in total over 3 years), league sources seemed convinced that the New York Knicks were going to match just about any offer. Indeed, some even speculated that the Rockets were merely engaging in a bit of gamesmanship: they knew that the Knicks would match, and they were hoping to drive up the cost at which they would be able to do so, and in turn pocket a greater luxury tax return.
Even as recently as a week ago, the Jason Kidd signing was announced in the context of him signing on as a mentor and backup to Lin. Just 4 days ago, Coach Woodson further reiterated that Lin would head into training camp as the starting point guard, and that it was his job to lose.
Things took a turn for the bizarre when it was reported that Knicks GM Glen Grunwald was trying to hide from couriers’ efforts to hand him the Rockets’ offer sheet (presumably to delay the 3 day period for the Knicks to match the offer). Rumours then started to spread about the Knicks possibility not matching the offer, despite previous proclamations that they would match any offer up to a billion dollars.
Then the Knicks executed a sign-and-trade for point guard Raymond Felton (4 years $18 million). Then JR Smith and Carmelo Anthony appeared to come out and take a few public shots at Lin’s contract. Now? The Knicks are looking like they will not match the offer sheet, despite it appearing to be a near lock that they would keep Lin just a few days ago.
What changed? Who knows. There are certainly more than a few rumours and theories floating around the cyberspace, but for now, it’s looking like if “Linsanity” is to resume next season, it will be happening in Houston, Texas.