Last night it was officially announced that the New York Knicks would not match the Houston Rockets offer to Jeremy Lin and just like that Linsanity in NY is over. In an exclusive interview with Sports Illustrated, Jeremy Lin opened up about the situation and finally gave his side of the story.
The call that ended Linsanity lasted a mere 30 seconds according to Lin. The call came from general manager Glen Grunwald and he stated: “We wanted to keep you, but it couldn’t work out. Tell your family I say hello, and good luck the rest of the way.” Lin’s reply was just as short and direct: “I just want to thank you. Best of luck in the future.” And just like that it was over, but what led to this?
The Knicks initially informed Lin that they had every intention of bringing him back and were only seeking backup point guards. The names mentioned included Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, Andre Miller and Raymond Felton. There was just one problem; as the free agent market opened the Knicks never made Lin an offer. They instead let him go out into the free agent market where he received a lucrative offer from the Houston Rockets, the team that released him less than a year ago. After revising their initial offer the Rockets than gave him a back loaded offer of three years for $25.1 million, with the money rising from $5 million in the first season, to $5.225 million in the second, to $14.898 million in the third. The Knicks were soon on the clock. Lin watched as they signed Jason Kidd with no alarm but the signing of Raymond Felton set off bells. That coupled with his one and only offer sheet didn’t leave Lin with much to consider. “Honestly, I preferred New York,” Lin said. “But my main goal in free agency was to go to a team that had plans for me and wanted me. I wanted to have fun playing basketball. … Now I’m definitely relieved.”
James Dolan and the Knicks organization gives a different take on the situation. According to the Daily News The decision was both financial and emotional since Garden chairman James Dolan was upset over Lin restructuring his deal with Houston last week to include a third year salary of $14.9 million. Dolan, according to sources, felt he was deceived by the 23-year-old Lin. Team officials privately felt that Lin’s actions over the past few weeks were anything but grateful. They were upset that he hired a publicist without their consent and were livid that the second-year point guard out of Harvard went back to the Rockets for more money. The restructured contract with the third year going up to $14.9 million would have cost the Knicks another $35 million in luxury taxes.
While many people believe Lin is money hungry and ungrateful, he wants everyone to know that that’s far from the truth. “I love the New York fans to death,” Lin said. “That’s the biggest reason why I wanted to return to New York. The way they embraced me, the way they supported us this past season, was better than anything I’ve ever seen or experienced. I’ll go to my grave saying that. What New York did for me was unbelievable. I wanted to play in front of those fans for the rest of my career.”
Not sure who you agree with but that’s the two sides of the story and I think it’s time for all of us to move on.