Jeremy Lin has been the summer’s most talked about free agent, second to only that of the Dwight Howard soap opera, who needs his maturity level to equal that of his physical stature. But enough about that, Lin has been a beloved New York Knick for the past season, the fans love him, the team loves him, the cheerleaders love him, even team owner James Dolan would circumvent a material marriage to the revenue Linsanity brought to the franchise. But it’s all for naught: the orange and blue lights of Linsanity has changed its bulbs to red, thus ending the shortest dynasty of super stardom the Knicks have ever experienced.
The sensational February run that Jeremy Lin had was one for the ages, it brought an ‘end-of-the-bench’ afterthought to a starter in of one of the biggest markets in basketball. A feat just as impressive as it was unpredictable, especially considering the fact he only played in 35 games while starting 26 of them. Fact: Jeremy Lin was a nobody during the beginning of last year’s season. He made, at least compared to regular NBA salaries, a relatively small sum of $788,000. Which in itself is ridiculous as doctors and lawyers combined make around $250,000 per annum, but high salaries for athletes are no surprise these days. What is a surprise, however, is the contract Jeremy Lin managed to get after performing well for a third of a season. Lin scored a three-year, $25 million contract with the Houston Rockets and Knicks management released an official statement on Tuesday 17 July saying that they decided not to match the offer. So, Jeremy Lin is officially a Houston Rocket, being due $5 million at the end of next season, another $5 million at the conclusion of the 2013-2014 season, and a whopping $15 million in the final year of his contract. A sum that his Harvard graduating class would probably classify as a ‘good-start’ for the first American-born Asian player of Chinese and Taiwanese descent in NBA history. Not bad for someone who was sleeping on then team-mate Landry Fields couch for most of the season, is it?
Naturally, at least when it comes to someone who significantly increased revenue in arguably the biggest market in the US, there was uproar in Knicks nation. Die-hard fan and ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith spoke on behalf of the Knicks nation after the news broke, “Jeremy Lin can play basketball, there’s no doubt about that and I won’t take that away from him,” he started to say, “However, the Knicks became a better team this offseason. Lin was too much: too much money, too much hype and not enough talent for the Knicks’ win-now mentality. They can’t afford to wait around for Lin to become great. This window of opportunity with ‘Melo, Amar’e and Tyson Chandler might close in three years, which would be the end of Jeremy Lin’s contract. Lin totally played the system, and I commend him on being the smart Harvard graduate that he is, but the Knicks are a better team, not because of Lin’s departure, but because of the new pieces they got in Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd and Marcus Camby.”
Houston head coach Kevin McHale was a superstar centre in his haydays with the Boston Celtics, playing with the likes of Larry Bird. He had nothing but good things to say about the agrresiveness and eventual success of the Rockets front office getting their man this time, “We’re really glad that New York didn’t match because we really needed a good young player,” McHale said, “There wasn’t a practice that went by in December that we all didn’t go, ‘Man, that kid plays hard.’ He’s such a hardworking and diligent guy that we all wondered if there was any way we could keep him around and get rid of one of the other guaranteed contacts.”
Ultimately, Lin has joined McHale, and Houston’s closest thing to a star in shooting guard Kevin Martin, for the upcoming season. On top of a new club, he got the biggest contract possible out of playing up-tempo basketball for three weeks in New York City.