Linsanity: Round 2

Jeremy Lin

Jeremy Lin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I can’t believe that Linsanity has taken flight once again.  The Houston Rockets have offered Jeremy Lin a $25 million, 3-year deal and he has signed it.  The offer has a so-called ‘poison pill’ in that the third year is for nearly $15 million.  This would make him one of the top paid point guards in the league.  This leaves the New York Knicks in the unenviable position of having to risk punishment under the new CBA that came into effect.  The new rules harshly castigate teams that go over the luxury tax threshold, and the more you go over, the more severe the punishment becomes.

Aside from the relatively small sample of strong play in February of last year, there really isn’t much to go on.  We all know how big of an impact Lin had on the Knicks last year.  But, when you look deeper, the impact was more of a financial and cultural impact.  He does not deserve top 5 at his position kind of money.  He may earn his way up to that type of contract but at this point, he’s not worth that money.  $5 million a year, which is what he’ll make in the first two years of the deal, sounds more like it.  In the first 12 starts of his career, going in to last years all-star break, he averaged 22.5 points per game and 8.7 assists per game.  That alone is worth some money based on future potential.


The downside to Jeremy Lin was his turnovers.  He set the record for turnovers during his first seven starts with 45.  That’s right, 45 turnovers in 7 games!  That’s nearly 6 1/2 per game.  In the game that ended the winning streak that marked the start of Linsanity he had 9 turnovers.  It’s completely unacceptable.  You can score 20 points a game.  But each turnover is practically a 4 point swing in the opposite direction.  His season ended on March 24th after he complained of soreness in his knee.  An MRI revealed a meniscus tear in his left knee and he opted for surgery to repair it.

What you have then is a tiny sample size to make a massive judgement call.  He averaged 18.5 points and 7.6 assists in his time as an everyday player.  For such a young player, that’s a great stat line.  He definitely deserves to get paid for potential.  One has to assume that with a full offseason, and reps as the starting point guard, he’ll get the turnovers under control.  A 23-year-old who is given the starting point guard job in the nations media capital without much advance notice should be given a little leeway.  He’s shown nothing but class and work ethic.

A close-up look at Jeremy Lin’s contract offer from the Houston Rockets. (Photo Credit: Greg Stevens)

Poison Pill

The main problem with the contract isn’t the amount of money or the length.  They are both in line with what a player of his age and history are worth.  The main thing stopping the Knicks from signing the deal is the ‘poison pill’, the ballooned 3rd year of the contract that will give him $15 million.  The Knicks simply can’t afford that hit against the luxury tax threshold.  Houston wants him bad enough that they through the provision in to hinder the Knicks.  There’s not much of a team in Houston at this point and they appear to be hoping to build around Jeremy Lin.  Only time will tell if this strategy will pan out.  Lin being able to develop and operate outside of the spotlight that is NYC can only help him.

Finishing up on the topic of ‘poison pills’…I want them out of sports.  They exist in both basketball and football and they do nothing for either sport.  It’s a manipulation of the salary cap to prevent teams from getting their ‘guy’.  It actually hurts both teams.  If Lin is worth an average of $8.3 million a year, then the Rockets being forced to pay $15 million for an $8 million a year player is damaging for their prospects in that season.  The only thing it does is prevent the Knicks from matching them (although this is far from decided at the time of writing).  I would love to see the team with the rights to the player be able to match the contract so long as the years and dollars are equal.  That’s all that should matter.  Down with ‘poison pills’.

  1. Have you gone into hibernation?

    • No, I’m just in the US right now travelling and me and my wife have been going all over the country non-stop. So we haven’t had time to sit in one place long enough. I really should have waited until after the trip to start up the new blog. Oh well. How have you been?

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