The Knicks brought in Raymond Felton last night through a sign and trade with the Portland Trailblazers. He joins Jason Kidd* on the roster while Jeremy Lin looks more like a Houston Rocket with each passing day. In a way, it's a nice little bit of kismet, both franchises get back point guards on whom they had given up. But, as Ken Berger notes, is this also a turning of the corner for the Knicks? Is this—gasp—a smart move?
Houston's offer sheet for Lin, who has started 25 career games, would pay him $5 million next season, $5.225 million in 2013-14 and $14.9 million in [sic]'13-14. Under the Gilbert Arenas rule adopted in the 2005 collective bargaining agreement, that is how Lin will be paid whether he's in Houston or New York. But the rule calls for the Rockets' cap hit to be the yearly average of the deal, approximately $8 million annually. If the Knicks matched, Lin would count against the cap the amount that he actually is paid each year.
So, in 2014-2015 Jeremy Lin would count for almost $15 million against the cap if the Knicks were to match Houston's offer sheet. Add that to the $65 million already tied up for that year and you have a no-doubt-about-it luxury tax situation.
Looking at the Felton deal in this context, it's entirely possible that James Dolan and the New York Knicks are thinking ahead and, like, planning things responsibly. On the other hand, maybe they won't have to worry about all that nonsense. As Nate Silver pointed out, "MSG stock has gained ~$600m in market cap since Jeremy Lin's first start. Skeptical that they'd really let him go."
We'll know for sure come Monday (or maybe later thanks to some hide-and-seek games), when the time for the Knicks to match the Houston offer sheet expires.
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