HANG TIME PLAYOFF HEADQUARTERS — No one said Linsanity would last forever.
But one-and-done in New York for Jeremy Lin?
Apparently there are no guarantees that Knicks fans will get an encore performance from the mercurial point guard who took the NBA, and the global basketball world, by storm this season when he burst onto the scene.
Lin will be a restricted free agent this summer and according to his agent, Roger Montgomery, is not necessarily destined to sign with the Knicks, courtesy of the New York Post:
“I don’t expect that. We’re not anticipating that’s going to happen. We don’t have assurances of anything. I know history shows most restricted free agents go back to their team, but I’m not going to assume anything. We’re waiting to see what happens.”
Surely, those aren’t the words Knicks fans want to hear. Not after Knicks coach Mike Woodson declared at season’s end that Lin would be back. And certainly not after seeing the impact Lin had on their team when he was healthy, after helping them revive their season only to miss the playoffs with an injury.
But after bringing the Knicks a wave of attention beyond just the basketball and sports world, Lin’s future appears a bit cloudy. Not only will he be a man without a contract as of July 1, there are other factors at play that could change his status as a restricted free agent, according to ESPNNewYork.com:
Thanks to a clause in the CBA — named after Gilbert Arenas — the Knicks can match any offer made to Lin this summer.
Another factor in Lin’s free agency is the expected arbitration hearing over the Bird and Early Bird exceptions to the salary cap for waived players.
The union and league are at odds over whether the Bird rights for waived players should be transferred to their new teams. The union says the rights, which allow teams to exceed the salary cap to re-sign players, should transfer for players who are waived. The league argues that the Bird rights should not transfer.
This is significant for Lin because he was picked up off of waivers by the Knicks. If the arbitrator rules in favor of the union, then the Knicks would be allowed to exceed the cap to sign both Lin and forward Steve Novak, who also was acquired off of waivers.
This would also allow the Knicks to use their $5 million mid-level exception on another player. If the arbitrator rules in favor of the league, the Knicks will likely have to use their mid-level exception to re-sign Lin and would be limited in their pursuit of other free agents.
Lin’s value to the Knicks was never more obvious than it was during the playoffs, when they struggled to find the right fit at point guard without him against the Miami Heat. A knee injury to Baron Davis further complicated the issue and leave the Knicks with few options heading into the summer.
Lin’s stock couldn’t be much higher, but there is another free agent option believed to be on the Knicks’ radar as well and that’s two-time MVP Steve Nash.