Opening Tip: Jeremy Lin's free agency


Every day throughout the season, ESPNNewYork.com will tackle a burning question about the Knicks in our "Opening Tip" segment.

Today's Burning Question: If you were interim GM Glen Grunwald (or whomever happens to be the Knicks' GM this summer), what would you do with Jeremy Lin, who will be a restricted free agent?

Jeremy Lin will be able to test the free-agent market this summer. And there will likely be plenty of suitors -- even though, according to a great piece by ESPN.com's Marc Stein, rival teams believe Lin is a lock to re-sign with New York.

Thanks to a provision in the collective bargaining agreement named after Gilbert Arenas, the Knicks will be able to match any offer another team makes to Lin (for more on the provision, check out CBA expert Larry Coon's detailed breakdown here).

But the Knicks will likely have to dip into their mid-level exception to make the requisite offer to keep Lin, which would take them out of play for other free agents (see: Nash, Steve).

Still, all signs point to the Knicks re-signing Lin. He single-handedly saved their season and has done wonders for their bottom line.

But there are a number of factors to consider if you're the one making the call:

Would you rather go after Nash, who is a sure thing for a team that's in "win now" mode? Or would you go with Lin and live through the inevitable ups and downs developing players go through?

(For what it's worth, Lin has heard all the Nash-to-NY rumors, which heated up after he went down with a meniscus tear. And this is what he thinks about them: "I haven’t been around that long, but I’ve been around long enough in the NBA, not New York, (to know) there’s always going to be rumors and whatnot. I can’t worry about that stuff.")

Another factor: Will Lin and Carmelo Anthony be able to co-exist?

It was a small sample size, for sure, but in the 17 games Lin and Anthony shared the floor together after Anthony came back from a groin injury, Anthony averaged 16.9 points per game on 40 percent shooting. It's also worth noting that while Anthony's numbers were down, the Knicks were winning under Mike Woodson.

Naturally, Anthony's numbers have gone up since Lin and Amare Stoudemire were injured. (With those two scoring options unavailable, it makes sense for the team to rely heavily on Anthony.)

But is there no middle ground for Lin and Anthony? Can a coach find a happy medium between Lin's preferred style (ball movement and spacing) and Anthony's (which is heavy on isolation)? Or does the coach have to acquiesce to one player over the other (in which case Anthony would likely win out)?

Lastly, who will coach the Knicks next season? Is it someone who can find that medium between Anthony and Lin? The Knicks were 6-1 with Lin and Anthony sharing the floor in games coached by Woodson. The Knicks' interim head coach seemed to find a balance between getting the ball to Anthony in the post -- which he did with more regularity after the Lin and Stoudemire injuries -- and letting Lin work the ball around the perimeter. Can another coach improve on that? Will the next coach use a system that maximizes Lin's ability?

For his part, Lin hasn't said much about his impending free agency. For now, he's taking a wait-and-see approach to the proceedings.

"Free agency starts when, July 1st? We’ll talk to them on July 1st," Lin said on Sunday. "I’m restricted, too, so that puts another element to it. I’m just going to let it happen the way it’s supposed to happen and not going to worry about it too much right now."

Again, in all likelihood, the Knicks will bring back Lin. But there certainly are things to consider before that decision is made.

Question: What would you do if you were the Knicks' GM? Would you re-sign Lin? Go after Nash? Wait to see who's coaching the team next season?

Let us know in the comments section below.

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