Lin wanted to finish career as a Knick
October, 16, 2012
By Jared Zwerling | ESPNNewYork.com
In an upcoming story in GQ, Jeremy Lin said he wanted to be a New York Knick for life.
"You can't ask for a city or a fan base to embrace somebody more than they embraced me," he said in the magazine's November issue, as the cover subject. "I know it's kind of silly to talk about it with only two years under my belt in the league, but going in before free agency, I was like, 'I want to play in front of these fans for the rest of my career.' I really did.
"I really wanted to play in front of the Madison Square Garden fans for the rest of my career, because they're just unbelievable."
Lin thought so, too. Even Houston made that clear to him.
"The Rockets thought I was going to be a Knick," he said. "They told me when I signed, 'We think it's an 80 to 95 percent chance of that happening.'"
But after Rockets GM Daryl Morey upped the back-loaded part of Lin's contract to $14.8 million in the third year, the Knicks didn't want to match the offer for the restricted free agent because of financial penalties. Knicks GM Glen Grunwald addressed that on Knicks' media day.
"Basically, it comes down to the fact that Houston made a commitment to him that we weren't prepared to make," he said. "But I'm very happy for Jeremy that things worked out for him personally and for his family, and I wish him the best."
If the Knicks ended up signing Lin, they would have been due a significant luxury tax in the third year of his deal, also factoring the millions owed to Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler. That would've potentially brought their total out-of-pocket cost for the team's salary to about $43 million during the 2014-15 season.
Knowing that they were going to let Lin go to Houston, Raymond Felton was brought in just one day before that decision via a sign-and-trade with the Trail Blazers. By that point, they were already locked in with a legit backup point guard in Jason Kidd. So all in all, preparing for the Lin departure had its positives.
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