Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Knicks Get Guard, Hedge Bets on Jeremy

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Knicks Get Guard, Hedge Bets on Jeremy

Article excerpt

NEW YORK -- The Knicks have insisted since last season ended that they would match any offer for Jeremy Lin. But as they waited for the clock on that decision to begin, the team may no longer be quite so sure.

First, they let his close friend -- who hosted him on a couch for the start of Lin's tenure in New York -- walk. Just over two hours before the deadline for a decision on Landry Fields, the Knicks confirmed that they would not match the three-year, $20 million offer sheet presented by the Toronto Raptors.

Then the Knicks swung a late-night deal, sending Jared Jeffries, Dan Gadzuric and a future draft pick to Portland for point guard Raymond Felton and Kurt Thomas. And suddenly nothing sounds quite so absolute in New York.

Though Lin signed an offer sheet with the Rockets on Friday for a three-year, $25.1 million deal -- including a poison-pill third year -- as of 10 p.m. Saturday the Knicks had not been presented with the offer sheet. Despite reports from Las Vegas that said the Rockets were trying to deliver it to New York general manager Glen Grunwald in that city, where the Knicks began their summer league play, it never arrived.

Once they receive it the Knicks have three days to match -- a decision that seemed simple, but does carry dire luxury-tax ramifications for the franchise.

The deal is set up with a $14.9 million third year, fully guaranteed, which means that the Knicks could be responsible for $45 million in luxury tax payments in 2014-15 -- and the cause could be a player whom team officials are gambling will become the kind of star that they imagine he can be.

The Knicks already lost one starter when they opted to let Fields' offer sheet from the Raptors go unmatched with the deadline expiring at midnight Saturday. Now with the acquisition of Felton, the Knicks have provided an out in their pursuit of Lin.

Though the compensation that Houston has laid out in the offer sheet for Lin is worthy of a star, for now he is a player with just 25 games started in a career that began with him being undrafted out of Harvard and waived twice before the Knicks gave him a chance last season. …

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