But Lin’s meteoric rise to NBA stardom was interrupted by a season-ending injury that forced him to sit out the Knicks’ first round loss during the NBA playoffs.
Now Lin is the hot ticket in the NBA’s free agency market. The Houston Rockets sweetened the pot with a $25 million offer sheet last week. But Knicks coach Mike Woodson was confident that the Knicks would match the offer by Tuesday’s 11:59 p.m. deadline. That is until Lin flew to Las Vegas under the cover of darkness to sign a new offer sheet — one that would guarantee the turnover-prone guard a three-year, $25 million contract — with a final year balloon payment of $14.9 million.
Due to the stiff penalties for NBA luxury-tax repeat offenders, the Knicks could conceivably pay $58.3 million for the season to retain Lin’s services.
Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony — who wasn’t fond of sharing the attention with Lin — called the contract offers for such an inexperienced player “ridiculous.”
“It’s up to the organization to say they want to match that ridiculous contract that’s out there,” Anthony told reporters before practicing for the USA Olympic team.
And according to the LA Times, New York shooting guard J.R. Smith told Sports Illustrated on Sunday that certain teammates might make Lin feel unwelcome if he returns to the Knicks making the kind of money he’s been offered.
“I think some guys take it personal, because they’ve been doing it longer and haven’t received any reward for it yet,” said Smith, who recently re-signed with the Knicks for two years and $5.6 million. I think it’s a tough subject to touch on for a lot of guys.” Source
Ironically, Houston cut Lin in Dec. 2011. He was claimed off waivers by the Knicks. So much for loyalty in the team that gave him a chance, and made Lin a household name.