The New York Knicks do not want to lose upcoming restricted free-agent Jeremy Lin and did not think there was a chance they would. Now the emerging star’s agent, Roger Montgomery, is reportedly suggesting that it’s going to be a process to lock up Lin to a long-term deal.
Marc Berman of the New York Post interviewed the agent and asked him if he thought the contract negotiations would be simple.
“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.’’
They are waiting to hear the results of the Players Association’s arbitration hearing on Lin’s behalf, which concern his Bird rights. If they win, New York can circumvent the cap to re-sign Lin and should match any offer.
Regardless of how the arbitration turns out, it is looking more and more likely that Montgomery will be seeking another suitor who has the cap space to back-load their offer and make a more financially appealing push to land the player.
Here is Berman’s explanation on how Lin can be offered a big contract from a competitor, assuming the Players Association loses their arbitration hearing concerning Lin’s Bird rights:
Under the CBA, teams under the cap — such as Toronto — can offer Lin the league’s average salary of about $5M for the first two years, then jack the third and fourth years to the maximum of $15 million. The club is permitted to do so only if it is far enough below the cap to take in the average wage of Lin’s four-year offer. Such a “back-loaded offer’’ causes concerns for the Knicks, who by the third year of Lin’s contract would be well over the luxury-tax apron of $74 million, costing them a heavy tax and their full mid-level exception as a taxpayer.
If a team, such as Toronto, makes a financially enticing pitch to bring Linsanity to their city, New York will have to seriously weigh their options if they want to consider matching.
On one hand, they retain a huge marketing opportunity and, potentially, an incredible basketball player (based on a limited 26-game sample). On the other, he’s coming off an injury and it is unknown if he will ever live up to such a massive deal.
One thing is certain, we likely won’t know anytime soon what will happen with Jeremy Lin. The player and his agent will likely use the upcoming offseason to the fullest extent in order to maximize earnings and financial security.