Linsanity leaves Broadway and heads onto Houston as the Knicks failed to match the Rockets contract offer of three-years, $25 million to point guard Jeremy Lin.
Ironically, the Houston Rockets released Lin after training camp last December, paving the way for him to become an overnight sensation in New York. Lin will be going from making $762,195 last season to $5 million this season in Houston.
The Knicks were struggling with an 8-15 record when then head coach Mike D’Antoni inserted Lin into the line-up against the New Jersey Nets. The Knicks ended up winning that game 99-92 and Lin went off for 25 points quickly garnering national media attention.
For one month Lin found himself on the cover of Time Magazine, as well as Sports Illustrated two weeks in a row, only the 12th athlete since 1990 to do so, and made the Knicks relevant in the NBA again. Just as quickly as Linsanity began it was over.
First Lin was embarrassed by the Miami Heat in a nationally televised game going 1 for 11 from the field and committing eight turnovers. Next D’Antoni resigned after the Knicks proceeded to lose eight of their last 10 games. Then Lin tore his meniscus in a game in late March and missed the rest of the season recovering from surgery. With Lin sidelined, the Knicks were easily eliminated by the Heat in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
Lin was humble and grateful about his time with the Knicks, tweeting, “Much love and thankfulness to the Knicks and New York for your support the past year…easily the best year of my life.”
Knicks fans seem to be supportive of Lin’s decision as well.
“I wish him well, but just not when he plays against the Knicks,” said New York resident and intern at CBS Sports Eddie Segarra.
The undrafted point guard out of Harvard seems to be looking forward to returning to Houston, tweeting, “Extremely excited and honored to be a Houston Rocket again!!”
Houston was clever in the way they signed Lin back loading the final year of his contract so he would be making $15 million during the 2014-15 season. In order for the Knicks to have matched this they would have gone over the NBA salary cap limit and would have had to pay between $30-40 million in luxury taxes during that season.
The Rockets are thought to be a smart home for Lin since they successfully marketed Yao Ming for eight seasons both to the Asian-American population and in China. While Ming was a Rocket the team saw higher television ratings. Also, Ming and other Houston players enjoyed lucrative shoe contracts with Chinese companies.
In an article on ESPN.com, Dave Hardsity operator of Rockets fan information source website, “ClutchFans,” explained the impact Jeremy Lin can have on the Rockets organization stating, “while Jeremy Lin the player is not likely to be worth his new contract, Jeremy Lin the brand is worth that and more to the Rockets.”
Lin’s No. 7 Rockets replica jersey is sure to be a hot item leading up to the start of the 2012-2013 NBA season. According to CNBC, Lin had the second highest jersey sales last season beating out the likes of Kobe Bryant and Lebron James, only coming in behind Bulls point guard Derrick Rose. His jersey is currently on sale on RocketsShop.com for the price of $55.43.
Meanwhile, the Knicks are already feeling financial losses from Lin’s departure. From February 6, the start of Lin’s historic rise, until July 5 when rumors began that Lin might leave for another team Madison Square Garden’s stock price rose 31.6 percent. Madison Square Garden is the home of the New York Knicks. Two weeks after the trade was announced MSG’s stock price dropped 8.5 percent.
The Knicks organization might suffer financial consequences from Lin’s departure but their fans seem to still be willing to support them.
“I’m a Knicks fan through the good and the bad and not because of the excitement Lin brought to the Garden,” said Segarra.
The NBA released the 2012-2013 schedule this past week and the first matchup between the Lin and Rockets versus the New York Knicks comes on November 23 at the Toyota Center in Houston. However, Knicks fans will have to wait patiently for December 17 when Lin steps foot back in Madison Square Garden.
While Knicks fans are left to wonder what could have been, Rockets fans and Jeremy Lin fans have something new and exciting to look forward to this season.