- (Photo: REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine)
The New York Knicks recently acquired their former point guard Raymond Felton from the Portland Trailblazers in a sign-and-trade deal which has caused many to question if their current backcourt with newly acquired veteran Jason Kidd is solid enough to forego the acquisition of Jeremy Lin and the hefty price tag that comes along with the Asian-American guard.
Although the New York Daily News reported that the Knicks had re-signed 28-year-old Felton and veteran big man Kurt Thomas in a sign-and-trade for Jared Jeffries and Dan Gadzuric, Lin also signed an offer sheet from the Houston Rockets that would give New York the opportunity to match it by Tuesday night. However, Lin's offer sheet is reportedly causing the New York executive office to think twice about bringing back the Harvard graduate called "Linsanity" since the third year of his contract would force the team to pay out $14.9 million along with a pricey salary cap.
While Lin would cost the Knicks $25 million to match the Rockets' three year offer sheet, Felton's contract would reportedly only cost the team $10 million over a three-year time period. With the pricey contracts of the team's stars Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler in existence over the next three years, some believe Felton joining the team is a sign that Lin will not.
ESPN sources close to Lin reportedly told the network that the "Linsanity" was shocked that the Knicks signed Felton.
"He was very surprised," the source said. "He felt the whole time that the Knicks would just match the offer."
Although the Knicks have until Tuesday night to officially match any offers from the Rockets, Lin's teammate who was recently traded for Felton spoke as if the Asian-American guard was already out of the door in New York
"I never thought they would let him go," Jeffries told ESPN New York Sunday.
While Lin averaged 14.6 points, 6.2 assists and 3.1 rebounds in 35 games with 25 starts before a season-ending injury stopped his backcourt action for the Knicks, Felton also put up numbers for the team during the 2010-2011 season. Before Felton was traded to the Denver Nuggets for Anthony, he averaged 17 points and 9 assists for the Knicks.
Some of the Knicks players who have grown accustomed to Lin reacted to the news that he may no longer be a part of the team come Wednesday morning. Knicks Center Tyson Chandler said he would be happy for Lin whether he played for New York or Houston.
"I think everything about Jeremy Lin this year has been surprising," Chandler said in ESPN reports. "But I'm very happy for him. He's (been) given a great contract whether it's with us or Houston."
Small forward and fellow team leader Anthony did not seem too confident in Lin's return to his Knicks.
"A lot of people try to jump the gun with 'he's going to be back no matter what,'" Anthony said. "At the end of the day, he's a free agent so he should be testing the market."