SBD/July 6, 2012/Franchises

Knicks Must Weigh Marketing Vs. Contract In Whether To Bring Lin Back

The Rockets offered Lin a four-year, $28.8M contract with an increase in the third year
The Rockets Thursday agreed on a four-year, $28.8M contract with restricted free agent G Jeremy Lin, and the "hope is that the jump to $9.3 million per season in the third year of the contract ... will keep New York from matching" the deal, according to a source cited by Jonathan Feigen of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. The Knicks "seem certain to face a luxury tax" during the third season, as the tax "becomes increasingly punitive." However, a source said that the Rockets are "not confident that the Knicks will not pay any price to match the offer and keep Lin." Lin cannot officially sign the deal until Wednesday, at which point the Knicks have three days to match it (CHRON.com, 7/5). ESPN’s Jemele Hill said the Knicks "tend to make mistakes larger by compounding it with bigger mistakes. It would be a huge mistake to give this money to Jeremy Lin.” But Dallas Morning News columnist Tim Cowlishaw said the Knicks “have been an irrelevant team that couldn’t do anything for years" and that re-signing Lin is a “risk, but you have to see how this plays out.” Cowlishaw: “They’ve had some of the worst teams money can buy, and now they’re going to worry about a $10 million a year contract for a guy that can play?” L.A. Times columnist Bill Plaschke said, “Lin may be worth that kind of money to the Rockets in terms of marketing and exposure and buzz. I don’t think he’s worth that to the Knicks.” ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan: “Yao Ming was the big star of the Houston Rockets and drew an Asian community there that just blew everybody away, so they already know how to make it work in terms of marketing there” (“Around The Horn,” ESPN, 7/5). The N.Y. Daily News’ Tim Smith said of Lin, “He's such a marketing tool for them. When Linsanity hit, the ticket sales went up, it was just phenomenal.” Smith added, “I think they would want to re-sign him for nothing more than that. ... From a marketing standpoint, they’ve got to bring him back” (“Daily News Live,” SportsNet N.Y., 7/5).

WILLING TO GO THE EXTRA MILE: In N.Y., Stefan Bondy notes unlike the "vast number of NBA owners," Nets Owner Mikhail Prokhorov has "pooh-poohed the idea of a revamped luxury tax, bankrolling the Nets' unihibited spending and star chasing this offseason." Even if the club does not land C Dwight Howard in a trade with the Magic, it will "most certainly be paying the luxury tax until 2016" with around $230M owed to G Deron Williams and Fs Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace. Nets coach Avery Johnson said, "When he first bought the team, he said he would do whatever it took to build a championship team. He has a chance to step up and be a really dynamic owner, because as time goes on we're going to be spending a lot of money" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 7/6).

THIS IS GOING TO HURT: The GLOBE & MAIL's Jeff Blair writes G Steve Nash in agreeing to a sign-and-trade deal to join the Lakers "dealt Canada’s only NBA franchise something deeper than a flesh wound." The Raptors reportedly had offered Nash a three-year deal for $36M, and Raptors President & GM Bryan Colangelo’s backup plan -- "swapping a lottery-protected first-rounder and forward Gary Forbes to the Houston Rockets for point guard Kyle Lowry -- won’t sell jerseys or drive up television ratings or bring people back to the Air Canada Centre." Blair: "The diehards will buy in, but for the majority of fans in Toronto and across the country, the Raptors will remain something that Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment uses to pay the bills between Maple Leafs games" (GLOBE & MAIL, 7/6).
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