By Dan Devine
When the New York Knicks confirmed Tuesday evening that they had decided not to match the three-year, $25.1 million offer sheet tendered by the Houston Rockets to restricted free-agent point guard Jeremy Lin, many fans expressed sadness at what they viewed as the too-soon conclusion of Lin’s brief, remarkably eventful tenure in Manhattan. (This one included.) Many others stood fast against that emotional tide, though, arguing that this was a logic-based decision predicated on the financial reality that Knicks owner and Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan simply couldn’t agree to pay a still-unproven commodity with a rotation-player resume just 26 games long a whopping $14.9 million for one year of work three years from now.
Even the NBA’s most valuable franchise can’t just sign up for $35 million luxury-tax payments, the argument went — and as I wrote Tuesday, the Knicks’ balance sheet indicates they’d be writing a check at least that big in 2014-15 if they matched Lin’s sheet, depending on how else they filled out the roster. Strip out the emotion, they said, and as the New York Times’ Howard Beck wrote, “the short answer” for why the Knicks would let Lin go is “money.”