Machiavellian negotiating tactic by Lin leads to his departure from the Big Apple
BY DYLAN SKRILOFF
When you wear your faith on your sleeve, it’s expected your deeds match your words.
Throughout Jeremy Lin’s surprise 2011-12 NBA campaign, which brought him fame and ultimately fortune, Lin consistently and publicly referred to the Holy Bible and his Christian faith as being the anchor in his life and his journey.
He was able to consistently promote Christianity without making people want to squirm or attack him, unlike similar sensation Tim Tebow. But when it came time to negotiate a new contract, the overnight success story suddenly turned to the devil’s handbook.
Reports from New York City tabloids and ESPN indicate that Knicks owner James Dolan would not match Lin’s three-year $25 million contract with the Houston Rockets, the one containing the infamous third year “poison-pill” balloon payment of $14 million, because Lin had tricked him with a negotiating tactic in order to get more money.
You see Lin’s camp had told the Knicks that the Rockets unofficially offered him a four year deal at $28.8 million and was able to cajole them into confirming they would match the offer. Perhaps with someone they deemed less trustworthy they would have held their cards closer to their vest.
But alas, having given away the game, the Knicks got their goose cooked. The Rockets, now knowing where the Knicks stood, instead inked Lin to the three-year deal with the $14 million balloon payment, that would potentially cause the Knicks to spend an additional $20 million in luxury tax on top of the $14 million base salary.
The Knicks still could have matched the offer and figured out ways to move contracts around when the time approached, but James Dolan, described by a NYC tabloid as a “notorious grudge holder,” instead decided to let the phenom point guard walk.
So Lin’s shady move has led to Linsanity coming to the Houston Rockets. There will be less of a logjam of talent in Houston, and Lin may be able to excel in personal statistics, more than he would have with the Knicks in 2012-13.
In his brief tenure with the Knicks, Lin made history, going on a nine game run that will forever be known as “Linsanity.” The entire world was watching Lin with bated breath and it seemed night after night he shocked them with another dominant, magical performance, leading the Knicks to an 8-1 record and putting them back in the playoff hunt.
As only the second major NBA star of Asian heritage, Lin’s story had even more appeal. It also is unheard of for an NBA player to come from nowhere like Lin did. It does happen in other sports, but rarely in NBA.
However, Lin’s contribution diminished as stars Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire came back from injuries. Then Lin suffered his own injury and it was Carmelo Anthony that led the Knicks down the stretch with his own amazing run of dominance. Concerns over the chemistry between Lin, Carmelo and Stoudemire will now no longer be the subject of constant conversation in New York.
The Knicks have brought back point guard Raymond Felton, who fit in well with Stoudemire in 2010-11 before being traded in the Carmelo Anthony deal, as well as future Hall-of-Famer Jason Kidd as a back-up.
Oddly, no sooner was Lin’s poison pill contract announced, then Jason Kidd got arrested for DWI after partying in the Hamptons.
Perhaps the heavens were aggravated.
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