There is a debate going on about whether or not free agent point guard Jeremy Lin is worth big money. On Thursday July 05, 2012, Lin and the Houston Rockets agreed to a four-year $28.9 million offer sheet. If the Knicks match the offer, they will likely exceed the salary cap in the final two years of the contract. That could cost the Knicks as much as $35 million in luxury taxes. This is the predicament that the Knicks are in. But Lin is not the problem. Amar'e Stoudemire is.
Lin is definitely worth the money. If the Knicks had cap space, they would have offered him the $23 million four-year deal without even thinking. Instead, they let Lin test free agency and Lin won.
Now play along with me for a minute. Put Lin's potential contract next to the existing contracts of Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and Stoudemire. Now keep three and refund one. No matter how you slice it, Stoudemire is the odd man out.
Lin is absolutely worth $28.9 million. He may have a small body of work, but what he did in that time was spectacular. It has been quite a while since a Knicks player energized teammates and fans the way Lin did. He played like an all-star.
The Knicks overpaid for Anthony, so they must live or die with him. He has played like an elite player. But he has also looked lost. Anthony just needs to learn what it really takes to win in the NBA.
Chandler has far exceeded expectations. He brought defense, leadership and experience to New York. Chandler is worth every penny.
Then there's Stoudemire. He revitalized the Knicks when he first arrived. But since Anthony came to town, Stoudemire has been disappointing. He has not found a way to play well with Anthony. He has been injury prone. In the last two playoff seasons, Stoudemire missed games because of self-inflicted injuries. And in June 2012, Stoudemire was fined $50,000 by the NBA for tweeting a gay slur.
So the question is not whether Lin is worth $28.9 million. The question is whether Stoudemire is worth $100 million. Lin's deal is not the poison pill. Stoudemire's contract is what's really hard to swallow right now. And the Knicks have to do something about that.
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Edwin Torres was born in New York City. He has been a Knicks fan since the early 1980s. He has visited Madison Square Garden on many occasions to watch the Knicks and his favorite player, Patrick Ewing. For more articles, follow him on Twitter @FlipPoker.