Lin, a 23-year-old point guard, may be close to the end of the line in New York after the New York Knicks reached agreement on July 14 on a sign-and-trade deal with the Portland Trail Blazers to acquire point guard Raymond Felton.
Knicks Have Three Point Guards Under Contract
The Knicks now have three point guards under contract, veteran Jason Kidd, Felton and Argentine guard Pablo Prigioni, and that does not bode well for Lin's future in New York.
On Long Island on July 14, No. 17 New York Knicks jerseys and t-shirts, along with the "Lin-sanity" shirts that were so popular just a few months ago, were clogging the clearance racks at stores like Champ's Sports and Macy's.
What a difference five months can make. To say the least, Lin was a fan favorite in New York. One fan, a high-powered lawyer named Mitchell Schecter, even paid a ridiculous sum of $42,388 to meet Lin after a game in February.
"I'm overwhelmed beyond words. When [my wife] she told me, I couldn't breathe," Schecter said of the CharityBuzz.com prize, that benefits MSG's Garden of Dreams Foundation. "I mean, I'm 58 years old, I've been around the block. But this is something, he's put me [in a state], I feel 14. It's been that special."
Lin had a similar effect on many New York sports fans, as he made them believe that an underdog can succeed with a little hard work and determination.
He captivated the Knicks fan base and made the team relevant again for the first time since Patrick Ewing and John Starks graced the court at "The World's Most Famous Arena."
Will the Knicks Match Rockets' Offer?
The Knicks officially have until 11:59 p.m. ET on July 17 to match the Rockets' offer sheet.
I'm hoping the Knicks find a way to keep Lin in New York because no one elecrifies Madison Square Garden like he does.
Jason Kidd is past his prime and probably won't be able to play for more than 25 to 30 minutes per game, and Prigioni isn't NBA-proven. Felton is a nice piece to the puzzle, but his assists and points per game are comparable to Lins' at this point in his career. Felton may be a comparable talent, but he doesn't captivate the imagination of Knicks fans. He's not a top drawing card.
Lin brings the "X-factor" of having the uncanny ability to sell tickets, jerseys, t-shirt and other merchandise. Fans were excited about coming to "The Garden" to see what Lin would do, as Knicks games became must-see events for the first time in a long time.
Matching the Rockets' three-year, $25 million offer seems a bit on the pricey side, but Lin would help move enough merchandise and fill the seats at MSG that it would more than pay for itself over a three-year span.
Should the New York Knicks break the bank to bring back Jeremy Lin? Let me know in the comments.
Eric Holden is a lifelong New York resident and New York Knicks fan. Follow him on Twitter @ericholden.
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