Linsanity has arrived in Houston.
The Rockets' three-year, $25 million offer sheet to Jeremy Lin wasn't matched by the Knicks, who allowed the restricted free agent to return to Houston Tuesday in a decision the team described as "financial."
Lin's offer included a third-year salary of $15 million that was virtually impossible for the Knicks to absorb. The balloon payment or so-called poison pill is triple Lin's salary for 2012-13 of $5 million. He'll earn $5.235 million in the second year of the deal.
Lin, 23, was cut by the Rockets in training camp last December. Houston's general manager, Daryl Morey, said publicly he was a big Lin fan at the time but "had no idea he was this good." Morey lamented the loss of Lin, who was also released by the Warriors last season before he fell into a starring role with the Knicks.
New York first sent Lin to the D-League but then-coach Mike D'antoni turned to Lin when Mike Bibby and Baron Davis proved not to be the answer. Lin averaged 14.6 points and 6.2 assists during the 2011-12 season but played in just 35 games before the Knicks announced on April 1 that Lin needed left knee surgery. He missed the rest of the season, including the first-round playoff loss to the Heat.
Now, he's the Rockets' starting point guard.
"Welcome to Houston @JLin7! We plan to hang on this time. You will love #RedNation," Morey wrote on his Twitter feed at 11:05 p.m. ET.
Houston let Goran Dragic go to Phoenix in free agency and traded Kyle Lowry to the Raptors for a first-round pick, clearing the path for Lin.
The Rockets were reportedly planning to execute a three-year offer sheet to Bulls center Omer Asik with a large payment in the final year that would be a headache for Chicago to match.
Houston's roster is in flux and dominated by youth. Morey has made two attempts to acquire Dwight Howard from the Magic and with the roster and salary-cap flexibility to absorb Howard's contract and accept the extra baggage -- high-priced contracts for Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu and Chris Duhon, among others -- Orlando wants to unload with the All-NBA center.
The Knicks acquired Raymond Felton in a sign-and-trade deal last week and signed Jason Kidd to replace Lin at point guard.