Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey has a plan. He’s going to steal your favorite team’s restricted free agent or he’s going to make you pay a ton to keep them, especially if you’re already over the salary cap. Morey already offered a huge contract to Bulls back up center Omer Asik. Chicago is already paying the luxury tax thanks to Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah’s contract extensions kicking in, meaning if they still want Asik has their back up center, they’ll be paying a lot to keep him. Now the Rockets are using the same strategy to pry Jeremy Lin away from the New York Knicks. The Rockets and Lin agreed on a four year, 28.8 million dollar offer sheet, which the Knicks are expected to match after losing out on Steve Nash.
“Knicks officials have been very clear over the past few weeks that they intended to keep Lin at any cost. And while the luxury tax hit will be steep in the third and fourth years of this contract, it’s hard to argue that Lin won’t be worth it.”
Matching this deal makes sense for the Knicks on and off the court. Lin took the league by storm early last season, really helping the Knicks stay in playoff contention while both Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony were out for personal reasons and injuries respectively. Lin also made the Knicks a ton of money in advertising and merchandise because of his ethnicity and unique background. You have to bring him back. At the same time, this deal is going to cost the Knicks dearly in a couple of years. Morey used what’s called a poison pill contract offer for Lin. It basically means the deal is back loaded so a player can fit under the current year’s salary cap. This means that the Knicks are going to be in luxury tax hell once the new rules kick in after this season. It gets even worse if they go into the repeater tax territory, which means they have to pay over four dollars in penalty per dollar spent over the luxury tax they go. So $10 million over the luxury tax means they’re paying $40 million in to the tax. Ouch. They’re the Knicks and they can do it, but it doesn’t mean they’ll be happy about it.
Isn’t this Daryl Morey’s strategy? If you aren’t going to let me sign a guy I’m at least going to get some money back from you in the form of luxury tax dollars. It’s a pretty smart plan, even if it is a little jerky. The Bulls don’t seem too interested in playing Morey’s game, but then again, Asik won’t bring in the extra money that Lin will over the life of his contract.