Originally posted on Fox Sports Houston  |  Last updated 7/15/12
HOUSTON At some point, the New York Knicks will acquiesce. The Knicks will either swallow the poison pill that is the third year of the three-year, 25.1 million offer sheet the Rockets extended restricted free agent point guard Jeremy Lin and deal with the punitive damage it will do to future luxury tax payments, or they will accept the fact that Rockets general manager Daryl Morey outwitted them and play on with the blatantly deficient combination of Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd. At this stage the Knicks must embrace one of those two options. They can avoid couriers and allow their star player to publicly question their sanity for even considering matching the Lin offer for only so long. The Knicks will be forced to act eventually, and this laughable charade will reach its conclusion. Lin will either be a Knick or he won't, with all the machinations in advance of that realization nothing more than fodder. That's not to suggest that the past 72 hours haven't been terrifically entertaining, with bizarre plot twists and inferences of unscrupulous behavior being levied about providing insight to the inner workings of basketball front offices. If rumors can be granted credence and the Knicks were perplexed with Lin for inspiring the Rockets to rework their initial offer sheet of four years and 28.8 million, then the Knicks should look in the mirror and accept some accountability for enabling the Rockets to set the market on Lin and his worth following Linsanity. If there is a template for financial hubris, a classic case of the deep-pocketed franchise falling victim to its own arrogance, this is it. The Knicks, with their bloated payroll and enviable revenue stream, made clear their intentions to match whatever contract Lin was offered, their luxury tax ramifications be damned. They are poised to pay Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler a combined 61.5 million in 2014-15. Handing Lin, who has started just 25 games in his career, another 9.3 million wasn't prohibitive enough to stifle the declarations of coach Mike Woodson that Lin would reclaim his starting job as the incumbent point guard. But that was before Morey struck. By lopping one year from the original offer and guaranteeing the third at 14.9 million, Morey nudged the Knicks deeper into their fiscal corner. According to published reports, the Knicks opted to show their displeasure with this shrewd maneuver with one of their own, purposely avoiding the Rockets' attempts to present the offer sheet as to delay the start of the three-day window in which they're mandated to match. The Knicks, as only the Knicks could, upped the ante by acquiring Felton from the Trail Blazers in a sign-and-trade deal Saturday night. There are conflicting reports on the salary offered to Felton some indicate he'll sign a three-year, 10 million deal while others list the contract parameters at four years and 18 million but following last week's signing of Kidd to a three-year, 9.5 million deal, the Knicks' need for Lin becomes indecipherable. Even given their excess, why would the Knicks invest upwards of 48 million in average point guards over the next three seasons? Lavishly irresponsible spending and Knicks owner James Dolan are intrinsically linked, but even absurdity has its limits. And after numerous proclamations that Lin would return to Gotham, the Knicks appeared to have cooled on that scenario. Anthony derided the mere consideration of re-signing Lin by calling the contract "ridiculous." Reports have surfaced that the Knicks are squarely on the fence. As for Lin, he has reportedly been taken aback by the circus-like proceedings, which is odd given his starring, breakout role at the center of Linsanity. The Rockets can do nothing but wait, a skill they have sharpened throughout their prolonged quest of disgruntled Magic All-Star center Dwight Howard. Morey has spent this offseason in dogged pursuit of a superstar around which to build, and while Lin is nowhere near as accomplished as Howard, he would provide a measure of star power in a metropolis with a vibrant Asian-American community that embraced Chinese import Yao Ming. One can imagine the impact a charismatic Taiwanese-American like Lin could have in this city and clearly the Rockets have considered this, which explains in part their exorbitant offer to a Harvard grad some believe is equal parts hype and substance. Paying Lin 14.9 million in 2014-15 is a risk the Rockets are willing to take. Goran Dragic and Kyle Lowry, the two points guards who facilitated their release of Lin last December, are now employed by the Suns and Raptors, respectively. The Rockets acquired Shaun Livingston in a pre-draft trade with the Bucks but he doesn't appear long for their roster. They have toyed with the idea of re-signing unrestricted free agent Aaron Brooks, who they traded to the Suns to land Dragic two years ago. In other words, the Rockets are desperate for a legitimate lead guard. Whether Lin can fill that void remains to be seen. But before the Rockets can reach that crossroads, they must bide their time waiting on the Knicks, who are down to a pair of options that don't appear to be ideal. Follow me on Twitter at moisekapenda
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