After just 35 games, Linsanity appears to be over in the Big Apple.
Reports indicate that Jeremy Lin is on his way to Houston after signing a three-year, $25 million offer sheet with the Rockets. The Knicks have until 11:59 p.m. ET on Tuesday to match the offer, but appear prepared to let Lin leave.
The biggest issue is the final year of the proposed deal. Since the Knicks are over the salary cap threshold, they would have to pay Lin $14.8 million in 2014-15.
If the Knicks sign Lin, they'll have over $76 million committed to him, Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler in the same season. New York would be well over the salary cap, with only one-third of their roster filled.
The Knicks have already started the process of replacing Lin. Upon seeing Lin's deal, they agreed to a sign-and-trade with the Trail Blazers. New York acquired Raymond Felton and Kurt Thomas for Jared Jeffries, Dan Gadzuric, a 2016 second-round draft pick and Kostas Papanikolaou, the Knicks only pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.
Both Felton and Thomas are in their second tours of duty with New York.
Lin had a lot of success in his one year with the Knicks, but will be making a lot of money in a few years. Should New York let Lin walk away for nothing?
New York will replace Lin with Felton. The two-time Knick was successful in his first stint with the team. He averaged 17.1 points, 9.0 assists and 1.8 steals per contest in 54 games in the 2010-11 Season.
Felton will make $10 million over the next three years, a much more reasonable number than the $25 million Lin is scheduled to make. The two had very similar numbers when starting for the Knicks. Lin averaged a point more per game, but dished out one less assist than Felton in his time as the team's top point guard.
Lin and Felton may have comparable numbers with the Knicks, but that is just one side of the story.
Since being dealt in the trade for Carmelo Anthony, Felton hasn't been the same player. In fact, he has never played as well as he did for the Knicks two seasons ago. Last year, Felton averaged 11.4 points and 6.5 assists per game, a significant drop off from his days with the Knicks.
Felton has been in the league since 2005, and likely won't get any better. Lin is just 23 years old, entering his third career season. Lin has the opportunity to develop into an even better player, while Felton has probably reached his ceiling as a professional.
It's difficult to project what kind of career Lin will have. At times, he played like a superstar. His 38-point game against the Lakers was one of the best performances of 2012, and he showed that he has the ability to be one of the league's top point guards.
The Harvard graduate also looked overmatched at times. He struggled mightily in his only game against the Heat, turning the ball over six times and shooting 1-11 from the field.
The Knicks might not want to commit $15 million in one season to a player who is such an unknown. Signing Lin would put the Knicks well over the salary cap threshold, and force them to pay millions in luxury tax penalties. Bringing back Lin could potentially cost New York $43 million in luxury tax penalties in 2014-15.
It looks like Lin is headed to Houston just days after his return to New York seemed like a foregone conclusion. Knicks head coach Mike Woodson stated that the team would absolutely match the Rockets offer, and even guaranteed that he'd start over newly acquired Jason Kidd.
Now, Lin is probably gone from New York after just 25 starts.