Many have presumed that Jeremy Lin would return to the New York Knicks, especially after he gained his early Bird rights, but a potential poison pill deal could prevent the Knicks from re-signing him.
The main issue is that a team such as the Toronto Raptors could offer a backloaded deal to Lin that would make it basically impossible for the Knicks to re-sign the talented point guard. For instance a team could offer Lin a deal that pays him $5 million the first two years before jumping to $15 million per year in the last two years of the contract.
The Knicks are already paying three players max contracts -- Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire, and Tyson Chandler -- and would be unable to offer a fourth max contract.
Whether the Raptors would offer such a deal is unknown, though they have reportedly set their sights on Steve Nash. The Raptors' pursuit of Nash represents a tough situation for the Knicks. If the Raptors land Nash, they lose out on a player that they also desire; while if the Raptors lose out on Nash, potentially to the Knicks, they could then set their sights on Lin.
The Brooklyn Nets and Phoenix Suns are two other teams that could make a run at Lin, but they are also looking at other point guard prospects. The Nets are trying to re-sign All-Star point guard Deron Williams, while the Suns are somewhat trying to re-sign Nash and also looking at free agents like Raymond Felton.
The Knicks, according to ESPN, are going to wait to see whether other teams strongly pursue Lin. They plan to let the market dictate Lin's value and thus haven't offered him a contract yet. This decision could prove to be smart for the Knicks, but the organization is clearly taking a bit of a risk, especially if a team decides to overpay Lin in order to cash in on the Linsanity fever that delivered millions to the Knicks.
The Knicks certainly want to bring Lin back, but their hand might get forced by an overambitious team.