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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Finally, a Definitive Answer on Jeremy Lin’s Contract Status

While it pains me to basically just re-post what I originally posted five days ago before I was convinced to edit my original piece, now that we have apparently as definitive of an answer on the topic as we’re going to get from the great Howard Beck from the New York Times, I figured it made sense to share the situation (which, again, has finally been verified by Beck).

Here, then, is the contract status for Jeremy Lin…

Lin is not eligible for so-called “Early Bird Rights,” which means a player that has played for a team for at least two years. In the NBA CBA, you can transfer your Bird Rights if you were traded from one team to another. So if Lin had been traded from the Golden State Warriors to the Knicks, the Knicks would have his “Early Bird Rights.” However, since he was waived by the Warriors, as soon as he was waived, his Bird Rights reset. Therefore, Lin counts only as having played for the Knicks for one single season.

Landry Fields, having played for the Knicks for two years, has “Early Bird Rights.” What it basically comes down is that the Knicks are allowed to go over the cap to pay Fields anything up to the average salary (which is roughly $5 million). Since Lin has no Early Bird Rights, the Knicks are not allowed to go over the cap to re-sign him (besides a general raise of paying him 125% of his current salary – this is an exception available to all free agents in the NBA. Their current team can offer them a raise for the next season of 120% of their current salary. For Lin that’d be roughly $1 million (it is 125% for Lin since he is a restricted free agent, and your qualifying offer for a restricted free agent has to be at least 125% of the player’s current salary, so that is the bare minimum the Knicks can offer Lin for next season – that extra 5% is no chump change).

Since the Knicks will be over the $58 million salary cap this offseason but under the $70 million luxury cap, the Knicks will have access to both of the major exceptions. The Bi-Annual Exception (which is roughly $2 million and available, naturally enough, every other year – so long as you’re over the cap and under the luxury cap) and the Mid-Level Exception, which is roughly $5 million (available every year, provided you are over the cap and under the luxury cap). They can pay Lin under either of the two.

Where the Knicks luck out is the fact that both Lin and Fields, since they’re coming off their initial two-year contracts (while the Knicks did not gain Lin’s Early Bird Rights, they at least did inherit his original two-year contract), they are both restricted free agents this year. Not only that, but they are governed by the so-called “Gilbert Arenas Provision.” This limits the amount of money other teams can offer either Lin or Fields to a maximum starting salary of the average NBA salary (roughly $5 million).

Since the Knicks own Fields’ Early Bird Rights, they can match any offer without having to use their mid-level exception. However, since Lin does not have Early Bird Rights, the Knicks would have to dip into their exceptions (and almost certainly the mid-level) to match any offer sheet for Lin.

So the good news is that the Knicks are guaranteed to be able to keep both Fields and Lin if they want to. The bad news is that if anyone makes an offer of over $2 million to Lin, the Knicks would have to dip into their mid-level exception to pay for it, therefore effectively nullifying the MLE as a tool to sign a good free agent (like, say, Steve Nash). So they might be in a situation where they would have to choose between Nash and Lin. Who would you choose?

One tricky aspect of the Gilbert Arenas Provision is that teams could still sign Lin to deals bigger than just the MLE times however many years (like 4 years/$20 million), they just can’t have the first two years be larger than the MLE so that the Knicks cannot be outbid. The first year has to be for $5 million. However, if a team is, say, $11 million under the cap, they can offer Lin a 4 year/$44 million contract (you have to be currently under the cap by whatever the average yearly figure of the deal is). The first two years would be for the MLE and then the last two years would be backloaded so that the entire deal would average out to $44 million (so the first two years would be $5 million a year and the last two years would basically have to be $16 million a year each). It is highly unlikely that a team would throw such backloaded payments into a deal, as it is not good for anyone’s salary cap, but I can imagine a team figuring that it would be especially bad for the Knicks, what with the increases in Melo and STAT and Chandler’s salaries in three years. Imagine the luxury tax that the Knicks would have to pay! So do not be surprised if a team tries to give Lin a deal for more than $5 million a year. Still, if Dolan is willing to pay the luxury tax, then the Knicks cannot be outbid.

So that’s pretty much it. The Knicks can keep both Fields and Lin, but if they keep Lin, they are pretty much saying goodbye to any other notable free agent. With the way Lin is playing, though, that is not such a bad thing.

Thanks to Larry Coon for his invaluable Salary Cap FAQ, which turned out to be absolutely right on target (as it said “If a player is waived and is claimed by another team before he clears waivers, then his Bird clock resets”). And thanks to the aforementioned Howard Beck!

98 comments on “Finally, a Definitive Answer on Jeremy Lin’s Contract Status

  1. Dan Panorama

    If Lin is a solid starter at the end of the year, Knicks (and especially Dolan) will have to keep him if only because he’ll be the most marketable player on the team. But in general, teams are unlikely to make huge bids when they’re 99% certain Knicks will just match. And I’m sure Knicks will announce long before FA period that that’s their intention with all offers. Considering some of the big names hitting free agency this year, doubt teams will be wiling to tie their arms behind their back for a week while Knicks wait to match knowing they could be missing action elsewhere.

  2. Brian Cronin

    While I don’t necessarily disagree, Dan, offer sheets now need to be matched in three days. Heck, teams could offer LIn the MLE early on just to force the Knicks to match early so they do not even get the chance to use their MLE on anyone else!

  3. max fisher-cohen

    I have to wonder if Nash really cares about $s. My primary worry with regard to Steve-O is him being traded to another contender before the deadline. Just about any contender would be happy to have Nash, and if the team showed championship potential, he would probably just re-commit. As far as Lin vs. Nash, at 38/39, can he really play 35 MPG? With our awful PG depth (unless Baron signed on again at the minimum), we’d have 20 minutes of Shumpert/Douglas at PG.

  4. TheRant

    Brian Cronin: Imagine the luxury tax that the Knicks would have to pay! So do not be surprised if a team tries to give Lin a deal for more than $5 million a year. Still, if Dolan is willing to pay the luxury tax, then the Knicks cannot be outbid.

    So only Dolan can mess it up? That gives me great peace.

    Then again, I think the Knicks made more in the first week selling TV rights to Asia than they spent on Jeremy Lin’s entire contract. So I’m hoping they’ll stick with the kid.

  5. villainx

    So they might be in a situation where they would have to choose between Nash and Lin. Who would you choose?

    Not Nash.

  6. Brian Cronin

    It’s way too soon to guess, of course, but just for fun, what do you think would be the most another team would bid on Lin a year? $6 million? $7? $8? $9? More?

  7. ephus

    So, if Lin is worth more than $1 million next year (125% of current salary), the Knicks would have to use some (or all) of the MLE to resign him. Well, that seems to end the dream of having Nash and Lin as the PG rotation starting in the fall.

  8. Brian Cronin

    So, if Lin is worth more than $1 million next year (125% of current salary), the Knicks would have to use some (or all) of the MLE to resign him. Well, that seems to end the dream of having Nash and Lin as the PG rotation starting in the fall.

    No, they can use the Bi-Annual, which is $2 million. If he is worth more than that, then yeah, they’re screwed vis a vis the MLE.

  9. d-mar

    You gotta love Francesa, after saying he hasn’t watched a minute of the Knicks until 5 games ago, he confidently states to a caller that Melo has had an awful season so far.

  10. ephus

    Brian Cronin: No, they can use the Bi-Annual, which is $2 million. If he is worth more than that, then yeah, they’re screwed vis a vis the MLE.

    Thanks, Brian. Given the market value of players like CJ Watson ($3.4 million/year), I do not have much hope that the Knicks could resign Lin for the Biannual Exception. Nor do I have much hope that Nash would sign with the Knicks for less than the full MLE — in fact, I think he may be able to get more than the MLE from someone this offseason.

    This all means that the Knicks have to make a Line/Shumpert/Fields/Davis/____ backcourt work for the next two years.

  11. Nick C.

    d-mar: You gotta love Francesa, after saying he hasn’t watched a minute of the Knicks until 5 games ago, he confidently states to a caller that Melo has had an awful season so far.

    That pretty much sums him up, a know nothing that can’t stop himself from making definitive statements.

  12. JK47

    If Lin continues to play well, it’s a no-brainer even for the full MLE. Lin is 23, Nash is 37. Lin is also on his way to becoming a NYC sports icon.

    A core of Lin, Fields, Shumpert, Melo, Stat, Jorts, Jeffries and Chandler is a pretty decent starting core. Perhaps Toney Douglas pulls it together and you add him to the mix. You’d still have the mini-MLE next year to acquire another piece and the following year you get a first-round pick, the full MLE and another mini-MLE.

  13. Eazy B

    Brian Cronin:
    While I don’t necessarily disagree, Dan, offer sheets now need to be matched in three days. Heck, teams could offer LIn the MLE early on just to force the Knicks to match early so they do not even get the chance to use their MLE on anyone else!

    What if the Knicks were to make the qualifying offer to Lin and give the rest of the MLE to another player? Would we still be able to match any offer for Lin?

  14. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Golden State has got to be kicking themselves. Houston too. Since both of those teams already cater to an Asian market, they could absolutely clean up in endorsements and jersey sales.

    The one downside to this whole deal is that Dolan is the one who makes the money. I hate James Dolan.

    And David Thorpe is an idiot.

  15. ess-dog

    I still have to wonder about Dwight Howard. You know he wants NY/LA and we have much better players than the Nets. I can’t see him not re-signing with the Knicks. Chandler, Melo and Stat are all better than Lopez. Pau/Bynum are better, but maybe Dwight doesn’t want to play with Kobe now? If LA’s out, and the Clips won’t trade Blake, that leaves us. It’s hard to think about now that we’re finally turning things around, but you’re talking about a top 4 player in the league. Plus, I don’t think Dolan can resist the marketing. Lin, Melo and D12 is gold. Am I crazy to think this could very well happen???

  16. villainx

    I might be wrong, but it seems after gutting the team to get whoever the Knicks have gotten (Melo, Chandler, etc), the team has been restocked nicely. Some of the younger players have been given room to emerge (Shumpert, Lin) or reemerge (Fields), Jeffries have been given new life.

    So 1) the Knicks have been building some assets.
    2) Highlights how some of the other bench players have failed to step up.
    3) Hopefully pushes those failed to step up to step up.

  17. massive

    When does Nike release the Nike Zoom Lin sneaker? It’s preposterous that this guy doesn’t have a sneaker endorsement, yet.

    I don’t think Jeremy Lin is going to keep up his stellar stat line, but I don’t see his WS/48 tailing off for a few reasons; Amar’e will likely be playing basketball at his Phoenix level leading to more wins to share, teams can’t game plan for him too much when we currently employ two of the most revered scorers in the NBA along with the most efficient scorer in the NBA (allowing him to see less defensive pressure), and Jeremy Lin’s game forces defenses to remain honest. Lin can shoot, penetrate, split double teams, and find the open man. It’s not going to get any easier keying in on Lin now that Stat is back, and it’ll be even harder when Melo comes back.

    Something interesting about the Knicks’ starting 5; our 1 and 2 have the best education combination, and our 4 and 5 never went to college. And when Melo did go to college, he won a National Championship then left.

  18. EB

    I feel as though the team has just gone from the big three with no depth to a fairly deep team w/ jeffries, lin, novak playing well. maybe davis, walker and ________ will return to form too

  19. TheRant

    massive: Something interesting about the Knicks’ starting 5; our 1 and 2 have the best education combination, and our 4 and 5 never went to college. And when Melo did go to college, he won a National Championship then left.

    But don’t people take it as a truism that “big guys are dumb”?

    (With apologies to anyone over six feet tall reading this. I consider this a very smart blog, and there are likely a few former ballers here.)

  20. Brian Cronin

    What if the Knicks were to make the qualifying offer to Lin and give the rest of the MLE to another player? Would we still be able to match any offer for Lin?

    No, they can only pay Lin one of the three figures:

    1. The Qualifying Offer
    2. Up to and including the $2 million Bi-Annual
    3. Up to and and including the $5 million MLE

  21. steveoh

    massive:
    Something interesting about the Knicks’ starting 5; our 1 and 2 have the best education combination, and our 4 and 5 never went to college. And when Melo did go to college, he won a National Championship then left.

    I know the point you’re making, and it’s funny, but it’s a bit off. Amar’e was actually a history major at Arizona State during his offseasons and Tyson’s about as sharp as an athlete as you’ll meet.

    I think the most amazing thing is that Dolan actually has a college degree.

  22. d-mar

    steveoh:

    I think the most amazing thing is that Dolan actually has a college degree.

    And he’s Vice President of the Lucky Sperm Club as well

  23. Gideon Zaga

    OK guys the verdict is out on Melo. He was just quoted after practice saying he will give Lin the ball and get out of the way. A bit cynical but hey it’s something.

  24. BigBlueAL

    These are quotes I just read on Twitter from Melo today:

    “It’s easy, give him the ball & space out. I get back to do what I know how to do best.”

    “I know there’s questions about ‘Can I fit in?’ and stuff like that, but this is like a dream come true to me.”

    “All this stuff about me fitting in, it’s funny. I gotta tell you that. It’s funny to me.”

  25. massive

    I wasn’t really trying to call big guys dumb. In fact, I think those guys are a lot smarter than their education coming into the draft would suggest. I was just noting their respective certificates of education (that I now know is incorrect), and how it’s sort of ironic that the guys with the Top 5 schooling degrees make the least amount of money compared to the rest of the starting 5.

    steveoh: I know the point you’re making, and it’s funny, but it’s a bit off. Amar’e was actually a history major at Arizona State during his offseasons and Tyson’s about as sharp as an athlete as you’ll meet.

  26. villainx

    More than this off season, per se, I’m more interested in the overall contract situation for the Knicks 2-5 year out. Seems like if Lin can keep it up (or simply be serviceable), the Knicks have a good window to be decent for the near term future. Maintaining flexibility through the window, keeping the inexpensive young core (Shumpert, Fields, Jeffries, Novak), and adding/subtracting through that seems more important than adding Nash for a year.

    I don’t know how the cap works, so maybe adding Nash or JR Smith isn’t going to have any longer term implications.

  27. massive

    Also, does anybody know if Steve Novak will be competing in the 3 point shootout? When he shoots, I instantly assume it’s going to fall (and most times, I’m right). I think he could win it this year if they let him shoot.

  28. Bruno Almeida

    well, if Melo is willingly giving up the ball to Lin and will focus on playing within the flow of the offense, I can’t wait to see what might happen.

    I’m still skeptical, but saying the right things is the first step… now comes the toughest part, walking the walk.

  29. Gideon Zaga

    Must be tough being an athlete, where you got a mic shoved in your face everytime. “How u gon play with Lin” x400 lol

  30. Shad0wF0x

    Chukwuemeka Ndubuisi Okafor graduated in

    3 years
    Bachelors in Finance
    3.8 GPA

    Ex-Knick Michael Doleac wants to be a Doctor

    “Doleac plans to work toward an advanced degree at the university — he has said he wants to become a doctor — while learning the coaching ropes under Boylen.”

    massive:
    Also, does anybody know if Steve Novak will be competing in the 3 point shootout? When he shoots, I instantly assume it’s going to fall (and most times, I’m right). I think he could win it this year if they let him shoot.

    I think Novak will have a better chance of winning the contest if someone is passing the ball to him instead of picking it up from the rack. Some guys just get worse at shooting the moment they have to dribble. Others (yours truly) are better when they take at least 1 dribble then shoot. My personal percentages seem to go down as a spot-up shooter.

  31. chrisk06811

    Lin should sign cheap. He lives on a couch….he has virtually no living expenses. His brother is about to become a dentist….$$ is no object, and he will not require dental insurance.

  32. Dance like Oak

    Brian, you mentioned a backloaded contract. Is that legal, in the old CBA you could only give a raise each year by x% (otherwise known as one of two Chris Dudley provisions).

  33. JK47

    Management has really done a pretty solid job of bringing in role players on minimum contracts and getting useful role players in the lower reaches of the draft. Novak, Shumpert, Jeffries, Jorts and Fields are all pretty nice pieces as role players, and we may yet get some production out of Baron Davis. And of course there is this Jeremy Lin guy I keep hearing so much about. All of those guys cost more or less nothing.

  34. bluemax

    a tidbit of information. Msg stock has appreciated roughly 7% in the last 3 trading sessions or about $150 Millions since Linsanity started. So I doubt that Dolan will have any problem matching any offer that comes Lin’s way if things continue this way, luxury tax be damned.

    If you believe in the financial markets ability to predict the future (as many do) then Msg’s future looks pretty rosy right now. That would be of course Msg’s financial future. As how it would correlate to its Baskeball future, I’ll let you all be the judge of that.

  35. villainx

    @42, That was a good read. I’m just concerned when the Job tests are thrown at Lin, how that might hurt the Knicks. =P

  36. villainx

    One big question mark I have is that how Landry Fields revamp shot. So far it’s been a huge bust. Someone in the media should run some stories on that.

    Different sport, but Jeter retooled his batting style last offseason only to revert back to his old stance mid season.

    I don’t mind going through some clunky shooting if Fields revamp shot gels, but hearing more about it now would be illuminating.

  37. TheRant

    bluemax: If you believe in the financial markets ability to predict the future (as many do) then Msg’s future looks pretty rosy right now. That would be of course Msg’s financial future. As how it would correlate to its Baskeball future, I’ll let you all be the judge of that.

    Here’s another open question on Lin:

    People used to say all the time something like “of course [insert name of NBA star here] would want to come to New York, imagine all of the advertising/marketing money he’ll make!”

    Then LeBron happened (remember him? he was that kid from Cleveland who played before the Lin Dynasty). And everyone said that Nike and agents and TV execs can buy plane tickets, and that the marketing deals will go to LeBron wherever he ends up. And he ended up in South Beach, so I think people believed that.

    But does Lin prove the counter example? Does the fact that he is now being courted by Asian media and valued at $14M by Forbes after about a week prove that New York (or LA) are indeed worth their value in terms of media exposure?

    I mean nobody off of this blog knew of Pau Gasol when he was in Memphis. Or wherever he was. Then he went to LA and everyone knows his play. Same with Lin. Is there value in NYC, so that he should sign with us for the MLE instead of some backwater that offers $8M?

  38. Bruno Almeida

    I don’t know, I think obviously being in New York exposes you to more publicity, but I don’t think it’s a huge change.

    everybody knows Durant, he’s becoming more and more of an international icon and yet he plays at the smallest or one of the smallest markets in the USA…

    a good player is marketable anywhere, specially now that the NBA invests so much in international content / internet stuff.

  39. Owen

    I think a lot of people knew about Pau Gasol. Marc Gasol was the surprise in that trade.

    Probably naive, but I don’t think money will play as big a role in Lin’s decision as it would for most other players.

    I think he’ll look for the best playing time and system situation – and playing for D’Antoni is hard to beat. That said, I suspect playing in the spotlight of New York has less of an attraction for him than most.

    Really, all that matters is whether he can come close to sustaining his current level of Linsanity. If he can, he is going to be an exceedingly wealthy man if that’s what he wants, no matter where is playing. People in China don’t care if he is playing in New York or Nunavut.

    I also suspect his faith will impact his decisions going forward pretty significantly. Having roomed with and known a bunch of athletes like him, I highly doubt he’ll set aside his long term goal of being a pastor in order to maximize his lifetime earnings. Not that those are in conflict really, but I think it will play a more prominent role in his decision making than one would expect.

    Honestly, who knows, dude is probably so overwhelmed and confused right now, and thinking only about Jose Calderon….

  40. villainx

    @46, didn’t mean to shortchange your comment. For Lin, his talent + marketability would make it a no brainer for MSG to pay whatever the market demands (if it’s 8M). While MSG is an established franchise and NYC is loaded with stars, folks of Lin’s profile open a lot of new revenue channels for MSG. Even as much as Lin might shine in NYC, MSG would shine and profit that much more. Lin and his team knows that.

  41. bluemax

    Bruno Almeida:
    I don’t know, I think obviously being in New York exposes you to more publicity, but I don’t think it’s a huge change.

    everybody knows Durant, he’s becoming more and more of an international icon and yet he plays at the smallest or one of the smallest markets in the USA…

    a good player is marketable anywhere, specially now that the NBA invests so much in international content / internet stuff.

    Scoring 38 against Kobe on national TV at MSG is what crowned Lin as an international icon more than anything else. Let say that game happens in Memphis and is not televised, do you really think it has nearly the same impact

  42. danvt

    Dance like Oak: Brian, you mentioned a backloaded contract. Is that legal, in the old CBA you could only give a raise each year by x% (otherwise known as one of two Chris Dudley provisions).

    That’s what I thought too.

    JK47: Management has really done a pretty solid job of bringing in role players on minimum contracts and getting useful role players in the lower reaches of the draft. Novak, Shumpert, Jeffries, Jorts and Fields are all pretty nice pieces as role players, and we may yet get some production out of Baron Davis. And of course there is this Jeremy Lin guy I keep hearing so much about. All of those guys cost more or less nothing.

    Right, the thought is that you pay the money for guys whose skill sets you can’t easily replicate and then fill out your roster with these types of players. We appear to really have struck gold with Lin, though. It seems like his skills will come at a premium in the near future.

  43. Richmond County

    Kobe has a shoe deal in LA and Kevin Durant has a shoe deal in Oklahoma City. Especially in the NBA where players don’t where hats or helmets, if you’re a star, you’re a star and there are endorsement deals to be had. If you’re really concerned about income, you’d do well playing in Florida or Texas where there is no income tax as opposed to New York or Portland that have the league’s highest income tax rate. (You’d think it would be Toronto but federal income tax is capped at 29% so their higher than average state and local rate is negated)

    Also, if you’re a statistics nerd like me, you might find this regression interesting. State and Local Income Tax seems to correlate negatively with winning percentage. Leads you to believe that players are interested in the “raise” they receive playing in cities with lower income tax rates and make these teams more competitive.
    http://mjperry.blogspot.com/2011/07/how-income-tax-rates-affect-nba.html

  44. Bruno Almeida

    bluemax: Scoring 38 against Kobe on national TV at MSG is what crowned Lin as an international icon more than anything else. Let say that game happens in Memphis and is not televised, do you really think it has nearly the same impact

    not the same impact, but it would still be heavily publicized.

    it’s just that it’s such an unique thing going on right now in NY, a team that has struggled through a decade finally has a chance to contend, then it all seemingly blows up… and an asian-american PG that went undrafted, waived twice and played at Harvard shows up to save the team.

    if it happened elsewhere, it would still be heavily publicized… not quite like in NY, but definitely wouldn’t go unnoticed these days… just look at how many people are watching the T’Wolves because of Rubio, or OKC because of Durant / Westbrook, that would NEVER happen 20, 30 years ago.

  45. Bruno Almeida

    by the way, grantland has a pretty nice piece by Jay Caspian Kang on Lin…

    he makes a pretty good comparison for Lin imo: a young Sam Cassell.

  46. bluemax

    Richmond County:
    Kobe has a shoe deal in LA and Kevin Durant has a shoe deal in Oklahoma City.Especially in the NBA where players don’t where hats or helmets, if you’re a star, you’re a star and there are endorsement deals to be had.

    very true. But how do you become a star exactly. is it just performance? or something else? how many endorsement money did duncan get, for instance? not so much I bet. Yet he was a 4 times champion, more than I can say for LBJ.

  47. Bruno Almeida

    bluemax: very true. But how do you become a star exactly. is it just performance? or something else? how many endorsement money did duncan get, for instance? not so much I bet. Yet he was a 4 times champion, more than I can say for LBJ.

    but Duncan is a much different person, he has never focused on that stuff, he’s a laid back, quiet guy, who clearly cares only about playing basketball, an “old-school” type of player.

    there’s no way to compare this age of basketball, with the internet, smart phones, international league pass, nba.com to the stars from even the past decade, it’s all changing really, really fast.

  48. nicos

    Richmond County:
    Kobe has a shoe deal in LA and Kevin Durant has a shoe deal in Oklahoma City.Especially in the NBA where players don’t where hats or helmets, if you’re a star, you’re a star and there are endorsement deals to be had.If you’re really concerned about income, you’d do well playing in Florida or Texas where there is no income tax as opposed to New York or Portland that have the league’s highest income tax rate.(You’d think it would be Toronto but federal income tax is capped at 29% so their higher than average state and local rate is negated)

    Also, if you’re a statistics nerd like me, you might find this regression interesting.State and Local Income Tax seems to correlate negatively with winning percentage.Leads you to believe that players are interested in the “raise” they receive playing in cities with lower income tax rates and make these teams more competitive.
    http://mjperry.blogspot.com/2011/07/how-income-tax-rates-affect-nba.html

    That article isn’t too convincing- San Antonio didn’t win because they had a bunch of free agents knocking down their door to play in no income tax Texas- they did it by drafting well. Miami won with Wade (draft pick) and Shaq (trade). Players can only choose where they’ll play in free agency and while tax considerations may play a part in a players choice, I’d guess it plays a much smaller role than other factors like playing time, playing in a winning situation, good fit in system, etc… LBJ went to Miami to play with Wade, not save on taxes- if money was his main consideration he’d have stayed in Cleveland who could have offered him enough money to more than offset the tax differential.

  49. daJudge

    Owen and others–I hope his faith/philosophy/world view and, of course, my/our own enlightened self-interest keep J Lin here. Going deep into the playoffs will also help. Brain, thanks for the heavy lifting on CBA issues. Also, the financial analysis by bluemax was interesting. Can’t wait to see this team with STAT tomorrow. I’m a very crazy old Knick fan, but I can’t help but feel (I’m thinking a bit) that this team is really special. It’s like we’ve crossed the desert after wandering for a long time. That makes me thirsty. Time for a beer.

  50. bluemax

    Bruno Almeida: but Duncan is a much different person, he has never focused on that stuff, he’s a laid back, quiet guy, who clearly cares only about playing basketball, an “old-school” type of player.

    there’s no way to compare this age of basketball, with the internet, smart phones, international league pass, nba.com to the stars from even the past decade, it’s all changing really, really fast.

    Probably right. his game was “too dull”. didn’t make a good personal story. Whatever the reason, he didn’t grab the public’s attention.

    But whatever the case may be, it’s a lot easier to grab the headlines when you play in the garden than when you play anywhere else. It took master Lin about 3 games (maybe less). try to do that some place else.

  51. Brian Cronin

    Brian, you mentioned a backloaded contract. Is that legal, in the old CBA you could only give a raise each year by x% (otherwise known as one of two Chris Dudley provisions).

    The Gilbert Arenas Provision is a special case. The reason the provision was put into place was to allow teams the chance to keep their hidden gems. Under the old rules, once another team signed someone like Gilbert Arenas to an offer sheet more than the mid-level, a capped out team literally could not match the offer. So the league wants teams to be rewarded for finding hidden gems. However, they don’t want the Arenases of the world to lose money because of this, so if teams want to pay them more money, they can do so – they just have to frame the contract so that his original team can match the offer, hence the backloaded contract. I don’t believe it has come up yet (maybe Paul Millsap or Wesley Matthews, but I don’t believe so). The key thing is that the Knicks are majorly lucky that they are over the cap but not over the luxury tax. This allows them to have the MLE to offer Lin. If other teams could offer him the MLE and the Knicks were under the cap, they could only offer the $2.5 million room exception. If they were over the luxury cap, they could only offer the $3 mini-MLE.

  52. Owen

    I just hope he keeps playing this well, for his sake and ours. I agree, it’s been a long wait for something like this to happen to the knicks.

  53. Richmond County

    nicos: That article isn’t too convincing- San Antonio didn’t win because they had a bunch of free agents knocking down their door to play in no income tax Texas- they did it by drafting well.Miami won with Wade (draft pick) and Shaq (trade).Players can only choose where they’ll play in free agency and while tax considerations may play a part in a players choice, I’d guess it plays a much smaller role than other factors like playing time, playing in a winning situation, good fit in system, etc…LBJ went to Miami to play with Wade, not save on taxes- if money was his main consideration he’d have stayed in Cleveland who could have offered him enough money to more than offset the tax differential.

    You’re not wrong in pointing out that there a million different factors that determine why a team wins a championship. But to understand this article, you need to understand the basics of a regression equation. The equation is statistically significant at 1% so we know the equation is fairly strong. The r-squared value tells how well a explains b or in this case income tax rates explain winning percentage. At an r-squared value 29%, this is an extremely strong indication that income tax affects winning percentage given all the other variables including the ones you listed and more that could possibly explain winning percentage.

  54. bluemax

    on a different note. what do you all think about the possibility of acquiring JR Smith (according to rumors). I believe he would be a great help at SG with his 3pt shooting which we sorely need. This would take minutes away from Landry and Shump at SG but we are one of the worst 3 pt shooting team in the league. I guess you have to give something up to get something in return.

  55. ess-dog

    bluemax:
    on a different note. what do you all think about the possibility of acquiring JR Smith (according to rumors). I believe he would be a great help at SG with his 3pt shooting which we sorely need. This would take minutes away from Landry and Shump at SG but we are one of the worst 3 pt shooting team in the league. I guess you have to give something up to get something in return.

    D’Antoni has talked about Shump being a natural 2 or 3. I could see him playing more 3 if we get Smith, gluing Walker to the bench. Between Smith, Melo, Landry and Shump we’d have the 2 and 3 totally covered. Throw in Amare, Chandler, Jorts, and Jeffries and that’s a 9 man rotation right there. Then Baron backs up Lin and sends Bibby back to the crypt.

  56. bluemax

    Richmond County: You’re not wrong in pointing out that there a million different factors that determine why a team wins a championship.But to understand this article, you need to understand the basics of a regression equation. The equation is statistically significant at 1% so we know the equation is fairly strong. The r-squared value tells how well a explains b or in this case income tax rates explain winning percentage.At an r-squared value 29%, this is an extremely strongindication thatincome tax affects winning percentage given all the other variables including the ones you listed and more that could possibly explain winning percentage.

    Brian thanx for clarifying. That idiot in the Post wrote an article that had me scared for a moment that we might be able to keep Lin.
    The Knicks were so lucky in this ( for a change!) in 3 ways

    1. obviously we got Lin in the first place
    2. we get to keep him no matter what (as per you write up).
    3. we finally get even with huston for that horrible jeffries/j.hill trade we did for cap space back in 2010 during the LBJ fiasco. Nothing could be sweeter than finally getting even with Morey!

  57. jon abbey

    “Nothing could be sweeter than finally getting even with Morey!”

    sweeping the Celtics in a playoff series by 30 points per game would be a thousand times more sweet.

  58. Z-man

    LOL jon, a destruction of Miami Thrice would probably top it too!

    Brian, don’t know whether anyone has asked yet, but could we use this year’s mini-MLE for Lin instead of trolling for JR Smith?

  59. Spree8nyk8

    Jeremy Lin is going to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated this week, so in other words, we are screwed!

  60. bluemax

    jon abbey:
    “Nothing could be sweeter than finally getting even with Morey!”

    sweeping the Celtics in a playoff series by 30 points per game would be a thousand times more sweet.

    O.K.

  61. Richmond County

    Spree8nyk8:
    Jeremy Lin is going to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated this week, so in other words, we are screwed!

    At least he didn’t end up on the cover of Madden…

  62. nicos

    Richmond County: You’re not wrong in pointing out that there a million different factors that determine why a team wins a championship.But to understand this article, you need to understand the basics of a regression equation. The equation is statistically significant at 1% so we know the equation is fairly strong. The r-squared value tells how well a explains b or in this case income tax rates explain winning percentage.At an r-squared value 29%, this is an extremely strongindication thatincome tax affects winning percentage given all the other variables including the ones you listed and more that could possibly explain winning percentage.

    Yes, but a seven year sample that includes SA and Miami- whose success really can’t be attributed to taxes- really skews the numbers. Broaden it to 20 years and you’d have multiple Chicago and LA championships that would reduce that 29% number significantly.

  63. Brian Cronin

    Brian, don’t know whether anyone has asked yet, but could we use this year’s mini-MLE for Lin instead of trolling for JR Smith?

    No. Lin cannot sign an extension during the season and the Knicks lose their mini-MLE when the season ends.

  64. jon abbey

    nicos: Yes, but a seven year sample that includes SA and Miami- whose success really can’t be attributed to taxes- really skews the numbers.

    I agree that tax rates have no connection to NBA success, but I do think LeBron and Bosh took a little less money in part because of the zero state. would they have gone there anyway? probably.

  65. jon abbey

    for anyone arguing against doing all we can to snag JR Smith away from the Clippers, who is our three point shooter? Novak can maybe give you 20 minutes a game, but JR Smith can carry you at crunch time, if necessary. ruruland knows…

  66. ephus

    Not in favor of JR Smith on this team, because he is the ultimate ball stopper. He is a taller Nate Robinson.

  67. d-mar

    We really need to make hay for the rest of Feb., as the schedule gets a lot tougher after that. We have 6 home games (Sac., NO, Dallas, NJ, Atl., Cleve.) and 2 road games (Tor., Miami) We should be able to go 6-2 and have a record of 19-17 going into March. 5-3 would be OK, but it’s really time to start beating bad teams at home, no more excuses like injuries or not having a point guard.

  68. Z-man

    Brian Cronin: No. Lin cannot sign an extension during the season and the Knicks lose their mini-MLE when the season ends.

    That blows. Is there any logical reason (given that we are over the cap alreasy) to not throw the mini-MLE at someone if JR Smith falls through?

  69. rururuland2

    http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/basketball/knicks/ny-knicks-observers-jeremy-lin-supporters-unfair-carmelo-anthony-article-1.1022105?localLinksEnabled=false

    “Anthony said he understood why everyone has fallen for the underdog story, but doesn’t see any reason why anyone would turn against him or would not believe Anthony is onboard.

    “He’s Rudy,” Anthony said about Lin with a laugh, referring to the movie about the Notre Dame football walk-on. “People love the underdog. [But] I don’t see why fans wouldn’t like me. I [wouldn’t say] I don’t care, because I do care if fans like me or not. But at the end of the day, I’m here to do one thing and that’s win basketball games. If people don’t like it, then they don’t like it. I move on. I go on.

    “When I’m reading the stuff, it’s more funny than anything, because at the end of the day I know what I bring to the game. I know what I bring to this team. My teammates know that. But to say, ‘Is it going to work? How can I fit in?’ It’s easy; give him the ball and space out. I get back to doing what I know how to do best. So we’ll see.”

  70. max fisher-cohen

    Have to give Melo credit there for handling a difficult question well. He didn’t get all tough and act like it was no big deal. He didn’t put the fans down. He focused on the positive. Despite NYK’s Murphy’s Law history, I’m pretty optimistic that these pieces will fit. Whether that’s enough to do real playoff damage is another question.

  71. rururuland2

    ephus:
    Not in favor of JR Smith on this team, because he is the ultimate ball stopper.He is a taller Nate Robinson.

    JR a ball stopper?

    Is that now the ubiquitous code word you throw at guys you don’t like (which is also implicitly Melo slander)? If JR is a ball-stopper so is Ray Allen, Rip Hamilton, etc. al.

    None of these guys hold the ball of course, they’re catch and shoot players.

    In fact, let’s compare Smith to fellow ball stopper Ray Allen.

    2011 assist percentage: Smith 15.1, Allen 15.5

    2010 assist percentage: Smith 13.7, Allen 14.8

    2009 assist percentage: Smith 15.7, Allen 13.8

    Ok, let’s compare him to a real ball-stopper, or rather an overdribbler.

    2011 True Shooting Percentage: Smith .550, Kobe Byrant .548
    2010: Smith 515 Bryant 545
    2009: Smith 576 Bryant 561
    2008: Smith 603 Bryant 576
    2007: Smith 585 Bryant 580

    Oh, Nate Robinson

    2006: 552 TS
    2007: 526
    2008: 549
    2009: 543
    2010: 507

    JR Smith doesn’t need the ball in his hand to create, though he’s probably a better creator than Nate Robinson

    He’s primarily a catch and shoot player, and yes, he takes some wild shots from 28+ feet. Often those shots come after he’s a hit a couple in a row…. but not a ball stopper.

  72. rururuland2

    max fisher-cohen:
    Have to give Melo credit there for handling a difficult question well. He didn’t get all tough and act like it was no big deal. He didn’t put the fans down. He focused on the positive. Despite NYK’s Murphy’s Law history, I’m pretty optimistic that these pieces will fit. Whether that’s enough to do real playoff damage is another question.

    If the pieces fit, and they will, it’s very hard to imagine this team not doing playoff damage.

  73. jon abbey

    rururuland2: If the pieces fit, and they will, it’s very hard to imagine this team not doing playoff damage.

    this is a lot more likely if they can get up to the #6 seed, drawing Chicago or Miami in the first round would be very tough.

  74. jon abbey

    not in the best of taste, but elsewhere I saw the potential Anthony/Lin combo referred to as Melo Yellow. can you imagine a dish for a dunk followed by Clyde saying “quite rightly”? :)

  75. Brian Cronin

    That blows. Is there any logical reason (given that we are over the cap alreasy) to not throw the mini-MLE at someone if JR Smith falls through?

    I think the only reason would be, “Who would you want them to get?” I mean, who else is out there that they can get? Aaron Brooks, I guess. Is there anyone else out there? Most of the European guys seem fine with just staying over in Europe.

  76. Z-man

    If we sign JR Smith for this year at the mini-MLE, do we have any Bird rights for him next year? Doubt he signs for more than this year, right? He’s got to be worth more than $2.5 mil per.

  77. Z-man

    Aaron Brooks might not be a bad idea…he’s got to be better than TD at this point (no pun intended…)

  78. Brian Cronin

    If we sign JR Smith for this year at the mini-MLE, do we have any Bird rights for him next year? Doubt he signs for more than this year, right? He’s got to be worth more than $2.5 mil per.

    No, they’d have no Bird Rights, so they’d be limited to just 120% of his salary, whatever that would be. So, in other words, yeah, he’d pretty much be a rental. But a really good rental!

  79. Brian Cronin

    Something else to remember is that if the Knicks go over the luxury tax during the 2012 offseason (which seems likely if they re-sign Lin and Fields and also pick up someone with the Bi-Annual Exception), they will not have the MLE or the Bi-Annual Exception for the 2013 offseason (well, if they use it in 2012, they wouldn’t have the Bi-Annual Exception anyways, seeing as how it is, you know, Bi-Annual). They would only have the mini-MLE (the $3 million one).

    So there is a very, very good chance that the Knicks will be unable to use the full MLE to sign someone new until….geez, 2015, I would guess. That’s the problem when your top two guys make sooooooooooo much money.

  80. Brian Cronin

    Aaron Brooks might not be a bad idea…he’s got to be better than TD at this point (no pun intended…)

    But would Aaron Brooks really want to come and play behind Lin and possibly Davis?

  81. Frank

    Brian Cronin:
    Something else to remember is that if the Knicks go over the luxury tax during the 2012 offseason (which seems likely if they re-sign Lin and Fields and also pick up someone with the Bi-Annual Exception), they will not have the MLE or the Bi-Annual Exception for the 2013 offseason (well, if they use it in 2012, they wouldn’t have the Bi-Annual Exception anyways, seeing as how it is, you know, Bi-Annual). They would only have the mini-MLE (the $3 million one).

    So there is a very, very good chance that the Knicks will be unable to use the full MLE to sign someone new until….geez, 2015, I would guess. That’s the problem when your top two guys make sooooooooooo much money.

    That’s true, but the good news is that barring injury, we will already have the top 6 guys in our rotation locked up for a while between Chandler, Amare, Melo, Fields, Lin, and Shumpert. And who knows, maybe Jerome Jordan turns out to be something useful, who would be restricted also. We will also have Bird rights with Toney Douglas, FWIW (I still think Toney will come back and be a valuable contributor at some point). In any case, depending on how much noise we make in the playoffs going forward, it seems likely that the Shane Battier types might be willing to take the biannual exception or the mini-MLE to be part of this team too.

    It’s amazing how the play of one unexpected guy has completely changed how I feel about this team. It really is as if we just won the lottery. And if you think about it, pretty much every team that has won a championship (except maybe Dallas I guess) had something unbelievably fortuitous happen – Lakers with Gasol, Boston with that ridiculous KG trade, Spurs with the Duncan lottery.

    Re: Aaron Brooks – I’m pretty sure he’s a restricted FA so little chance that PHX would let him walk for a room-exception type of deal.

  82. Brian Cronin

    It’s amazing how the play of one unexpected guy has completely changed how I feel about this team. It really is as if we just won the lottery. And if you think about it, pretty much every team that has won a championship (except maybe Dallas I guess) had something unbelievably fortuitous happen – Lakers with Gasol, Boston with that ridiculous KG trade, Spurs with the Duncan lottery.

    I absolutely agree. Stumbling into what has been, in effect, an All-Star level point guard has been amazing.

    As for the breaks stuff, even Dallas had two lucky breaks (three if you count getting Kidd for basically nothing). The first was the Chandler to OKC deal falling apart. Had he been dealt to OKC, I think there’s no chance OKC would not re-sign him so he would not have ended up in Dallas (even if they did not re-sign him, Dallas would not have been able to sign him). The second was Charlotte being sooooooo cheap that they literally gave up Chandler just for cap room. Can you even imagine that? Tyson Chandler was traded for cap room!!!

    Re: Aaron Brooks – I’m pretty sure he’s a restricted FA so little chance that PHX would let him walk for a room-exception type of deal.

    Yeah, you’re likely correct. That is probably why we haven’t heard anything about him.

  83. colickyboy

    Brian,

    You said: “So the good news is that the Knicks are guaranteed to be able to keep both Fields and Lin if they want to.”

    But just because the Knicks can match any offer sheet doesn’t guarantee they can keep Lin, does it? Doesn’t this only guarantee the Knicks’ ability to be financially competitive for Lin?

    I mean, Lin can still choose to sign with another team if he wants, no?

  84. Brian Cronin

    I mean, Lin can still choose to sign with another team if he wants, no?

    No. As noted, he is a restricted free agent, so he can only sign an offer sheet from another team. And since the offer sheet is restricted to being at the most the MLE, then the Knicks will be able to match no matter what (same with Fields).

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