From the excellent Ken Berger of CBS:
On the phone with a basketball executive Tuesday to go over the mechanics of how the Knicks could keep Jeremy Lin beyond this season, the notion of how surreal the conversation was came up more than once.
But in answer to your question, Knicks fans: Yes, if Lin continues to perform at anything close to the level he’s displayed so far, New York will have the means and the inclination to retain him for next year — and most likely, beyond…
…Even if Lin settles somewhere in between All-Star and rotation player, the Knicks can expect the offer sheets to roll in. But due to the so-called Gilbert Arenas rule — instituted in the 2005 CBA to prevent teams from being outbid for their own restricted free agents with two or fewer years in the league — the Knicks will be insulated from such potential poachers.
The maximum that another team could offer in the first year of a multi-year offer sheet will be the average league salary, which is expected to be a shade under $5 million. The second year of the offer sheet would be subject to the 4.5 percent raise for non-Bird free agents. After that, the offer sheets can be back-loaded up to the max — 25 percent of the cap — but the Knicks would be able to match under league salary rules. In any event, it likely will cost them their mid-level exception for next season.
So even though the Tyson Chandler, Amar’e Stoudemire, and Carmelo Anthony contracts have all but tied up the Knicks’ salary cap for the forseeable future, the “Gilbert Arenas” rule will allow them to keep their brand-new superstar without having to pay him a crazy salary. Lin will definitely get a raise (he’s only making $613,000 this season), and he definitely deserves one, although there’s almost no way he’ll be able to keep up this level of play all season. (Lin is currently shooting 63% from the 16-23 foot range, which would be completely unprecedented over a full season — since Hoopdata started tracking stats, Kobe Bryant has never shot better than 44% from the 16-23 foot range.)
So don’t fret, New York fans — unless something completely crazy happens, Lin will be staying put for the foreseeable future.
Everyone else thinks Dwight Howard is getting out of Houston this summer.
Jason Terry isn’t convinced.
Dwight Howard has a player option this summer, which he is expected to exercise and become a free agent. For one thing, he’d do it for the pay raise — he wants a max contract, starting at about $30 million. The other reason is he and James Harden have not blended in Houston, and Howard wants a fresh start.
But Jason Terry isn’t convinced yet. Terry was on SiriusXM NBA Radio and told Justin Termine and Eddie Johnson Howard may stay put. Here is the quote, via Hoopshype.
“I wouldn’t rule (a return) out. He has yet to opt out. Again, it’s just going to depend on if you get the right coach in there. At this point in his career, he’s not going to be the focal point offensively. They’ve made that clear. He’s gonna have to, if he remains in Houston, buy into the role fully, commit himself to setting screens, rebounding, running the floor, blocking shots and working on his free throws, obviously.”
In theory, a coach could come in and convince Howard to stay. In theory, I could capture Bigfoot and prove his existence to the world. Those have about the same odds of happening.
Forgetting the whole “Howard wants another max contract” thing, what Terry said about Howard accepting a role is the issue. Howard said he went directly to Rockets GM Daryl Morey and asked for a bigger role — and he was shot down. Howard does not want to accept a lesser role where his primary job is rebounding and defense, just like he never wanted to accept running more pick-and-roll and working less from the post even though he was much better at the former than the latter. Howard wants what Howard wants.
And I’d be shocked if he doesn’t want out of Houston.
A good rule of thumb: If LeBron James is getting few breakaway dunks, the other team is in trouble.
Enter the Toronto Raptors, who got to watch a dunking clinic by LeBron as he had multiple breakaways during the Cavaliers’ 38-point win on Wednesday night. LeBron played well, and the Cavaliers got a balanced attack from their stars — 25 points from Kevin Love, 23 each from LeBron and Kyrie Irving.
Watch LeBron’s night above. Toronto needs to find a way to keep him from having another game like this Friday.
After a beatdown at the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5 — a loss where he was just 5-of-12 shooting, a loss that has the Raptors on the brink of playoff elimination — Kyle Lowry did what he had to do and went in front of the media to answer questions and try to explain that loss.
But really, his face when he walked into the interview room and saw the box score summed up the Raptors night perfectly.
Lowry and the Raptors need to turn it around and win at home Friday night to keep their playoff dream alive another day.
The Memphis Grizzlies have found their man — Miami Heat assistant coach David Fizdale has been offered the head coaching job in Memphis. He’s a smart coach who earned the trust of elite players and was a key part of the staff that helped Miami to a couple of rings.
It’s a good hire. Don’t just take my word for it, check out what a couple Heat players from that era had to say.
Mario Chalmers had a first-hand view — he was traded from Miami to Memphis in the middle of last season. The point guard who went the other way in that deal, Beno Udrih, also helped push the deal along.
Fizdale is going to be a popular hire with the players. That said, if the Grizzlies can’t keep Mike Conley in free agency the team is going to have struggles this season, regardless of who coaches them.