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.
Report: Derrick Rose away from Cavaliers, evaluating his future in basketball
Rose has been out with what seemed like a relative minor, for him at least, ankle injury. The 29-year-old could stick in the league for a while thanks to his reputation and ability to attack the rim to create shots for himself. But the guard is a shell of peak form after years of more serious injuries. This isn’t the career anyone expected for him when he was named the youngest MVP ever in 2011.
The Suns made Mike James – a 27-year-old rookie on a two-way contract – their starting point guard.
Though he eventually ceded the role to Tyler Ulis, James – the only player on a two-way contract to start an NBA game – is still a rotation regular. He’s an aggressive defender and possesses plenty of offensive moves.
The problem: Unless demoted to Phoenix’s minor-league affiliate before then, he’ll max out the 45 allowable NBA days for a two-way player Dec. 6.
We’d still like to get him on the 15-man roster and we’re looking at different ways to do that.
The Suns can unilaterally convert James’ two-contract into a standard one-year minimum deal. Both sides could also negotiate a longer contract.
The bigger issue is clearing a roster spot.
Phoenix has the maximum 15 players with standard contracts with no obvious cuts. Derrick Jones Jr. doesn’t play much, but the 20-year-old’s athleticism creates intriguing upside. Second-rounder Davon Reed is hurt, though teams rarely cut bait so quickly.
The Celtics established themselves as one of the NBA’s elite teams, a contender for the Eastern Conference title, during their 16-game win streak.
However, that hot streak to start the season will matter as much as Thanksgiving leftovers in the back of the refrigerator in April by the time the playoffs roll around. This is a team that still has work to do.
“There’s still a lot to accomplish going forward,” Irving said. “It was a nice streak. But it was time to come to an end.”
This team still needs to get better and more consistent. The Celtics had to come from behind in the fourth quarter in eight of the 16 wins, and while the team defense was impressive the offense still can be hit and miss. Al Horford and Kyrie Irving play well off each other, but this is still the 20th ranked offense in the NBA. They are taking more long midrange jumpers than most coaches want, but the bigger challenge is they have not been finishing around the basket.
Titles are not won in November. Irving gets that. Jayson Tatum will hit the rookie wall at some point (they all do) and he needs to prove he can break through. Al Horford is playing maybe the best ball of his career and needs to keep it up. The Celtics need to keep their defensive focus (the fundamentals are there to have a top five defense). I could go on but you get the point, and so does Irving — there is a lot of work for this team to do.
Boston is off to a fantastic start, but it’s just that.