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.