Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What the Knicks should have done to keep Jeremy

As sad as it is, Jeremy Lin is no longer a New York Knick.  For those who don't know what I'm talking about- earlier this year an unknown basketball player came out and swept the nation in terms of popularity.  His meteoric rise was dubbed "Linsanity," and captured interest from people all over the globe (including me, who actually stay up late to watch Knicks games in London when before when I LIVED in New York and wouldn't bother watching the Knicks (I did however, watch the NY Giants).


So I think it was pretty crazy that the Knicks let Jeremy Lin walk.  It wasn't really Jeremy's fault- he only had one offer, and a really good one, so he took it.  Had other teams given him offers he could have taken a less competitive one so that the NY Knicks could easily match.  But alas, that did not happen, as someone in the Houston Rockets (I believe it was one of the assisstant coaches) had the genius to help create a contract that would penalize the Knicks on the luxury tax.  There are many articles explaining the details, so you can go read those if you don't know the details- but even then I still think the Knicks should have matched.  The amount of money generated through ad sales, T-Shirts, (not to mention the whole Chinese market- and Asia given there are no famous Asian players since Yao Ming retired), would have easily generated enough for the luxury tax.  Oh and Madison Square Garden's stock went up creating so much value during the Linsanity period that a small gain on that alone would cover the increased costs- even if its $60M the third year.  (As the recent articles shows that MSG loses something like $90M in valuation after Jeremy was officially traded).  If it wasn't working out they could just trade him the 3rd year if for some reason the sales were not enough.  But alas that was not the case.

Obviously its easy to see things with the benefit of hindsight- so not really fair to compare.  But looking at all this what the Knicks should have done was made Jeremy an offer- before he got one from the Rockets.  Perhaps a $15M contract similar to the ones they made other NBA players in their roster, or more on the $20-25M for four years.  I believe they could have gotten away with offering him $10-$15 for 3 years, and he might as well signed as he wanted to stay a Knick.  And if then if another team had made another offer, the Knicks could just match.  Jeremy has said it wasn't about the money (and if it was he could easily generate an extra $10+ million over the years through various endorsements).

Houston (probably realizing the extra shirt sales/TV rights that Yao Ming generated) realized it was worth high price tag to bring him back (remember they dumped him a year ago).  Now Houston stands to gain so much even if Linsanity does not continue in the same way, as Houston did not generate the revenue the Knicks did so as a % they are gaining so much.  Great for them, shame on the Knicks for not keeping their #1 marketable asset.

Obviously like anyone the Knicks wanted to see what the market was willing to pay, and in the end found out it was a bit too much than James Dolan (the owner) & the Knicks could swallow. 


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