Taipei, July 11 (CNA) Keeping restricted free agent Jeremy Lin on the New York Knicks franchise would be a "no-brainer" for the team's management, a U.S. sport columnist said in the run-up to the opening of the free agent market Wednesday (U.S. time).
Tim Keeney, a columnist with BleacherReport.com, said in a recent article that Lin's impact on Madison Square Garden's revenue cannot be overstated, making Lin's stay at the Knicks "a no-brainer."
Besides, if the New York team is to look the other way, under Lin's early-Bird rights, the only other choice for the Knicks is to sign a veteran to a minimum wage, which means the team would not get a player anywhere near the talent of Lin, he said.
Mike Chiari, also a columnist with BleacherReport.com, agreed, saying it only makes sense for the deep-pocketed franchise to match the Houston Rockets' four-year, US$28.8 million deal and keep the 23-year-old Harvard graduate at the Knicks.
Citing numerous reasons, Chiari said the Knicks have several factors to consider, including the emerging forces among other teams in the Eastern Conference, Lin's undeniable young age and talent, and the fact that the New York team could not find any sort of rhythm in the early part of the year until the rise of Lin.
Moreover, the Knicks need to consider its fan base.
The majority of Knicks fans believe that Lin will become an elite player at his position, and if he becomes precisely that with the Rockets, it will be a huge loss of revenue for the Knicks, according to Chiari.
The Knicks so far have reportedly come to verbal agreements with the three-point shooter Steve Novak for a four-year, US$15 million deal, and with veteran point guard Jason Kidd, who could be a great mentor to Lin, on a three-year, US$9 million deal, among others.
The team cannot officially sign the contracts until July 11, the first day that new NBA contracts can be signed.
If Lin signed an offer sheet with the Rockets that day, the Knicks will have three days after July 11 to decide whether to match the deal or let him go.
(By Lee Yu-cheng and Ann Chen)