Taipei, July 4 (CNA) New York Knicks restricted free agent Jeremy Lin will visit the Houston Rockets Wednesday, reports said, fueling speculation that the NBA sensation might leave the Big Apple.
According to the Associated Press, the Rockets, which waived Lin last December and later regretted the decision, are planning to offer him a multi-year contract, now that free agent point guard Goran Dragic is not expected to return to the team.
According to the New York Daily News, the Rockets could offer Lin a four-year backloaded deal worth as much as US$40 million, but are limited in how much they can offer him in the first two years of the deal.
The Knicks, which have indicated their intention to keep him, have the option of matching any deal.
NBA players cannot sign new contracts until July 11. The Knicks will then have three days to either match or raise the offer.
ESPN.com, however, cited unnamed sources as saying that "if any clubs offer Lin a backloaded contract that pay him an eight-figure salary in the third and fourth years, the Knicks could be hesitant to match the offer."
A US$40 million contract would pay Lin US$5 million in each of the first two years and then go as high as US$15 million in each of the last two years. Matching such a contract would cost the Knicks US$72 million in the 2014-15 season in combined salaries to Lin, Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler alone.
"While it may be doubtful that a club goes as high as US$15 million in a season for Lin, even if one offered Lin roughly US$10 million in the third and fourth years of a contract, the Knicks would be cautious about matching," ESPN said.
In addition to the Rockets, the Toronto Raptors, Dallas Mavericks and Brooklyn Nets have also expressed interest in Lin.
The American-born player of Taiwanese descent shot to worldwide fame after he unexpectedly led a winning streak by the Knicks in February this year. He averaged 14.6 points and 6.2 assists in 35 games and 25 starts before his season ended in late March because of surgery to repair torn knee cartilage.
In May, he was named to a select team that will practice against the U.S. Olympic team.
But he announced Monday he was withdrawing from the team because of his free agent status.
(By Lung Po-an and Y.F. Low)