Linsanity – Will the Story Continue in Big Apple?

今日的 blog 寫得非常早,因為美國時間星期二 11:59pm 就會知道 Linsanity 會繼續瘋行於 New York City,還是旋到去 Houston 成為他們在姚明之後的第二股「中國瘋」。

沒有看 NBA 的朋友,不明所以為什麼 New York 會不跟 J Lin 續約。簡單來說,J Lin 從Houston 拿了份3年合約,到現任老闆 New York 問:「你 match 唔 match 呀?唔 match 我就跳槽啦!」 New York 的老闆一看,份合約第一、第二年的數字都無問題,不過第三年要給他的人工一個三級跳,還會連累 New York 付一個閒閒地成千萬美金的「懲罰稅」,所以搞到老闆心大心細,唔知挽唔挽留 J Lin 好。

我在之前在 「Jeremy who?… Lin-sanity!」 已講,J Lin 值錢的不是他的球技,而是他的中國市場!(“在球場外,陰謀論地說,NBA (or New York Knicks) 捧紅一個中國「球星」可以賣多多少件波衫?賣多幾多場比賽的直 / 轉播權?J Lin 的商業價值可以是無限大!”, https://jailbreakplato.wordpress.com/2012/02/12/jeremy_linsanity/) 所以 New York 不可能白白的放棄 J Lin!如果他們就此讓愛給 Houston,就是他們白癡!成千萬美金的「懲罰稅」?哈!我肯定一年唔駛賣波衫都已經賺番啦!

不看 NBA 的,只要讀以下 bold 了的幾句好了!

————————————————-

Knicks should match offer for Lin
By Larry Coon | ESPN Insider

The Houston Rockets signed New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin to a three-year, $25.1 million offer sheet. The Knicks now have until 11:59:59 Tuesday night to match the offer — if they fail to do so, Lin will be a Rocket when the clock strikes 12.

A number of reports circulated over the weekend saying that the Knicks were prepared to let Lin go. They even acquired a replacement, bringing in Raymond Felton from the Portland Trail Blazers in a sign-and-trade transaction that brought back Kurt Thomas to New York, in exchange for Dan Gadzuric, Jared Jeffries, the rights to Kostas Papanikolaou and Giorgos Printezis and future draft considerations.

Are the Knicks now set at the point guard position? Are they really going to let Lin walk?

Don’t be ridiculous. A closer look says otherwise. Logic dictates that the Knicks should match Lin’s offer.

This mess can trace its roots back to the 2003 offseason, when Gilbert Arenas, who at the time had just two years in the league, spurned the Golden State Warriors to sign with theWashington Wizards. Even though Arenas was a restricted free agent, the Warriors were powerless to match the Wizards’ six-year, $63.7 million offer sheet. Bird rights take three years to ramp up, and the Warriors had only the more restrictive Early Bird rights to Arenas, which were not enough. Arenas became a member of the Wizards, and the Warriors could only sit and watch.

This problem was addressed in the 2005 CBA, with a new rule now nicknamed the Gilbert Arenas provision. It limits the salary in the first season of an offer sheet to a restricted free agent with one or two years in the league to an amount the team can match using Early Bird rights or the midlevel exception. The salary is constrained for the first two seasons of the contract, and then it can take a big jump starting with the third season.

This way, everyone was supposed to be happy. Teams were protected from losing free agents (often second-round picks who had excelled) before their Bird rights had accumulated. Players had to wait for their big payday, but still received a significant salary at about the same time first-round picks received theirs. And teams still had the means to try to lure attractive restricted free agents away from other teams.

But while the Arenas provision helps protect teams from losing these free agents, the teams still have to be prepared for a huge salary jump in the third season. With the new luxury-tax rules taking over next season, the numbers can be daunting. For example, a $15 million salary to a team right at the tax line translates to a $28.75 million tax payment, for a total of $43.75 million. The same salary for a team $10 million over the tax line equates to an additional tax bill of $47.5 million and a total payout of $62.5 million. That’s right — for one player.

It can get worse. Starting in 2014-15 there will be a “repeater” tax, which further penalizes teams that are repeat offenders. It adds to the regular tax rate, so the team that is right at the tax line would have a tax bill of $43.75 million and a total payout of $58.75 million; and a team $10 million over the tax line would be taxed an additional $5 million and pay out a total of $62.5 million in salary and tax, all for one $15 million player.

It’s enough to make any team think twice.

The prospect of a sledgehammer-esque tax bill makes the Arenas provision a perfect tool to shake a restricted free agent loose from his former team. The Rockets took advantage by offering Lin a contract starting at a comparatively modest $5 million, and increasing to $5.225 million in 2013-14. But then comes the “poison pill” — in 2014-15 Lin’s salary will increase to a reported $14.8 million.

KnicksThe Knicks’ big three will put them very close to the tax line for next season.

The Knicks already project to be near the tax line in 2014-15. With the contracts ofAmare Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler andCarmelo Anthony on their books, they are currently committed to $74.7 million for seven players, not including Lin. The tax level this year is a little more than $70 million.

Rockets general manager Daryl Morey has to be smiling at the way the Arenas provision works in his favor. While the Knicks would have to pay tax on Lin’s full $14.8 million salary in 2014-15, the Rockets would have to pay much less. By offering an Arenas deal with a big salary bump in the first year, the team has to have additional cap room right now. The salary-cap math accounts for this cap room by averaging the salary in every year of the contract. So while the Knicks would have a cap hit of $5 million, $5.225 million and $14.8 million in the three years of Lin’s contract, the Rockets, were they to land him, would have a cap hit of about $8.3 million in each season.

In addition, Morey has less salary committed to future seasons than the Knicks do — if he keeps his payroll under check, the Rockets might not be taxpayers at all in 2014-15.

Sources say Knicks GM Glen Grunwald was infuriated by the Rockets’ manipulation of the rules. When Lin’s offer sheet arrived at the team’s offices in New York City, staffers insisted that it needed to go to Grunwald personally.

But Grunwald wasn’t in New York — he was in Las Vegas attending the NBA Summer League. The same sources say Grunwald then dodged the delivery for a day and a half, finally accepting it on Saturday. Since league rules say the clock doesn’t start on an offer sheet until it is received by the player’s prior team, this gave the Knicks until Tuesday night to decide whether to keep Lin on the Knicks and accept the luxury-tax consequences.

In the meantime the Knicks traded for Felton — presumably as a replacement for Lin to pair with new signee Jason Kidd — and let it be known that they have decided not to match Houston’s offer.

So are the Knicks serious, or is this just an outburst before they settle down, match the offer and bring Lin back to the Big Apple?

Logic dictates that it’s actually the latter.

Jeremy Lin

Lin’s worth even more to the Knicks off the court than he is on.

Sure, the prospect of paying a fortune in additional luxury tax has to make the Knicks stop and think. But Lin is a moneymaking machine. Lin puts people in seats, both at home and on the road, and he is a merchandising bonanza. The stock of Knicks parent company MSG is up 20 percent since Linsanity began, with Nate Silver of the New York Times reporting that MSG’s market capitalization has gained $600 million since that fateful day last February when Lin took over as the Knicks’ starting point guard.

So what happens to MSG if the Knicks fail to retain Lin? Silver continued, saying, “as of late Monday morning, on the mere possibility that Lin might not be re-signed, MSG stock had lost about $50 million in market value.” This was on a rumor — imagine what the company’s losses will be if losing Lin becomes a reality.

So if Lin plays up to his potential, he should more than make up for what it costs the Knicks to keep him. But what if Lin doesn’t pan out? What if his 26-game sample proves to be an illusion, and he ends up as yet another flash in the pan? Will the Knicks be stuck with an enormous tax bill for an unproductive player?

If worse comes to worst, another new rule can help the team out. The “stretch provision” allows a team to waive a player and extend his salary payments over twice the number of remaining seasons, plus one. So if Lin is waived with one season remaining on his contract, he would be paid his salary over three years.

Here’s the important part — teams also may elect to stretch a waived player’s salary-cap hit over the same number of years. So if Lin proves to be a disaster over the next two seasons, the Knicks can waive him, stretch the payment of his $14.8 million salary over three years, and reduce his salary-cap amount to about $4.9 million in each season. This would reduce the team’s tax bill significantly. If the Knicks are right at the tax line, a $4.9 million salary would translate to a $7.35 million tax bill. This is much more palatable.

In sum, Lin will continue to be a financial bonanza if he keeps playing up to his potential. If he ends up being a bust, the Knicks have the means to mitigate the damage. The potential upside is well worth the risk.

So logic dictates that sometime before midnight Tuesday night, the Knicks will inform the league that they are matching the Rockets’ offer, and Jeremy Lin will remain a member of the Knicks.

As much as keeping Lin will cost them, losing him will cost more.

(http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/8173221/nba-new-york-knicks-match-houston-rockets-offer-jeremy-lin)

UPDATE on Wednesday 11am: New York 放棄,J Lin 去 Houston!

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