No problem here, Houston.
The countdown is over in New York City where the Knicks, as expected, cut ties with Jeremy Lin on Tuesday night.
The New York Times initially reported the team wouldn’t match an offer from the Houston Rockets to steal the 23-year-old point guard.
According to The Times’ Howard Beck, the only person who could reverse the decision was Knicks owner James L. Dolan.
“As of Tuesday afternoon, there was no indication that Dolan would change his mind,” Beck writes.
He had until 11:59 Eastern time to match Houston’s three-year, $25.1-million offer, but it didn't reach the wire.
Instead, USA Today reported about 10:30 pm that New York didn't match the offer.
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New York hesitated because of NBA salary cap rules, the Houston Chronicle said.
The Rockets offered Lin a $14.8-million balloon payment in the final year of the deal.
If the Knicks matched the offer, the salary would put them into luxury tax territory, meaning Lin’s contract would actually cost $43 million when you add penalties.
But it went beyond money, for some.
Lin captured the hearts and minds of Knicks’ fans during a remarkable February.
He was an undrafted Harvard graduate cut by his hometown team, the Golden State Warriors, before last season.
Because of injuries, the Knicks needed a guard and found Lin couch-surfing looking for a tryout.
They brought him into the team, and he almost immediately transformed Madison Square Garden, leading New York to seven straight wins.
He was named Eastern Conference player of the week the second week of February.
In four wins that week, Lin averaged 27.3 points and 8.3 assists, giving birth to "Linsanity."
He was the first Asian American to reach such heights in the NBA, and his marketing ability seemed limitless.
Because his parents are from Taiwan, Lin’s popularity in Asia soared there, too.
At least Houston has some familiarity for Asian basketball fans, who watched with interest after seven-foot Chinese center Yao Ming joined the team in 2002.
Those in the business say Lin could remain a hot commodity in Houston, provided the winning continues, too.
"Now he's in a smaller market," David Carter, executive director of USC Sports Business Institute, told USA Today. "There might be less attention focused on him. From a popularity standpoint, even though the league is global, they certainly would have loved to have him in a major market like New York."
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