This has been a busy 2012 summer for the NBA. As big name free agents sign with new and/or existing teams (Nash, KG, respectively) middle-tier stars like Jeremy Lin are also awaiting offers from suitors.
Lin is a restricted free agent and right now, the Houston Rockets have offered Lin a multi-year deal hovering near the $10M/year mark as the Rockets practically lost Goran Dragic back to the Phoenix Suns.
Lin’s popularity will command him a premium paycheck as teams that’ll sign him such as New York, Toronto, and Houston, are after not only his on-court skills, but also his impact on merchandising and TV ratings. Linsanity is still alive especially with the Asian market, local or international.
With the premature retirement of Yao Ming, acquiring another Asian star like Lin makes a lot of sense for the Rockets. Being a restricted free agent, however, the New York Knicks have the right to match any offer made to Lin.
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If Lin indeed signs with the Rockets, he’ll have a similar story as Dragic. Dragic was stuck behind the brilliance of Steve Nash throughout his stay in Phoenix and blossomed when he became a starter for the Rockets. Lin, on the other hand, was part of the Rockets’ training camp but was let go by the team because they already had Dragic and Kyle Lowry.
If Lin ends up in Houston, he’ll face an interesting team who’s known to be a grind-out, hard-nosed team with no real star. Odds of seeing the February 2012 Jeremy Lin would be high, but it all depends on whether New York thinks Lin is worth the investment and whether he can fit into the system with two high-priced All-Stars in Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony.