TAIPEI/LOS ANGELES–The New York Knicks have confirmed their determination to keep point guard Jeremy Lin — the first American-born NBA player of Taiwanese descent — in the coming season, according to several reports.
Knicks General Manager Glen Grunwald said in a conference call on May 25 to discuss coach Mike Woodson’s contract extension that he did not foresee any reason why Lin would not be on the team next season.
Because the 23-year-old Harvard graduate is a restricted free agent, the Knicks will have the right to match any offer Lin gets from another team.
Teams offering him a one-year deal cannot sign him to a contract above US$5 million because of his short time in the NBA, and the Knicks have a mid-level extension of US$5 million that could be used on Lin.
But the Knicks might have trouble matching another team’s offer if it involved a multi-year deal that was backloaded and averaged US$6 million or more.
“We can keep him if we want him, and we do want to keep him, and I believe that Jeremy had a great experience here. I believe he wants to come back,” Grunwald was quoted as saying in an ESPN report.
Lin jumped from obscurity to global stardom in February when he led the struggling team to a seven-game winning streak, but he missed the last 22 games of the season, including five in the first round of the playoffs, over suffering a torn meniscus in his left knee.
The ESPN report quoted Woodson, who has signed a multi-year deal to coach the Knicks after serving as interim coach in March, as saying that Lin is now feeling “great” after having undergone surgery to repair the tear on April 2.
“He’s gone through his rehab process, so he’s back running and moving, like we expected him to be,” Woodson said. “Our doctors did a tremendous job on the surgery and our therapy people putting things back in place. So he will be ready to go, at full go.”
The report also said Woodson will travel to Las Vegas in early July to watch Lin scrimmage with the USA Men’s Select Team, the team that will help prepare the United States’ basketball team for the London Olympic Games. Lin is one of 13 players on the select team.
Lin tweeted May 25 that he has headed back to California for the offseason and that he wanted to say “thanks NEW YORK for making it an unbelievable five months.”