NEW YORK—The Knicks planned to cut ties with Jeremy Lin on Tuesday, allowing the popular point guard who spawned “Lin-sanity” in New York to head to Houston, the New York Times reported.
Lin’s fate has been the subject of intense speculation since he became a restricted free agent this month. He inked a $25 million offer sheet with the Rockets, but the Knicks had the option of matching it until midnight Tuesday night.
“The Knicks plan to cut ties with Jeremy Lin on Tuesday night,” the Times reported, citing a person briefed on the decision.
The Knicks had vowed to match any offer Lin received. But the Rockets’ offer included a $14.9 million scheduled payment for the third year, which would have cost the Knicks millions in luxury-tax penalties on excessive salaries.
Knicks star Carmelo Anthony had been among those hoping the young point guard would stay, although he knew money would be an issue.
“I would love to see him back, honestly. I would definitely love to see him back,” Anthony said after a US Olympic team exhibition win over Brazil in Washington on Monday.
“But knowing the business of basketball, it’s kind of a tough situation, kind of for both parties,” Anthony said.
Lin, whose parents are from Taiwan and who has a grandmother from China, became a smash Broadway hit during last season after having been cut by two NBA clubs — including the Rockets.
Injuries to two starters allowed the former Harvard University standout a chance to come off the Knicks bench and Lin responded by sparking a seven-game Knicks winning streak, his clutch shooting and passing skills earning him adoration from fans.
“Lin-sanity” became a worldwide phenomenon and even after his role was reduced, he served as an inspirational tale.