- Last Updated: 12:12 PM, July 14, 2012
- Posted: 1:23 AM, July 14, 2012
LAS VEGAS -- The Knicks are “unhappy’’ about a change in the terms of the Rockets’ offer sheet for Jeremy Lin, according to an NBA source, after the offer was bumped to $25 million guaranteed over three years.
Despite their anger, the Knicks still are expected to match it in the next three days. That doesn’t mean they are thrilled with their point-guard prodigy, who has a resume of 26 games with starter’s minutes. As of last night, the Knicks had not received the offer sheet in their hands as the Rockets continued to play games.
Knicks coach Mike Woodson, who gushed three days ago about Lin keeping his starting job when training camp opened, seemed cooler Friday.
When asked about Lin’s impending offer sheet, Woodson said, “I don’t know. Until we get it in hand and Glen [Grunwald, the general manager] is able to evaluate everything, we’ll make a decision.’’
The Knicks are committed to Lin despite signing Jason Kidd and Spanish League veteran Pablo Prigioni as point-guard mentors. But they are furious at the way this played out.
Lin went to Las Vegas yesterday to meet with the Rockets to renegotiate, and sign, the offer sheet and never told the Knicks he was coming to town, The Post has learned. The Knicks held a double-session practice for their summer-league team yesterday.
The Knicks played hardball with Lin from the start, and Lin and his agents went right back at the Knicks. Rockets general manager Daryl Morey stuck it to the Knicks, too, as the ramped-up offer sheet calls for a bump in the third year of the contract to $14.9 million from the previously offered $9.3 million, which will hurt owner James Dolan badly in luxury-tax ramifications.
It begs this question: Will Dolan flip out and tell Grunwald to have Lin pack for Houston?
The back-loaded deal is something of a poison pill, and the Knicks will have salary commitments of about $87 million for eight players in 2014-15. That could be as much as $17 million over the luxury-tax threshold.
The original offer agreed upon last weekend was four years for $28.8 million, but only $19.5 million was guaranteed across the first three years. The final year was not guaranteed. There is no fourth year in the new offer sheet.
According to a source, Morey upped the offer because he heard the Knicks easily would match the old offer and had lost all his point guards. Morey is good friends with former Rockets center Yao Ming, Lin’s mentor.
The Knicks were angry even before yesterday at the Rockets because they did not receive the offer sheet on July 11, as is customary. It took two full days for Lin to sign it.
A source said Lin was too busy Wednesday at the ESPY Awards in Los Angeles, where he received the honor of “Breakthrough Athlete’’ and posed for pictures with Jessica Biel and Tim Tebow.
Because the Knicks wouldn’t make him an offer immediately after the start of free agency, Lin withdrew from the U.S. Select Team on July 5 that practiced against the Olympic team.
Woodson said he hoped Lin would attend the Knicks summer league practices to work out with the coaches.
Last month, Woodson said he was excited Lin would be on the Select Team.
Yesterday Woodson said, “You’ve got to live with it, but it’s not the end of the world. Any time you can experience something like that when you’re playing against the best talent in the world, it can’t do nothing but enhance or help your game. You can learn a lot from that experience. He chose not to play. They’re not going to stop because he didn’t play. They’re going to move on.’’
Houston was within its legal rights to alter the offer that was agreed upon July 6. Lin couldn’t sign until July 11. But it is very unusual for terms to be changed so dramatically.
The Knicks have until today to match the offer sheet to Lin’s buddy Landry Fields, who received a back-loaded offer totaling $19 million from the Raptors with $8.5 million for the third year. But now there’s no chance of that, with the third year — that 2014-15 season — becoming a big issue financially for Dolan.Follow @NYPostsports