WASHINGTON — Carmelo Anthony said Sunday it’s up to the New York Knicks to decide if they want to match the “ridiculous contract” that the Houston Rockets have offered Jeremy Lin.
It’s uncertain if they will now after agreeing to a sign-and-trade deal with Portland to bring point guard Raymond Felton back to New York, after already signing Jason Kidd.
The Knicks have repeatedly said they would match any offer for Lin, but the Rockets made it difficult with a three-year, $25 million deal that’s worth about $15 million in the third year. New York has until 11:59 p.m. EDT on Tuesday to match the offer sheet for the restricted free agent.
Asked if he could envision Lin being with the Knicks next season, Anthony said: “At this point there’s a lot going on. I stay away from that part right now. I would love to see him back, but I think he has to do what’s best for him right now.”
Anthony, speaking before practice with the U.S. Olympic team, was then reminded it’s up to the Knicks, not Lin, to decide whether he stays or goes.
“It’s not up to me,” Anthony said with a laugh. “It’s up to the organization to say they want to match that ridiculous contract that’s out there.”
Lin had a sensational run after becoming the Knicks’ starter in February, but his season ended after just 35 games, 25 starts, when he needed surgery to repair torn cartilage in his left knee.
Based on the potential he showed while averaging 17.9 points in his final 27 games, and the marketing appeal he had as the NBA’s first American-born player of Chinese or Taiwanese descent, it was long expected the Knicks wouldn’t let Lin leave. Coach Mike Woodson said Wednesday that Lin would absolutely return next season and would go into training camp as the starter, even after the signing of Kidd.
But Felton also had a good run in New York, scoring 17.1 points per game in 54 games before the Knicks sent him to Denver in February 2011 as part of the package for Anthony. Felton and Amare Stoudemire had good chemistry running the pick-and-roll offense, and neither has played as well since they were split up.
“I never played with Felton so I really don’t know what to expect from that situation. I can’t wait if that’s the case,” Anthony said. “I know what he did with the New York Knicks before I even got there with Amare. I know Amare’s excited about that, playing with him before I got there, so they can reunite and hopefully we make something happen.”