Lin bonding with Melo, Chandler
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It's a good sign for the Knicks, Lin's health and his future with the team that he's been training -- as well as spending time and developing chemistry and camaraderie with two of the franchise's cornerstones and the coach.
Lin will be a restricted free agent Sunday, but Woodson, who flew out to California to visit that trio and Landry Fields, fully expects Lin to be a Knick next season. "Absolutely," Woodson said at the Ahmad Rashad Golf Classic benefiting White Plains Hospital.
The Knicks plan to match any offers for Lin, who flew from the Bay Area to dine with his coach and teammates. The Knicks won the ruling on his "early Bird" rights, which allows the Knicks to retain him without using any free-agent exception. The NBA is appealing the decision -- the case ultimately might not be resolved until well into free agency -- but Woodson said, "It looks good for us right now."
The Knicks are expected to seek more help at point guard. Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, Raymond Felton and Andre Miller are among the top free agents; any of them would help the Knicks and Lin's development.
Lin was picked for the U.S. Select team that will practice against the Olympic team when camp begins July 6 in Las Vegas. Anthony and Chandler, who worked out together in Los Angeles, are expected to be on the Olympic team. So the trio should spend time together.
"They had some workouts," Woodson said. "We had dinner together. It was kind of nice to go out there and touch them a little bit."
Woodson said Lin is "doing great, fantastic," showing no effects from knee surgery that sidelined him the last month of the season and the playoffs. "He's full go," he said. "He's going to have to be at a full go when he starts to compete against the Olympic team. He's ready to go and I'm looking forward to going out to Vegas and seeing how he competes and plays."
Woodson still believes not much separates his team from the NBA champion Heat, which beat the Knicks in five games in the first round. "It's something I think our team can learn from," he said. "We're not far away.We just got to stay healthy and have a little luck on our side and see how it turns out."
The Dolan family owns controlling interests in the Knicks, Madison Square