The New York Knicks may allow Jeremy Lin to go to the Houston Rockets after reaching a deal for Portland Trail Blazers guard Raymond Felton, the Houston Chronicle said, citing a person familiar with the National Basketball Association transaction.
Knicks General Manager Glen Grunwald, in Las Vegas, was said to be eluding a Rockets’ courier who was trying to deliver the three-year, $25.1 million offer sheet Lin had signed two days ago, the Chronicle said, citing a person familiar with the attempts. Once the Knicks receive the paperwork, they have three days to match the offer.
The Knicks have reached an agreement with the Trail Blazers for a sign-and-trade that would bring Felton back to New York, the Chronicle said, citing his agent, Tony Dutt. The addition of Felton, along with Jason Kidd and Pablo Prigioni, gives the Knicks three point guards without Lin.
The 23-year-old point guard created a sensation in New York when the Knicks elevated him from benchwarmer in February amid a rash of team injuries. Lin, who scored 25 points in a win over the New Jersey Nets on Feb. 4, rejuvenated the team, helping the Knicks win six straight games after he entered the starting lineup two days later.
His presence spawned a craze that became known as Linsanity, a term he trademarked in May, and fueled ticket and merchandise sales as well as television ratings on the MSG Network that broadcasts games from the Madison Square Garden home court.
Coca-Cola Co. added courtside advertisements in Chinese at Madison Square Garden to capitalize on Lin’s appeal. Buoyed by Lin’s popularity, Madison Square Garden Co., the Knicks’ parent, settled a carriage-fee dispute with Time Warner Cable Inc., doubled advertising rates on MSG, hit a record stock price and fielded inquiries from Asia-based companies seeking an affiliation with the franchise.
Lin had surgery in April to repair a meniscus tear in his left knee. He missed the Knicks’ opening-round playoff series with the Miami Heat, which New York lost 4-1.
Last week, Knicks coach Mike Woodson said the injury would not affect the team’s decision to match the Rockets’ offer and return Lin to his starting position, where he averaged 14.6 points and 6.2 assists per game.