POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Jul 18, 2012
NEW YORK » Jeremy Lin is heading to Houston, leaving the bright lights of Broadway and a legion of heartbroken New York Knicks fans behind. Linsanity, the exhilarating rush sparked by Lin's meteoric rise to fame, is over, at least in New York.
The Knicks cut ties with Lin on Tuesday, ending a brief, spectacular and now-bittersweet love affair between Lin, a 23-year-old point guard, and an adoring fan base. Lin will play next season for the Houston Rockets, who signed him to a three-year, $25.1 million offer sheet that the Knicks chose not to match.
The Knicks conveyed their intentions to Lin sometime after 10 p.m., less than 2 hours before the deadline to make the decision, and several hours after The New York Times reported that Lin would be let go.
After hours of silence, a Knicks spokesman said simply, "I can confirm we are not matching."
The Knicks offered no explanation or further comment. It was unclear when, or if, team officials would address the matter, but the Rockets said Lin would be introduced as a member of the team at a news conference Thursday.
The final decision for the Knicks rested with James Dolan, the Madison Square Garden chairman, and Dolan was the only one who could reverse it as the final hours ticked away Tuesday. But by midafternoon, a person briefed on the situation said the deliberations had ended.
"It is done," the person said.
The decision was said to be financial, not emotional. Lin's contract contains a third-year balloon payment of $14.9 million, which would have cost the Knicks another $35 million or more in luxury-tax penalties. This so-called poison pill was devised by the Rockets to dissuade the Knicks from matching, and it proved effective.
"We were comfortable with the money we were going to give Jeremy, and we hoped they wouldn't match," Daryl Morey, the Rockets' general manager, said in a telephone interview. "But it's hard to know what was the key to their decision."
Because the Rockets are well below the luxury-tax threshold, Lin's contract will cost them only its face value. Also, under the NBA's rules, the Rockets will be charged an average of the salary, $8.37 million a year, for salary-cap purposes, instead of taking the $14.9 million hit in 2014-15. Thus, the deal is more manageable for the Rockets than it would have been for the Knicks.
Knicks officials ultimately concluded that it made more sense to pay two veteran point guards, Jason Kidd and Raymond Felton, a combined $7 million in 2014-15.
The Brooklyn Nets continued their offseason barrage of signings Tuesday, agreeing to a two-year, $24 million deal with power forward Kris Humphries.
Humphries, 27, averaged 13.8 points and 11.0 rebounds for the Nets last season, and has averaged a double-double in back-to-back seasons: 2010-11 and 2011-12. Last season's effort came on a one-year deal and for a bad team. Then still in New Jersey, the Nets went 22-44.
Free agent shooting guard O.J. Mayo tweeted that he "will be signing" with the Dallas Mavericks.
Soon after Mayo posted his note on Twitter late Monday night, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban sent out his own tweet that read, "Welcome to the family OJ. We are fired up !! MFFL Mavs/Mayo Fan For Life!"
In 301 games over the past four seasons with the Memphis Grizzlies, the 6-foot-4 Mayo has averaged 15.2 points a game.
The Los Angeles Clippers continued to put together an impressive roster, getting free-agent forward Grant Hill to agree to join the team Tuesday, according to NBA executives who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.
The Clippers still are working out the details on a two-year deal for the 6-foot-8 forward, but it's expected to be done soon.
Hill was swayed to join the Clippers rather than the Lakers after he met with Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro in Las Vegas on Sunday, had dinner with Chauncey Billups recently in Las Vegas and had a phone conversation with Chris Paul.
Also Tuesday, the Clippers waived forward Ryan Gomes using the NBA's amnesty provision.
He averaged 2.3 points in 32 games last season.
Mike Miller has decided against retirement and plans to return to the Miami Heat next season.
Miller says he expects that he can avoid back surgery. He has been consulting with Miami neurosurgeon Dr. Barth Green throughout this offseason and believes the back problems he dealt with this past season can be minimized through rest and rehabilitation.
Miller has three years remaining on his contract with the Heat, but considered retiring after two injury-filled seasons in Miami.