Jeremy Lin has verbally agreed to sign a four-year offer sheet with the Houston Rockets on July 11, ESPN and the New York Post are reporting.
In a meeting with the Rockets Wednesday, Lin agreed to a backloaded deal worth $28.9 million. The New York Post, citing a source, reports the deal would pay Lin $5 million in the first season, $5.2 million in the second, and then would increase to $9.35 million per year in the third and fourth seasons.
The Rockets waived Lin last December and he was claimed by the Knicks, turning into a breakout star when he landed the starting point guard job. Now with Goran Dragic not expected to return, Houston may want Lin, a restricted free agent, back.
A person with knowledge of the plans told the Associated Press the Knicks can match the offer and have said they intend to keep him. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the negotiations were to remain private.
The Rockets liked Lin, but had Kyle Lowry and Dragic ahead of him and needed to open a spot so they could add Samuel Dalembert to the roster. So they waived Lin, a decision general manager Daryl Morey would later write on Twitter that he regretted during Lin's sensational February stretch that made him the biggest story in the NBA.
The undrafted guard from Harvard, the NBA's first American-born player of Chinese or Taiwanese decent, would fit nicely with the Rockets, who remain popular in Asia even after former center Yao Ming's retirement.
But both coach Mike Woodson and general manager Glen Grunwald have said the Knicks planned to keep Lin, who averaged 14.6 points and 6.2 assists in 35 games, 25 starts, before his season ended because of surgery to repair torn knee cartilage.
The Knicks may have to match two offers to keep their starting backcourt intact. Landry Fields plans to sign an offer sheet with the Toronto Raptors that his agency said is worth about $20 million over three years.
The Knicks have landed Jason Kidd, but they don't want to lose Lin, whose popularity made them fans around the world and had merchandise flying off the shelves at Madison Square Garden. They scored their highest TV ratings in years during the height of "Linsanity."
Deals can't be signed until July 11. The Knicks would then have three days to match.
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Published at 9:44 PM EDT on Jul 5, 2012 | Updated at 9:45 PM EDT on Jul 5, 2012
Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York