Excellent article clearing up misconceptions about Lin’s free agency process

Here’s the link to the article:



I’m posting it here for posterity. I love it when people take the time to clear up misconceptions in general. With Lin, there appears to be so many misconceptions out there. Clyde Style does an excellent job of clearing up all the false statements people have been making about Lin’s involvement in his free agency process.


Realism About Lin’s Free Agency Process

Postby Clyde_Style on Wed Jul 18, 2012 9:24 pm

There is one thing I believe needs some clarification so going forward people can be clear headed about who was responsible for what transpired during Lin’s free agency process.

Unfortunately, it is convenient for some to blame Lin for things he simply did not control. It is only fair to him that Knicks fans move on with a fair picture of what he is truly accountable for and not villianize him inappropriately.

There some basic facts that are being misinterpreted. These need to be stressed over gossip if you have any interest in being accurate and fair.

1. The Knicks could only offer a smaller contract based on base salaries rates and percentage increases that would be significantly smaller than a contract Lin could get on the open market.

2. The only way the Knicks could pay Lin what a salary in the price range he was expected to get was by letting him receive offer(s) from other teams and then matching it.

3. The Knicks could NOT pre-empt this process by offering something like $25-30M over 3-4 years without Lin getting an offer from elsewhere first. He had no choice but to solicit a competing bid from another team first.

4. There is no reasonable basis for any fan to claim Lin should have immediately settled for $10M less by simply signing with the Knicks and foregoing the free agent process. There is no precedent for this to support Lin was greedy. He was simply playing according to the rules. If there is any blame for him having to get an offer first and you need to point fingers, blame the CBA, not Lin and not the Knicks. They were just going through the necessary steps dictated by the rules.

5. Lin had the obligation to negotiate in good faith with any team that expressed interest in him. This means he had to be prepared to play for any team he negotiated with. Aside from some common misunderstandings about the technical rules forcing him to do this, the most common misunderstanding is this: LIN COULD NOT NEGOTIATE WITH ANOTHER TEAM IN BAD FAITH AND USE THEM TO STAY WITH THE KNICKS.

6. Because he was forced to go into the open market to set his market rate, Lin had NO CHOICE but to deal honestly with any team bidding for his services. This transcends sports and is a fundamental tenet of conduct business, while it is probably unique to sports in how the process puts the free agent in the middle between a team holding his rights and the need to solicit a competitive bid from another.

7. Once he enters this process with the other team, basic protocol requires him, and primarily his agent, to work under the assumption he may actually be playing for the bidding team and not his former team. He cannot undermine the bidder. The Rockets were bidding for Lin for themselves and Lin is required to allow this process to go forward. He cannot undermine the bidding team by playing footsie with the Knicks under the table. He is required to deal exclusively with the bidding team until their offer is made.

8. Contrary to repeated statements by some fans, Lin and his agent therefore have no right nor ability to simultaneously inform the Knicks of the negotiations with the Rockets. People claiming Lin owed the Knicks an on-going explanation is false as it is basically illegal.

9. Lin could very much have wanted the Knicks to match, but he had zero power to influence the outcome as some propose. He could not go behind the Rockets back to tell the Knicks of impending deals and then communicate back to the Rockets this would not suit the Knicks. This is beyond absurd. This is not only impossible, it is completely unethical, so anybody who still claims Lin was manipulating the situation to force a deal the Knicks would not match is not dealing with the realities of the process itself.

10. The Houston Rockets needs drove their offer terms, not Lin’s personal needs. To discuss this as if the Rocket’s motives were anything other than placing a winning bid can make it falsely sound like the Rockets were driven by additional motives such as screwing the Knicks out of spite alone when the facts are the Rockets calculated they could only place a winning bid by screwing the Knicks to the hot seat and pushing them too deep into the tax space to match. This is Houston’s doing, not Lin’s.

11. There is no basis for saying Lin told Houston their first reported offer was insufficient and he deceived the Knicks about the actual contract terms. Houston raising the offer is in no way proof that Lin was conspiring with the Rockets to not have the Knicks match. Again, Lin could not play one side against another for his purposes. He had to play ball with the Rockets and let the Rockets determine their own strategy best regardless of what it mean to his future with the Knicks.

12. The concept that the Rockets changing the terms of an initial verbal offer to a higher written offer is dishonorable is false. If there was a provision stating this was in violation of any NBA rule, then the Rockets would have been penalized, but it doesn’t exist. The Rockets raising the offer was a competitive business decision designed to win the bid and if anyone punked the Knicks, it was the Rockets, not Lin or his agent. Lin is not responsible for a change in offer terms, the Rockets are. Spinning it like it was is just gossip, not an assertion supported by the process facts themselves.

13. The Knicks were the vocal element in the market price setting process, NOT LIN. The Knicks made statements from Woodson and front office sources they would match any price. Why would they do this? Draw your own conclusions, but this was not Lin or his agent playing games with the Rocket’s mindset, it was the Knicks. If anybody is responsible for goading the Rockets into upping their bid, it was the Knicks leaking to the press their intentions. Lin’s intentions were dictated by the free agency process and by comparison his team kept quiet during it.

14. Therefore, Lin’s agent could not go back to the Knicks and inform them of the Rockets intention to raise their offer. THIS WAS NOT AN OPTION. So anybody claiming Lin owed the Knicks the courtesy of informing the Knicks of the Rockets change of game plan simply don’t know what they are talking about. This is not permitted. They had to do business with the Rockets first and then let the Knicks respond. Period.

15. Contrary to some comments, Lin was required to accept the Rocket’s offer. He was forced by the CBA structure to solicit a market bid for the Knicks to consider matching. And Lin had only one team making that offer. His hands were tied. He had to sign Houston’s offer and let the Knicks respond.

16. Lin did not have the ability to either keep the Knicks in the loop or request the Rockets make the terms less difficult for the Knicks to match. And he could not tip off the Knicks. THIS IS BUSINESS PROCESS, so please stop spreading lies about what Lin and his agent owed the Knicks as if they even had that option.

I welcome any clarification, but please use these points for sincere appraisals of what went done, not fantasies about Lin’s loyalty to the Knicks. He betrayed no one. He went through the same process other free agents go through all the time and he did it without any drama from his camp. The only drama came from the Knicks themselves, so don’t blame Lin for this.



4 thoughts on “Excellent article clearing up misconceptions about Lin’s free agency process

  1. Thanks for posting the link to this very informative article.
    It’s one of the most viewed and most hotly debated threads at that web site.

  2. You’re welcome. Yeah, I found it very informative, so I just had to post it here, since I’m also all about clearing up misconceptions.

    • Thanks for the suggestion. Great idea! Also, feel free to post any of my articles anywhere you please.

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