The Knicks re-signing restricted free agent/God-send/marketing tool/exciting basketball player Jeremy Lin has long been seen as a done deal. No way would the Knicks let this guy, who single-handedly reinvigorated New York basketball when Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire went down, walk away -- especially since they don't have too many other options at the point guard position right now. But an unlikely suitor has emerged for Lin's hand -- a suitor that pays in Canadian dollars and says "eh?" after each sentence.
According to Mitch Lawrence of the Daily News, the Knicks and the Toronto Raptors will be locked an epic (read: expensive) duel for either Steve Nash or Lin over the summer. In all likelihood, Nash will walk away from the Suns when this season is done, and he'll want to sign with a contender. The Raptors don't qualify as one of those; the Knicks are, kind of... sort of... a little bit. So Toronto's Plan B will be to sign Lin to a back-loaded deal that they hope the Knicks won't match.
Signing Lin makes sense for the Raptors: they aren't in love with their current show runner, Jose Calderon, they like Lin's game, and they really like how the fans will probably fork over larger dollar amounts than they do now for tickets. And by back-loading the Lin deal (as they would have to under the "Gilbert Arenas rule"), the Raptors could force the Knicks to choose between losing their star point guard (in terms of potential talent and marketability) and making another huge contract mistake.
It all comes down to how much the Knicks think Lin is worth. Is he worth matching any and all offers for? That seems to be the company line at this point. But will the Knicks actually lock up a ton of salary cap space on a melodramatic isolationist, a man with no knees who punches fire extinguishers, and a flash-in-the-pan point guard who can't withstand the full-court press?
Knicks fans know the answer to this question, and that answer is: absolutely. Throwing a ton of money at an unproven commodity is James Dolan's strength. Just ask Eddy Curry. Or Jerome James. Or Jared Jeffries. Even proven commodities get much more than they should when the Knicks are signing the check. Just ask Larry Brown. Or Allan Houston.
Hopefully, Lin will be worth it. But if the Knicks are able to sign Nash this summer as well, they may want to step back and consider just what sort of gamble they're making on Lin. And besides: poor Toronto. Is Vince Carter dunking with his elbow really going to be the highlight of that franchise's history forever? Seems like it.