While the crosstown Nets — hey, it's kind of fun referring to them as the "crosstown" Nets, isn't it? -—have been constructing their roster in lightning-fast lunatic mode, the Knicks have simply been scrambling to hang onto what they already have. Sure, they added Jason Kidd yesterday (for three years! Three!), but otherwise, it's simply a matter of upkeep: Adding pieces hasn't really been much of an option, and with Landry Fields (presumably) heading to Toronto, they're almost entirely out of guards. Which is another reason that it's a relief that Jeremy Lin is going to be back.
Last night, Lin and the Houston Rockets agreed to a four-year, $30 million offer sheet, and that's pretty much the best news the Knicks could have hoped for. Initial reports said that Lin might reject the Rockets' offer to try to get more money elsewhere (or from them), which would have just been more of a pain for the Knicks because, as ESPN's Marc Stein put it yesterday, the Knicks "will match any offer on Lin up to 1 billion dollars." Fortunately, it won't quite get to that point.
All told, it could have been much, much worse. Lin will be paid $5 million in 2012–13, $5.2 million in 2013–14, and $9.3 in 2014–15. Then the Knicks — oh, sorry, "the Rockets" — have a team option for the same amount in 2015–16, which will be a year after the Stoudemire, Anthony, and Chandler deals expire anyway. In other words: The supposed "poison pill" isn't so poisonous after all. This is a perfectly reasonable contract for Jeremy Lin: Frankly, when you consider the off-court business, it's a freaking steal. Lin probably could have gotten more, had he pushed for it. But he'll be a Knick for the next three years, and maybe more. He is the Knicks' guy.
So, where does this leave the Knicks? Well, it leaves them maintaining. Their roster right now (assuming all this goes through the way it has been reported; there's supposedly a "moratorium" on deals this week, so nothing will be official until July 11):
People who are still up in the air
Landry Fields. (Knicks might match Toronto's offer sheet, but honestly, we hope they don't. No offense, Landry. That's just a lot of cash.)
Jared Jeffries. (Getting his knee worked on in Germany; will then weigh offers.)
Steve Novak. (Waiting to get offer, which the Knicks will probably match.)
J.R. Smith. (Declined option but still very well might be back.)
And of course the Knicks still have a sign-and-trade that's worth about $6 million, one that MSG's Alan Hahn is sure they will use. There's more room to maneuver. But on the whole: This is the Knicks' team. And this is going to be the Knicks' team for the next three years. So we hope you like it.