Jeremy Lin officially a Houston Rocket

Posted at 07/18/12 11:47 AM

MANILA, Philippines -- Jeremy Lin is officially a Rocket after the New York Knicks decided not to match Houston's three-year, $25.1-million offer sheet for the point guard.

The Knicks' spokesperson confirmed Tuesday (Wednesday morning in Manila) that they will not match the Rockets' offer sheet, thus ending days of speculation regarding Lin's future.

The Knicks announced their decision less than two hours before a midnight deadline.

Houston's general manager, Daryl Morey, welcomed the Harvard graduate to the team through his Twitter account.

"Welcome to Houston! We plan to hang on this time," Morey said.

Lin said on his Twitter account that he is "excited and honored" to be a Rocket again and thanked the New York fans for their support.

The Rockets were among the teams who cut Lin from their roster before the Asian-American point guard spawned "Linsanity" in New York.

Lin became a sensation last season, endearing himself to the New York fans after his spectacular plays revived the Knicks' playoff hopes late into the season. His greatest performances also came in the absence of All-Stars Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire.

Lin, who played collegiate basketball for Harvard, became a worldwide phenomenon. But his season was cut short by a knee injury and subsequent surgery. He did not play at all during the Knicks' short post-season run.

According to a report by the New York Times "(t)he decision was said to be financial, not emotional." 

The Knicks had vowed to match any offer that Lin, a restricted free agent, received this off-season.

But the Rockets' offer included a $14.9-million scheduled payment for the third year of the deal. If they matched it, the deal would have cost the Knicks $35 million in luxury tax penalties.

"This so-called poison pill was devised by the Rockets to dissuade the Knicks from matching, and it proved effective," the Times said.

Signs pointed towards the Knicks letting Lin walk after they signed veteran point guards Jason Kidd and Raymond Felton.

"So the Knicks' most popular player in more than a decade, who rose from obscurity, saved their season and became a global sensation, is gone," the Times wrote.

Several Knicks fans expressed their disappointment with the team's decision even before they made it official.

"We're losing more than one player. He was a symbol of the city," Jason Gutierrez, a 29-year-old musician, told AFP outside the NBA Store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.

Mary Anne Jones, a 42-year-old sales assistant from New York's East Village, said it didn't make sense to part with the 23-year-old Lin when the Knicks had just acquired NBA veteran point Jason Kidd -- who was expected to serve as Lin's mentor and backup.

"We got a 39-year-old player and we let (Lin) go. I don't understand," she said. "I think it's a big mistake. He's a young, gifted player. I'm sure the fans will miss him."

Knicks forward Anthony had been among those hoping the young point guard would stay, although he knew money would be an issue.

"I would love to see him back, honestly. I would definitely love to see him back," Anthony said after a US Olympic team exhibition win over Brazil in Washington on Monday.

"But knowing the business of basketball, it's kind of a tough situation, kind of for both parties," Anthony said. -- With Agence France-Presse

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