The New York Knicks will have to decide whether to match the Houston Rockets’ contract offer to point guard Jeremy Lin on Tuesday, and they got surprising approval from their superstar on Monday night.
Speaking to reporters after Team USA’s 80-69 win over Brazil on Monday night in preparation for the 2012 London Olympics, Carmelo Anthony said that he hoped the Knicks could “get it done” and get Lin back.
“I hope we can get it done, man,” Anthony said, according to CBS Sports’ Ken Berger. “I would love to see him back. Honestly, I would definitely love to see him back. But knowing the business of basketball, it’s kind of a tough situation for both parties. For Jeremy, I know that he definitely wants to be back in New York and (Madison Square Garden chairman) James Dolan definitely wants him back. But it’s just a matter of figuring it out at this point.”
Berger reported that it’s still unclear whether or not the Knicks will match, but most indications point to them letting Lin walk. But Anthony’s position comes as a shift from Sunday, when he called the Rockets’ three-year, $25 million offer to Lin — which pays Lin $15 million in the third year — “ridiculous.”
“It’s not up to me,” Anthony said with a laugh. “It’s up to the organization to say they want to match that ridiculous contract that’s out there.”
Anthony tried to clarify that comment on Monday, putting the onus of the “ridiculous” contract more on the Rockets’ side of negotiations.
“It was ridiculous for them to do what they did as far as throwing that out there and making it tough on us to sign him back. That’s why it’s called free agency, though,” Anthony said.
Knicks teammate J.R. Smith backed up Anthony when speaking with SI’s Sam Amick on Sunday. Smith suggested that Lin’s contract could cause problems in the locker room with the Knicks’ chemistry.
“Without a doubt,” he said. “I think some guys take it personal, because they’ve been doing it longer and haven’t received any reward for it yet. I think it’s a tough subject to touch on for a lot of guys.”