Iman believes Lin will be back next season

NEW YORK -- While many fans seem to be gearing up for Jeremy Lin's return in Game 5, or at some point soon, the point guard is still not ready to face playoff-intense competition.

In fact, during a media conference call Monday morning, Mike Woodson said, "I'm not counting on him to play [Wednesday night]." Of course, how effective the point guard will be against the Heat's swarming pick-and-roll defense and the enhanced physicality of the postseason is a different story.

The bigger question is: Will Lin, a restricted free agent, be a Knick next season? Insiders have said it's very likely, and on Sunday afternoon before Game 4, Lin's backcourt teammate, Iman Shumpert, seemed very confident about the possibility, too.

"Oh yeah, oh yeah," he said. "We all miss him. But if he's not able to come back this year, next year I'll be back with him, so we'll all be back together again."

According to salary cap experts, the Knicks could use their biannual exception (roughly $2 million) or some portion of their mid-level exception (up to $5 million) to keep Lin. Under the current CBA, no other team could offer Lin more than $5 million for next season, so the Knicks can offer just as much. That's why it's pretty much a lock that Lin, who's made an international name for himself in New York, will be back. In a perfect world, the Knicks would probably love to have Lin and Steve Nash, but the Suns' point guard who will be an unrestricted free agent come July 1, would reportedly ask for a three-year, nice-sized contract.

Now that Baron Davis may be dealing with a career-derailing or ending injury, the Knicks will likely need a seasoned point guard to serve as their backup at the veteran's minimum ($1.4 million). Three unrestricted FA values on the cheap could be: Andre Miller, Kirk Hinrich and Beno Udirh, who has a player option.

You can follow Jared Zwerling on Twitter.