While both Lin and the Knicks are hoping for a reunion, sources have said that if any clubs offer Lin a backloaded contract that pays him an eight-figure salary in the third and fourth years, the Knicks could be hesitant to match the offer.
With the new collective bargaining agreement employing a more punitive luxury tax beginning in the 2013-14 season, the Knicks are concerned about the financial ramifications of such a deal.
The Knicks can offer Lin a four-year deal worth $24.5 million. But another team can offer Lin a poison pill that could go as high as $40 million over four years. Such a contract would pay Lin $5 million in each of the first two years and then go as high as $15 million in each of the last two years.
Matching such a contract would give the Knicks four players -- Lin, Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler -- making more than $14 million in the 2014-15 season. Those four players alone would have a combined salary of $72 million, nearly $2 million above the luxury tax.
While it may be doubtful that a club goes as high as $15 million in a season for Lin, even if one offered Lin roughly $10 million in the third and fourth years of a contract, the Knicks would be cautious about matching, according to a source.
The Knicks have said they plan to let the market dictate Lin's value, so they have not offered him a contract. With the ability to match any offer he receives, they plan to wait and see what Lin commands as a free agent.