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How much is Linsanity worth in a trade?

While the news of today is that Carmelo Anthony returned to the Knicks’ lineup only to indirectly create a glitch in the Linsanity phenomenon (Nets beat Knicks behind 38 from Deron Williams), there still was no stopping Jeremy Lin, at least on a statistical box-score stuffing level. He racked up a near triple-double with 21, 9 and 7. Of course, he only had three turnovers this time, way below his recent average.

As Stan Marsh’s karate teacher would say: he racks disaprine.[1]

Now, like Deron Williams, I am relatively bored by the whole pop culture fascination with Jeremy Lin. He is simply a basketball player. A pretty good one by all recent account, and he definitely is an interesting story, but it helps to maintain a little bit of perspective. Just a little. No, I do not say this because my beloved Rockets had him on the roster only to cut him loose just a couple months ago. And no, I do not even think it was a "mistake" to cut him given the information known at the time. And no, it is not because every Lin win is costing the Rockets a better draft spot – though that is annoying.

I say this because there are far more interesting things we can be discussing other than whose couch Mr. Lin slept on last weekend.

Namely: what is Jeremy Lin’s trade value today?

Presumably, even with the frenzy of Linsanity, the Knicks cannot deem him untouchable. For instance, if the Miami Heat were to offer up LeBron for Lin and Stoudemire, not even the James Dolan/Isiah Thomas duo would hesitate to pull the trigger. Thus, there has to be an acceptable threshold of pain whereby the Knicks would sacrifice this current media sensation for the future good of the franchise.


Let the fun begin: after the jump.

[1] Yeah, that’s right… I made an Asian joke. Good thing I do not work for ESPN.

As we should know by now, Jeremy Lin is a 2nd year player. He’s making the essential minimum ($762,195, pro-rated to $610,000), an amount now famously guaranteed for the year. Because of this, at the end of the year, he’s a restricted free agent. The Knicks do not necessarily have to worry about teams overpaying for Lin as a free agent, due in part to the Gilbert Arenas rule, whereby the max offer he can receive is the "average" NBA salary. That could be in the $5-6M range. Eminently affordable. Also, this is a contract most teams would be readily eager to pay to acquire. Which is where the analysis begins.

Per the new CBA, teams below the salary cap may trade without regard to salary, as long as they don't end up more than $100,000 above the cap following a trade. Teams above the cap (or teams below the cap but would end up more than $100,000 over the cap following a trade) cannot acquire more than 125% plus $100,000 of the salary they trade away.

Also, because Lin was acquired via waivers, he cannot be traded until February 27, 2012, when his trade restrictions expire (yeah, a whole six days from now).

Let’s say the Magic are not completely asleep at the wheel right now and want to offer a Dwight Howard Godfather package:

Orlando Magic offer:

Dwight Howard ($18,091,000) and Ryan Anderson ($2,244,000)


Jeremy Lin ($762,195) and Amare Stoudemire’s bad knees ($18,217,000)

This would fit within the 125% rule even though the Knicks are above the soft salary cap.

Who blinks first here? Orlando would get value for Howard immediately, and we know he’s not going to be with the team in 2012-13. The Knicks would give up a media sensation. Nevertheless, they would not only be acquiring the best center in the NBA (by far), they’d also be able to stick it to the Nets, who have been desperate to acquire Howard. Howard would be able to sign a better extension with the Knicks, too, and since it is New York – Howard has to like that. Plus, he’d get to play with Carmelo.

Los Angeles Lakers?

What if the Lakers get wind of this and offer up a package around Pau Gasol, if only to get Kobe to shut up and quit complaining about management?

Pau Gasol ($18,714,000) and … and… ugh, the Lakers have no depth. At all.


Jeremy Lin and Amare Stoudemire

Okay, so the Knicks probably laugh at this one and say no. Then again, you never know with James Dolan. He might actually be jealous of Jeremy Lin and the attention.

But what if the Lakers get desperate (and they are desperate for a PG) and offer up:

Pau Gasol ($18,714,000) and Matt Barnes ($1,906,000)


Jeremy Lin and Tyson Chandler ($13,107,000)[1] and JR Smith ($6,757,000)

That has to at least get the Knicks’ attention, right? And the Lakers’ desperation for a point guard (much less one with the current "wow" factor Lin has) cannot be underestimated.

Miami Heat???

Meanwhile, I mentioned LeBron before. But that’s an unlikely name. Yet the Heat could offer up……. Chris Bosh. And the Heat are also a PG-needy team. Not sure what the Asian climate is in South Beach , but a team of LeBron, Wade and Lin would definitely make the Interwebz blow up from page hits and unwanted media attention.

How’s this for an offer:

Chris Bosh ($16,022,000) and Norris Cole ($1,035,000)


Jeremy Lin, Tyson Chandler ($13,107,000) and Iman Shumpert ($1,563,000)

The Knicks would at the very least have to consider this, right? Meanwhile, the Heat would almost certainly be excited at this prospective trade, presuming that trading Bosh would not make LeBron get all bitchy and moody from losing a friend.[2] Imagine a lineup of Lin, Wade and LeBron, with a random scrub at PF and Tyson Chandler protecting the rim? This is a trade that could theoretically improve both teams. Even if it would sabotage the stock value of MSG just as quick as Jeremy Lin raised it.

The possibilities are, at the very least, intriguing. And to think… it all centers on a 23-year old kid that was very nearly reduced to relying on just his Harvard degree to succeed in life.

That’s Linsanity for ya.

[1] Chandler ’s trade restrictions expire March 1, 2012

[2] Then again, when is LeBron not bitchy and moody?