Houston Rockets: Was Jeremy Lin Contract for Business or Basketball?

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Mar 16, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Houston Rockets guard Jeremy Lin (7) is pressured by Miami Heat forward Shane Battier (31) during the first half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Every time my buddy Peter and I have a beer or two, I always try to make him convince me that the Houston Rockets‘ signing of Jeremy Lin was a “basketball move” rather than a “business move”.

The conversation usually concludes with me yelling about the Asian economic market and how much I can’t stand Jeremy Lin’s huge contract; to which Pete usually responds with something along the lines of, “Daryl Morey says that only two-thirds of the league is actually competitive… [And] at that time we definitely signed him for his basketball skills over anything related to marketability.”

So is Jeremy Lin a true product of hard work and persistence, or did the Houston Rockets overpay a player, knowing they could recoup his faults with the money that would be made within the Asian market?

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  • Northerner

    Lin was signed for basketball reasons. At the time, the Rockets didn’t know they would be signing Harden too. If it were the other way around, meaning Houston had Harden and then signed Lin, then I might be more
    inclined to say it was for business instead.

    Lin’s contract is big, but he’s not overpaid for what he was brought in to do (i.e., be Houston’s starting PG). The fact that Lin opens Asian markets is an added bonus for the Rockets Franchise, however, the extra popularity that Lin brings would have occurred anyways if the team won games and became a real contender (which again supports his signing for basketball reasons).

    I don’t think the Rockets expected him to reproduce NY style Linsanity, but he’s definitely carried the team multiple times and is Houston’s true X factor. Keep in mind he’s done all this in the context of switching between PG, SG, starter and bench; something not expected of anyone else.

    • Kwok Wai Lai

      Without LIn, the Rockets can not go to playoff in the last season. They were dead last in the playoff berth. Lin’s winning average w/o Harden is about 50%. Take those games away, Houston would not be a playoff team; not to mention the game he helped defeat the OKC; he scored the tying shot and 29 points in the game.

  • Charles

    Do you even have to ask? all you need is to check:

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/contracts/players.html

    Just compare Lin contract with players that received 25M and more and their production in the last two season. He is doing better than most of these players with a 25M+ contract. Unless we assume teams management are usually don’t know what they are doing, and often over pay a lot of players, yes, then he is over pay. But his contract look very average to me.

  • Sam Sun

    Either you or the Rox owner is an idiot for signing JLin on his market value in Asia. Total NBA 2013 sales in Asia is less than 150 Mil, after deducting the operation cost, the profit (if there is any left) is shared equally by 30 franchises.
    Besides, how can an nerdy Asian kid comes from China making a fat salary? He should be our slaves who makes living by deliver Chinese fast food.
    Yes, I am a life long rocket only fan and I hate LOF

    • Walter S

      Jeremy isn’t from China. He was born in California.

    • Thong Pham

      You should be my slave and go find me something good to eat right now. Hurry i am getting impatiant you bimbo hobbit.

    • Eddie

      hahahhaha true Rockets fan my a**.

    • Kwok Wai Lai

      You are a true representation of Houston and the United States. We all believe you have made yourself and your country very proud of you.

      A country of George Bush and Richard Nixon and boneheads well known in the world.

    • Fengster

      You are an IDIOT! Lin is not from CHINA. He is born in the US and grown in the US just like you (maybe not??) Nerdy???? What the hell are you talking about??? Lin is smart, yes. Agreed. Definitely not nerdy. If are tying insult guys with glasses then you true need psychological help. Anyone else feel their IQ drop 10pts responding to this.

    • Kwan Teck Leong

      Are you from Cuba pretending to be American? Most American I know does not share such racist sentiment.

      Wait… You are trying to insight hate against American around the world, nice move but too intelligent to fall for it.

    • jacque

      U r a dumbo, his parents are from Taiwan….nerdy or not, he’s surely smarter than u or me…. dont swallow that poison pill in ur next Chinese takeout

    • zeth006

      “Besides, how can an nerdy Asian kid comes from China making a fat salary? He should be our slaves who makes living by deliver Chinese fast food.”

      Oh yay, casual racism.

  • westseadoc

    A little bit of both, i suspect. First, at the time of Lin’s contract Morey knew he was competing with NY for Lin’s services and he wanted to outmaneuver NY for Lin’s services. At the time, Lin was expected to be an upgrade at PG and a main scoring threat for a weak frontcourt AND there was little doubt of Lin’s value in accessing a lucrative market. Hey!! This is a business after all!! Also, Lin’s contract, in the aggregate is not out of bounds for an average starting PG at about $8 mil per season, in line with the current salary structure. It is just that Lin’s contract is so backloaded that it imperils any one else’s salary structure at $15 M for next year. I venture a guess that Lin will be well worth 8 to 9 Million next year, if not with Houston, then with someone else in need of a guard with scoring potentila and good court wisdom.

  • Ric V. Avelino

    If it was for business reason then Kevin Mchale should have not been limiting Lin’s time. Many are not buying his jersey not because they dislike Lin but in protest to the coach

  • rootless_e

    Leslie Alexander is a billionaire who makes a profit on the Rockets, yet you want to be angry on his behalf that he is paying a salary to a basketball player ? I am embarrassed for you.

  • Eddy Chau

    I’m sure Asik was bought on the team for business reason too, as he has the same contract? And how do you explain that, Rocket was trying to offload Lin and Asik before the deadline? If it was business reason, won’t the Rocket want to milk every last dollar that Lin can give? (Instead of offloading him prior to contract expiration?)

    • Northerner

      Asik was brought in because the Rockets didn’t have Dwight yet. Morey also wanted to eventually experiment with Twin Towers.

  • khyberjones

    Lin is one of the best young combo guards in the league. He plays two positions well (point guard and shooting guard). This year he is averaging 15.2 pts and 5.5 assists or thereabouts when he plays 24 or more minutes. The team’s record is something like 14 or 15 games above .500 when he plays that many minutes. He also shoots a bit better than 47% when he gets that many minutes. There is a very short list of point guards who have stats in that range. It is not a stretch to say that if Lin had a starting job playing starters minutes with a coaching staff that actually ran plays to his strengths, he would average 17 pts/7-8 assist and shoot above 45%. Those are elite numbers for a PG.

    • Northerner

      Houston doesn’t have a PG friendly system. A trend exists, and it’s no coincidence that guards who leave the team suddenly end up playing better.

  • Joe Edwards