NBA Free Agency Roundup: Scola a Sun, Batum Gets Offer Sheet
History was made on Sunday as, for what feels like the first time since this year’s free agency period began, no new Dwight Howard rumors emerged from the woodwork. I know that everyone is disappointed, because the storyline isn’t played out at all. But that doesn’t mean that there weren’t a couple of key moves around the NBA.
Phoenix may have missed out on Eric Gordon after the New Orleans Hornets matched his offer sheet yesterday, but they did win the amnesty bidding on Luis Scola as a consolation prize. His size is a huge addition for the Suns, who have not been able to rely on Robin Lopez due to injuries. The Suns also used the amnesty clause to rid themselves of Josh Childress, clearing $21 million off of their salary cap over the next three years.
Nicolas Batum officially received the four year, $46 million offer sheet from the Minnesota Timberwolves that I had mentioned yesterday. Portland now has three days to match the offer, one that they have already said is more than they think Batum deserves. I expect them to match it begrudgingly after rejecting so many trade offers for him.
The closer we get to the Tuesday deadline for the Knicks to match the Rockets offer sheet for Jeremy Lin, the worse it looks for his return to the Garden. Sources are saying that the Knicks won’t match the three year, $25 million backloaded offer due to the salary cap implications it carries for the Knicks in its third year.
Houston has the ability to take a cap hit of just over $8 million in each of those three years, the average worth of the contract. The Knicks, however, have to take a cap hit equal to Lin’s salary in each of those three years (roughly $5 million in the first two, $15 million in the last one). With such a costly third year in the deal, combined with the money committed to Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire, and Tyson Chandler, the Knicks would be forced over the league’s luxury tax threshold, something that could cost them up to $45 million more. That and the three other point guards on the roster make Lin’s return a long shot.