I think we all remember the horrendous 1-11 game Lin had the last time he played against the Heat. He even went as far as saying that he couldn't even dribble the ball against them. So is it really advantageous to bring a guy onto the court who hasn't played in a month, into what could be an elimination game, against a team that made him look like he wasn't good enough to play in the NBA?
I say absolutely.
Jeremy Lin is a restricted free agent, and the Knicks are going to be over the cap, but under the salary tax threshold this offseason. That gives the Knicks the mid-level exception, and nothing else, to offer Lin. Since he will be an unrestricted free agent, the Knicks have the right to match any offer made to him, and because of the Gilbert Arenas rule, no team that is already under the cap can offer Lin more than $5 million, which is the amount of next season's mid-level exception.
However, let's say there's a team that wants to be really stupid about how it spends its money (you know, assuming there's another team like that besides the Knicks), they can offer Lin a five year deal worth $40 or $50 million if they want, and just make the first two years pay $5 million per year. A back-loaded contract to a young, potentially franchise-changing point guard isn't the DUMBEST contract in the world to offer (although it is pretty dumb). Let's say for some reason the Mavericks aren't able to land Steve Nash or Deron Williams, wouldn't Lin make a nice addition there? Wouldn't Mark Cuban go out and spend stupid money on Lin? Would any of us blame Lin for taking a huge paycheck that his current team isn't able to offer him?
So that's why the Knicks should absolutely trot Lin out in front of the Garden crowd in game 4 of this series.
He won't be able to knock off the rust, the Heat will absolutely swarm him, and he's going to look terrible. The Knicks will lose by a ton, and no team will want him. No team will be able to offer him a ridiculous contract, because he'll have just been embarrassed on national television. The Knicks' brass can tell him that it was his choice to go out there and play (because who would turn down the chance to play, if healthy), and Woodson can absolutely sell it to the media that playing Lin gave the Knicks their best chance at winning. Even with all the rust, that's probably true anyway.
I know it sounds like a mean thing to do: Have Lin play to drive down his value to other teams. But that's the kind of thing this franchise has to do. We don't have cap room, and we won't have cap room until the Melo/Amar'e/Tyson contracts are done. That's three years from now. That's at the end of the 2014-2015 season. Even if Lin isn't a franchise-saving point guard, he's the best point guard on the roster, and we don't have a draft pick or any other way to get a comparable point guard for next season.
So let's drive Lin's value down, and hope no team wants him this offseason.
I feel dirty and awful for thinking and writing that. I'm sorry.