Our take:The New York Knicks professional basketball franchise has until Tuesday to decide whether it will match the three-year, $25.1 million offer sheet that restricted free agent Jeremy Lin signed with the Houston Rockets. The Internet is currently congested with scores of columnists opining about what the Knicks should do regarding Lin, the 23-year-old Harvard-educated point guard who metamorphosed earlier this year from benchwarmer to international superstar. But nobody attacks the question of what Lin means to the Knicks financially with as much numbers-based analytic gusto as Nate Silver, the man with a preternatural knack for correctly predicting election outcomes who normally crunches polling numbers for the New York Times.
In February, during the height of the Linsanity phenomenon, I attended a game at Madison Square Garden between the Knicks and the Sacramento Kings.
The tickets cost an arm and a leg. But Jeremy Lin and the Knicks did not disappoint. Lin had just 10 points in 26 minutes of play, but many of his 13 assists were spectacular, a series of flawless alley-oops that sent Tyson Chandler and Landry Fields dunking on the Kings like the guys from Sacramento were the Washington Generals, the Harlem Globetrotters perpetually hapless opponents.
What was more remarkable was the action that took place off the court. This was only Lins sixth game as the Knicks starting point guard and just his third start at Madison Square Garden. But the concourses were filled with fans in Lin jerseys. And the high-priced seats were full of people carrying well-intentioned (although sometimes racially insensitive) signs in tribute to him.