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Monday, July 16, 2012

Restricted free agent Lin signs Rockets deal

AP

HOUSTON — The Houston Rockets had Jeremy Lin in training camp last December. Now they want him back.

News photo
Payday: Jeremy Lin has signed an offer sheet worth $25 million with the Rockets. AP

Lin has signed an offer sheet with Houston, according to a person with direct knowledge of the move. The person spoke to The Associated Press on Friday night on condition of anonymity because the agreement with the New York Knicks' restricted free agent point guard wasn't announced.

Another person familiar with the negotiations said it is a three-year deal worth about $25 million. The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the terms hadn't been announced, said the third year is worth about $15 million.

New York has three days to match Houston's offer, and coach Mike Woodson said this week that Lin would "absolutely" return. The Knicks signed 39-year-old Jason Kidd in free agency, and Kidd said he is looking forward to mentoring Lin, whom Woodson said will be the starter entering training camp.

Lin was briefly in Rockets training camp before the season began. Houston waived him because the Rockets already had Kyle Lowry and Goran Dragic on their roster.

The Knicks claimed Lin off waivers, and he became an overnight sensation during a remarkable run in February. He averaged 14.6 points and 6.2 assists in 35 games before his season ended because of torn cartilage in his left knee.

Earlier Friday, the Rockets waived Luis Scola via the amnesty clause. The one-time use of amnesty allows Scola to leave without his remaining contract counting against the team's salary cap or luxury tax. Scola is due to make about $21 million over the next three seasons.

The Rockets have torn apart last season's roster as they try for a deal that would pry All-Star center Dwight Howard away from the Orlando Magic. Cutting Scola allows Houston to absorb multiple undesirable contracts from Orlando in a potential deal.

Houston has been the most active team in the offseason, collecting assets and draft picks to build a package enticing enough to convince the Magic to trade Howard, a six-time All-Star and three-time defensive player of the year. The Rockets have needed a dependable big man since former top overall pick Yao Ming started getting leg and foot injuries that eventually led to his retirement last summer.

Hornets retain Gordon

AP

NEW ORLEANS — The Hornets have matched the Phoenix Suns' four-year, $58 million offer to Eric Gordon, keeping the restricted free agent guard in New Orleans.

The move to retain Gordon on Saturday was expected, as Hornets general manager Dell Demps and coach Monty Williams had indicated they hoped the 23-year-old former Indiana standout could be the center piece of a rebuilding effort that will also include first overall draft choice Anthony Davis and No. 10 pick Austin Rivers.

Whether the decision will be palatable to fans remains to be seen. Last week, in the days before signing the Suns' offer sheet, Gordon said he hoped to play for Phoenix, but that did not deter New Orleans from retaining him.

"Eric is a phenomenal player that we are thrilled to have in our organization," Demps said.

Gordon, meanwhile, sounded more conciliatory in a statement released by the Hornets.

"There is always a business element to the NBA when dealing with contracts, but I never lost my appreciation for New Orleans," Gordon said. "I look forward to giving my very best on the court this season to make our team successful."



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