Morey works magic with poison pill
The Rockets signed Lin by adding a “poison pill” clause to his contract, which was essentially a back-loaded contract. This meant that of the $25.1 million he was set to make over the duration of the three-year deal, he would make $14.8 million alone during his final year, which was more than he would be paid through the first two seasons combined.
This was a clause Rockets GM Daryl Morey added to ensure the Knicks wouldn’t match, as they were facing salary cap challenges and Lin’s salary would have put them $47.5 million over the luxury tax line. This is what Lin was referring to regarding his request to get the Rockets to lower the salary.
It’s interesting that Lin wanted to stay in the Big Apple so badly that he was willing to take less money to do so. But the Rockets were willing and eager to climb the financial ladder for his services, as they were banking on him being their star player, because they hadn’t landed James Harden yet.
Over the course of Lin’s two seasons in Houston, he had many great moments, including how he helped to save the Rockets’ season during their 2013-14 playoff series against the Portland Trail Blazers. The poison pill clause ultimately backfired against the Rockets, as it forced them to attach a first round draft pick just to be able to get rid of him in 2014, which is when he was traded to the Lakers.
Lin helped guide the Houston Rockets to the postseason during each of his two seasons in the Space City and turned himself into an NBA champion, as he was a part of the Toronto Raptors’ championship roster during the 2018-19 season.