10 Worst free agent signings in Rockets history
8. Jeremy Lin
Heading into the 2012 offseason, Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey set his sights on landing a star player, as the Rockets were a middle-of-the-pack team that lost two of their best players in Kyle Lowry and Goran Dragic.
Perhaps the biggest draw in the world at the time was Jeremy Lin, who sparked a global Linsanity movement.
Prior to becoming a free agent, Lin led the Knicks with 6.2 assists, while also adding 14.6 points. Lin led the Knicks to a 6-1 record without Carmelo Anthony during the month of February, averaging 24.6 points and 9.7 assists.
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 cap-strung 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.
Lin was demoted to a reserve role in his second season and averaged 12.5 points and 4.1 aasists. Over the course of Lin’s two seasons in Houston, he helped to extend the Rockets’ 2013-14 postseason, but the Rockets were ultimately bounced in the opening round.
The poison pill clause ultimately backfired against the Rockets, as it forced them to attach a first-round draft pick just to get rid of him in 2014, when he was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. Lin was acquired before the Rockets added James Harden and it's safe to say that he wouldn't have been added to the roster if the Rockets knew they were going to nab Harden from the Oklahoma City Thunder.