'Linsanity' ends New York run, heads to Houston

Updated: 2012-07-19 20:49


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Risks for Knicks, Rockets

Still, he should remain popular in Asia, particularly since Houston has an existing positive association for NBA fans in China, said Robert Boland, the academic chair of New York University's Tisch Center and a former sports agent.

The legacy forged by Yao Ming, the towering center from Shanghai who was the Rockets' most notable player for the better part of a decade, means Houston's brand may be as strong as New York's overseas, he said. Lin also played briefly with the Chinese Basketball Association's Dongguan Leopards in the summer of 2011, winning MVP honors in the three-game tournament.

Opting not to re-sign Lin could pose a risk for the Knicks as well.

After he exploded onto the scene in February, the team's TV ratings rose to season highs, according to the MSG Network, and Knicks ticket prices on re-sale markets also saw hefty double-digit gains, according to TiqIQ, which tracks ticket sales on markets like eBay and StubHub.

As of Tuesday, an online petition by Knicks fans wanting the team to re-sign Lin had more than 12,000 signatures.

Boland doesn't think it will have a great effect. "The Knicks, from a managerial standpoint, are showing great restraint and focusing on a basketball level," he said.

"They'll survive," agreed Cramer, adding that Lin's new contract was big enough to make an argument that the Knicks had made a smart business move.

"Houston faces most of the risk, if he proves to be a good, not great, player, and they pay him like a great player," Boland said.

Houston should get a bump in name recognition and ticket sales, said Cramer, who added that it was too early to say whether Lin would be worth his salary.   

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