HOUSTON - Jeremy Lin is leaving New York and taking Linsanity to Houston.
The New York Knicks announced Tuesday night that they would not match the Houston Rockets' three-year, $25 million offer for Lin, a restricted free-agent.
New York officially had until 11:59 p.m. to decide whether to re-sign Lin, who became an international phenomenon in the media glare of the Big Apple.
The Rockets made it tough for the Knicks to sign off on keeping him by backloading their offer sheet with a $15 million salary in the third season. If the Knicks agreed to that deal, they would've faced a hefty luxury tax in 2014-15 because of other big contracts on their books - between $30-40 million.
Lin now returns to Houston, where he spent about two weeks in December during training camp. The Rockets liked what they saw in the undrafted point guard but had to waive him because they had Kyle Lowry and Goran Dragic on the roster.
One sports consultant said the adjustment to the offer sheet was a stroke of genius by Rockets general manager Daryl Morey.
"The Rockets deserve a lot of credit for the way they've gone about this," said Marc Ganis, president of Chicago-based SportsCorp. "It was extremely intelligent - with an assassin's touch."
The Knicks, though, gave Lin his first shot, picking him up after the Rockets waived him. He finally got his chance with the Knicks floundering at 8-15. Lin scored a career-high 25 points in a 99-92 win over New Jersey Nets and "Linsanity" was born.