According to coach Mike Woodson, free agent point guard Jeremy Lin will "absolutely" return to the Knicks for next season. Woodson told reporters, including Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, that Lin is a key part of the team going forward.
"Jeremy's a big part of our team. Will he start? Only time will tell," Woodson said. "He has to recover from his knee and use the summer to work on his game to put himself in the best position possible for our ballclub…. He has started for our team and he has played well for our basketball team. But this summer will be very pivotal for him in terms of his improvement and the future is very bright for him. Will he be back next year? Absolutely. He's a big part of our ballclub."
Earlier today, we heard that there could be as many as six teams preparing to make a run at Lin in free agency. However, since the 23-year-old is a restricted free agent, the Knicks will have the option to match any offer sheet he signs with another club.
While Woodson's comments don't guarantee anything – Woodson himself isn't even under contract for next season yet – it appears that New York is prepared to match any offers for Lin. Doing so would probably mean using up most or all of the team's mid-level exception, limiting its ability to sign other free agents.