July 17, 2012
The Jeremy Lin era in New York came to an end today. The Knicks chose to not match the Rockets offer for the point guard who came out of the blue and bursted on the scene for the Knicks in February. Lin brought life to a Knicks team that was struggling and underachieving under Coach Mike D’Antoni. Lin’s incredible play got the Knicks back in the winning column. Lin helped the Knicks win seven straight games once he was inserted in the lineup.
The Rockets offer was too much for James Dolan and the Knicks who just acquired point guard Raymond Felton from the Blazers. The Rockets offered the former Harvard guard a 3 year, $25 million deal. The third year of the deal would have cost the Knicks $14.8 million which was too much. The Knicks are too close to the luxury tax threshold that it would have been a large financial penalty against them if they were to match it. Dolan and the rest of the team’s management did not feel that Lin’s 25 games of success was good enough to offer such a big contract. Dolan was also not happy about Lin not playing in the playoffs at 85%, which could have been a factor in this.
Lin had a breakout performance with the Knicks and brought an exciting atmosphere to Madison Square Garden. Ticket prices skyrocketed when “Linsanity” began, the Knicks started winning games, and the young exciting guard was the talk of the NBA. Lin averaged 14.6 PPG and 6.2 APG on the season. Lin broke out on February 4th with 25 points and seven assists. In the next 10 games Lin scored 20 or more points in eight of them including four double doubles. In a prime time game against the Lakers with all eyes on Lin, he broke out with 38 points and 7 assists against Kobe Bryant.
The Knicks may end up regretting this decision down the road. The Knicks did not start winning last season until Lin entered the lineup. He brought something special to a team that was underachieving under a Coach who would have been fired if it was not for Lin’s play. From a basketball standpoint, this is a bad move for the Knicks. They get nothing in return for losing Lin and cannot use that money for someone else. From a financial standpoint the Knicks save money down the road when his contract would cost the Knicks millions in luxury tax payments.
The Knicks are still a very good team without Lin. They do have Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd at point guard. They picked up Marcus Camby to back up Tyson Chandler. They resigned J.R. Smith to be the team’s starting shooting guard. They still have Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire. This is still a playoff team. For fans especially, this is a tough loss. Lin was loved in New York by the fans and helped to put the Knicks back on the map last season. Knicks fans were packing MSG as tickets became hard and extremely expensive to get every night after Lin became the starting point guard. Lin changed the state of the franchise and the NBA. His jerseys were selling more than anyone else and “Linsanity” had many buzzing.
The spotlight is off Lin now as he heads to Houston. The attention he receives in Houston will be nothing like he had in New York. The Rockets, who released Lin last December, now welcome him with open arms and a huge contract. They hope he can bring the excitement to their team like he did to the Knicks. Knicks fans will miss the excitement Lin brought, but hope that Felton and future Hall of Famer Jason Kidd will take over and help the Knicks win an NBA Championship.