Linsanity was a nationwide and even worldwide phenomenon for one month, as Jeremy Lin was the center of every tweet, headline, and conversation in the Big Apple. His name took on a life of its own with sayings such as “Linsanity”, “Lindarella”, Super Lintendo”, “Linincredible”, and so on. Honestly, it was hard not to be excited about all of the Jeremy Lin craziness. The unlikely hero carried the New York Knicks and played a big role in helping the team make the playoffs. It was the perfect story for a city like New York.
While Knicks fans adored Lin last season, many are extremely upset about the Knicks refusal to match Houston’s three-year/$25 million contract offer. New Yorkers want to experience Linsanity for a second straight year and they want to see the youngster lead New York to another playoff appearance.
The Knicks front office, however, has other ideas. The team signed veteran point guard Jason Kidd to a three-year deal, and they also traded for Raymond Felton in a sign-and-trade with the Trailblazers. There has also been news that New York will not match Houston’s offer for Jeremy Lin. All signs are pointing to Linsanity heading to Houston.
Although this might anger people, this is the right move my Knicks management for several reasons. The first and most obvious reason is that $25 million for someone who only played 25 games is way too much money. That equates to $1 million earned for every game he played last season. Even more worrying is the fact that Lin never played a minute of playoff basketball. What if those 25 games were a fluke? It would be a huge mistake to sign him to a big contract and be hamstrung with regards to the salary cap. New York already has Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire making the maximum and Tyson Chandler is also eating up a large portion of the salary cap.
Why put yourselves in a hole for the next couple of years? This is the same thing Isiah Thomas did when he destroyed the franchise for a decade. It took the Knicks and Donnie Walsh several years to recover from the terrible contracts and to clear some cap space for the summer of 2010. If Lin was a sure bet to be a top 10 NBA player, then the contract would be justified. But you cannot take such a gamble for a player who only played 25 games last season. Teams will soon catch on to Lin.
The moves for Kidd and Felton are smart ones. The Knicks do not have to pledge their future to either point guard, which opens the door for Chris Paul. This was the Knicks plan all along. Melo, Amar’e, and Chris Paul always wanted to play together and now they might just have their chance as Paul’s contract expires at the end of this season. He is the player who deserves the three-year/$25 million contract, not Lin. Paul is a franchise player who would greatly improve the Knicks and make them championship contenders for the foreseeable future. It is clear that New York is keeping an eye on Paul’s situation with the Clippers or else they probably would have matched Lin’s offer.
A backcourt of Kidd and Felton is not a very bad one. Both point guards are experienced and will fit well in Mike Woodson’s system. If it doesn’t work, then the Knicks could pursue a trade for Paul mid-season to bolster their roster. If that doesn’t happen, then the Knicks could wait until next off-season to throw a boatload of money at Paul. Let’s be honest, New York is not going to win a championship this season, so what’s the big deal if they sacrifice this season in order to pursue the Clippers’ point guard. With Lin’s New York career up in the air, the Knicks will have a lot of decisions to make in the future. Hopefully, all roads lead to a big three of Melo, Amar’e, and Paul.