No Lin Situation

Editors note: Excuse my title and conclusion. I couldn’t resist.

The New York Knicks had 2 choices: One, they pay a generous amount of money to keep Jeremy Lin in the Big Apple. Two, they let Linsanity walk and every greenback dollar that his sensation would have brought to the franchise along with it.

There was no right choice for James Dolan.

Sign Lin to the 3 year, $25 million back loaded contract and you risk compromising your already delicate as a baby’s head roster. Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith have both gone public about their displeasure with the enormity of Lin’s contract. Behind the scenes locker-room balance is often overblown by the media but Linsanity could very well have produced a major rift among the Knick players.

Not to mention that bringing Lin back would in all likelihood have meant a similar and familiar fate for the New York Knicks and their fans – no championship. Because of the danger Lin’s contract posed to the Knicks financially, anything less than a championship in his 3 years would have been deemed a failure.

Considering what the Knicks have given up to create this “superstar” roster to match that of Miami and Oklahoma City, bringing Jeremy Lin back would have brought even more unrealistic expectations to a team that has shown no ability to contend.

On the other hand, let him walk and the Knicks risk losing a potential star quality NBA point guard. Lin doesn’t even have an entire season under his belt yet has shown that he can play at a level that most NBA players could never reach. The Knicks brass will never hear the end of it if Jeremy Lin finds a way to blossom in the Houston Rockets organization.

Lin will have to fall flat on his face in Houston to silence Lin’s legion of fans in New York.

3 point guards, a big luxury tax hit in 3 years and almost undoubtedly no championship? Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd and no hope for a championship?

With Jeremy Lin, the Knicks were left without a good alternative.

Jeremy Lin is as unknown as the unknown gets. At this point, the mystery of Lin is tougher to solve than Jack the Ripper. No one knows who Jeremy Lin really is and who he really can be. The riddle of Lin is what has made this so doggone difficult for the Knicks.

Despite James Dolan’s apparent disgust at the Houston Rockets and Lin’s lack of loyalty, it is peculiar that, since their season ended, New York had been adamant in the fact that they would match whatever offer Jeremy Lin received. Marketing aside, Lin has immense potential that you would have thought the Knicks wanted to explore. They discovered Lin so it made sense that they wanted to see what type of player he could turn into. By handing him over to the Rockets it’s as if they discovered gold in a small untouched area yet didn’t want to fully invest in the possibility that the entire area could be flooded with gold.

While the marketability of Jeremy Lin clearly wasn’t as big a deal as it was made it out to be, the Knicks still lose out on that as well by setting Lin free.

Nevertheless, there was so much lose and awfully little win surrounding both choices in this decision-making process.

That is why it is so difficult, one way or the other, to condemn or applaud the Knicks in choosing to let Jeremy Lin sign with the Rockets.

There was just no Linning this one.

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22 Responses to No Lin Situation

  1. Hey, Chris

    I became a Jeremy Lin and Knicks fan at about the same time, so the way the whole debacle has progressed had me really stumped.

    So I look at the silver lining to everything:
    – the Knicks finally get their defense-minded roster and
    – the team saves some money (still debatable, I know).

    On the other hand,
    – Jeremy gets to play under another coach, because I personally think Woodson and he weren’t the right fit (again, debatable) and
    – he gets to be with at least some of his friends.

    The team I fell in love with during Linsanity is in pieces anyway – and this makes me really sad.
    Yes, it was business – which is also why I hate all the Jeremy Lin bashing going on about how much he gets in the next three years. He is an econ major for crying out loud – was he supposed to bend over and take whatever the Knicks were willing to give him? Come on…

    We all have to move on. I wish them (Jeremy Lin, Landry Fields, Jared Jeffries, Chandler, Novak, and the Knicks) luck in the next season.

    The only ones who actually win anything – it’s the basketball fans. We’ve had one awesome season – I certainly am looking forward to the next. I just have to find a balance between being a Knicks fan and a Jeremy Lin fan.

  2. xiaojierc says:

    Yes, it’s a tough call for James Dolan. He will be blamed, anyway, lol.

    Is Lin’s contract really so poisonous that they cannot take? It seems so only because James Dolan has eaten too many poisons. Look at Knicks’s big three except Chandler, who is not overpaid?

    At the end, i think it’s good for both Lin and Knicks, at least, Anthony and Smith will be happy. We really hope Anthony can win for Knicks as he never did before.

  3. anthoang says:

    The Knicks gave up Lin for absolutely nothing. Lin was a free gift to the Knicks (no draft pick, no trade, min salary) and instead got Raymond Felton instead… and from what I remember, he didn’t exactly lead the Knicks to a winning season.

    The Yankees would have paid for Lin… but the Knicks…

  4. Nice post… though I feel it is actually easy to condemn the move. It’s a business, Dolan is a businessman, and it’s shocking to me that he doesn’t see the marketing potential Lin brings to the table. On top of that, Lin was a fan favorite who brought good vibes to the Knicks franchise in a way that ‘Melo and Amare could only dream of. It would have been nice to see them get a chance to gel for a full season. But, alas, he’ll be Linning and losing games in Houston.

    • Chris Ross says:

      I don’t like the idea of making decisions from a pure business standpoint though. I think that’s what gets teams in trouble. I am surprised they didn’t match the offer because I can’t believe that MSG doesn’t have the dough to cover the potential luxury tax implications. However, I think there were more factors than just the luxury tax involved and that’s why I wouldn’t condemn the move.

      • Typically, making moves from a pure business sense can lead to trouble. But if this goes well, and Lin is really a top-50 player in the NBA (and a top 10 point guard) he is a gold mine. This isn’t just another business move. The Jeremy Lin situation is an anomaly – and will be a boon to his new team.

  5. Chris

    James Dolan ………….. New York Knicks . James Dolan ……. Cablevision (family’s company ) . James Dolan and Isiah Thomas . James Dolan ……….. Jeremy Lin . Common thread bond ? Dolan and the inept failure but look at this way , Lin gets to walk away with a pocket full of cash either way .

    How many guards does one team actually need ? And how about their latest signing Jason Kidd being busted for DUI less than a week , having signed with the organization ?

  6. I couldn’t agree more, CR.

    I mean, it’s not like the Knicks NEED the publicity Lin brought to the team.

    Wait a minute, do you mean to tell me that Dolan is actually interested in winning ball games?

    What a concept. If anything, Knicks fans should be happy about that.

  7. hoopinions says:

    Great read. You did a wonderful job outlining both sides of the coin in this situation. One thing you touched on that I ended up editing out of my post

    I think there is a sort of resistance from Melo to bring Lin fully into the fold. Perhaps that was an impetus for the Knicks letting Lin go. I can see how veteran players would feel disrespected by the enormity of Lin’s deal after he only played 25 games or so. People were hating on Tim Tebow in the same way, when he had the attention of the media. It seems like Jeremy Lin is polarizing in locker rooms as well as in the media.

  8. wbconner says:

    Nice piece…dead on regarding the financial implications. I’ve never been a Jason Kidd fan, even when he was younger…not sure if the chemistry with him will be as good as what I think they could have been with Lin.

  9. nchin000 says:

    i totally agree. i think that the knicks really shouldn’t have matched if they were talking about basketball reasons. he just isn’t good enough to get past miami and chicago. we all saw that when they played the heat during the season at he went 1-11. and he doesn’t mesh well with melo (does anybody?). but for financial reasons, i feel like they could definitely make up what they’re paying him through other endorsements and advertising. i mean, he has enough power to make cablevision pay the knicks. so if they started winning and he was doing well, then he would have played the worth of his contract in endorsements. but this was a good opinion piece. houston played it well…i’m just wondering if they’re freaking out about paying him $15 million in the third year.

  10. Rim Check says:

    You make some good points. The thing with Lin is, that regardless of the 14 mil year 3, NY wouldnt have lost too much. They were already over the salary cap and who really gives a shit about luxury tax… NY loses out here just because he was in a no risk situation and Ray Felton/J-Kidd won’t do more than put up AVERAGE stats

  11. Chris Ross

    The Knicks have had to pay the asinine luxury tax for ($1-50 for $1-00 over the the league’s “soft cap”) seven consecutive years . This isn’t rocket science, as it relates to Jeremy Lin . It’s about whether or not the kid is good enough to lead this team and if he is simply the point guard they need . Obviously GM Glen Grunwald doesn’t believe that to be the case. Besides can you or anyone tell me , by way of his game , what Lin brings to the table beyond his enthusiasm ? Because it sure as hell isn’t his productivity or being able to handle the ball deftly in terms of averting turnovers . No one raises that point as a comment .

  12. Beyond his enthusiasm? He was terrific – albeit against less than stellar teams – for two weeks last February. And point guards in Mike D’Antoni offenses commit turnovers, though no one would argue the offense is ineffective and boring. There’s no scenario in which the Knicks are better off with Fat Ray Felton and the Drunk Kidd than they would be with Lin – both on the court and off the court.

    • Are you kidding ? Mike DAntoni couldn’t coax a horse to drink water and you’re quoting the coach to make a point ? The Knicks have been and will remain a one dimensional team that is defensively challenged . How many points guard are needed by the Knicks ? I guess those sitting on the bench at the time can play Sudoku while ‘melo puts on a “one man show “ because he will only be getting sporadic help from the likes of Felton , Kidd , Chandler and J R Smith .

      • … I have no idea what you’re trying to say. Even if Felton is a little better than Jeremy Lin overall, it’s not as though he’s a much better defender. Add in the ancillary benefits of having Lin playing for your team (i.e. international marketing dollars) it’s crazy the Knicks didn’t match.

  13. Commercially you sign him, on basketball terms you don’t.
    It’s still to be seen what he can do over a full season; his NBA minutes add up to less than 26 full games. The knicks just arent in a position to gamble that much on someone who hasnt actually proved he can perform for a full season.

  14. Break The Huddle

    Ancillary benefits ? Having a few additional fans at MSG having overpaid for the privilege of seeing a marginally average team . I suppose one could consider that an ancillary benefit .

    Have you no idea as to what the Knicks are worth with our without Lin ? And it not as if without him this team will be a profound success competitively . h

    Lin isn’t LeBron James in terms of marketability by any stretch of the imagination . Marketing to certain demographic may well make sense but if that team isn’t competitive on the field of play how long do you believe it’ll be before the Knicks’ front office are reviewing that strategy ? Owners are not just operating within professional sports only make money but some do strive to win . And as of late there has been little of that coming from the Knicks and it is unlikely to happen anytime soon unless the WNBA becomes co-ed , and the Knicks are allowed to compete there .

    NBA team valuations and their profitability

  15. I like your point. Either way, the Knicks were in a no-win situation. Keep Lin, and you’re keeping a bad fit for your team who has already ruffled some feathers. Don’t keep him, them you lose out on what you established and let him walk away for free. Wonder why the Knicks didn’t consider some sort of sign and trade, maybe for Courtney Lee or something.

  16. Break The Huddle

    Whatever gave you the impression that there was any intelligence to be found inside the Knicks’ organization to begin with ? James Dolan has all but ran Cablevision into the ground and you expect common sense to be shown as it relates to the basketball franchise he owns ?

    You seem to forget it was Dolan who gave Isiah Thomas carte`-blanche to run this organization and we all know how that turned out, do we not ?

  17. I never thought of it this way. Great post.

  18. ksoranna says:

    Good argument for both sides….though I still think not signing Lin was a dumb move. Not only because the Knicks got nothing in return…but also because every player is a gamble. You really do not know how well someone can play until you put them in a situation…so even if Kidd and Felton have more experience…it does not mean they will make the Knicks a championship team. And if I had to gamble…I would rather gamble on Lin over Kidd and Felton. And who’s to say that Kidd and Felton will fit into the “new” Knicks team anyways. At least with Lin, you know that he’s played with (most) of these guys before and he also brings in revenue and potential endorsements…you cannot say the same for Felton or Kidd.

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