It's over. After almost two and a half months of being a phenomenon in Madison Square Garden is over. Linsanity is over quicker than it began. Howard Beck of the New York Times has reported that the New York Knicks organization will not match an offer from the Houston Rockets to retain restricted free agent Jeremy Lin. Needless to say, I didn't think that James Dolan, owner of the Knicks, could be this, well, senseless.
Without trying, Jeremy Lin made the Knicks relevant again and had them at a peak that, recently, only Patrick Ewing would know of. In a sense, he is the reason the New York Knicks made the playoffs. The Knicks are making a bad decision. The decision can’t possibly be for “basketball reasons” as Lin has never gotten a chance to prove if he’s a fad or a legit starting point guard. Is he worth $14.8 million in his third year? Probably not, but if you add what he brings marketing wise and look into his upside, he might actually be. As a starter (25 games) Lin averaged 18.8 points and 7.7 assists per game and posted a PER of 19.97 which is well above the league average. You can nitpick Lin’s game and point out that he’s turnover prone, not an above-average defender or that his left hand isn’t great, but for a player entering his third year in the season, you have to look into what can be.
There are complains over the poison pill contract that the Houston Rockets prepared in order to deter New York, which pays Lin a total of $14.8 million in his third year. For a team that is already above the salary cap, this is nothing. For a team that has a billion dollar owner, this should be nothing, yet they chose to play a different game. The Knicks stated that “any amount will be matched up to a billion dollars.” What changed from then until now? Dolan paid Eddy Curry and Jared Jefferies over $60 million combined. He isn’t afraid to break the bank for his players. Amar’e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler have a total salary of over $200 million. They have just paid Steve Novak and Marcus Camby a combined $27 million over the next 3-years. Money isn’t the issue. Is it the fact that Carmelo Anthony doesn’t want Lin on the team because they both need the ball to be effective? Are the Knicks showing their bitterness to Lin because he chose to sit out the playoffs when he was healthy enough to play? Is it because there would be animosity in the locker room over Lin’s contract like J.R. Smith noted? Whatever it is, it’s going to lead the team to mediocrity over the next few years.
A great man once said “All great things must come to an end” and it looks like it’s time for the Linsanity to end. Along with it marks the beginning of what the Knicks have been since the Ewing era. James Dolan, once again, has settled for mediocrity. Lin may never turn into a superstar but he’s the player the Knicks need at point guard. He made Steve Novak and Landry Fields productive during his stretch showing he can get his teammates into the game. He runs a great pick and roll game which Amare thrives at. He can take some of the stress from Anthony. Yet Dolan doesn’t realize this. He hasn’t realized it yet, and he may never get it. For all the Knicks fans out there, get used to what you are witnessing which is an owner not committing to his team’s best interest.