Despite the rampant rumors, many felt that this day would never come, but the New York Knicks let the 11:59 p.m. EDT deadline pass and point guard Jeremy Lin is now officially a member of the Houston Rockets.
With the way he captivated Knicks fans for small 25 game stretch and the impact he made not only on the court but for the city, many still believed that the Knicks would change their minds and match the three-year, $25 million offer sheet.
However it wasn’t to be and the Knicks must now move on without the 23-year old phenom.
Whether the decision to let Lin walk was a basketball one or a financial one remains to be seen but James Dolan has accomplished one thing and that’s he has successfully alienated his fan base. A fan base that came together once Lin was given the keys to the car.
On the court, the Knicks will be in good hands with Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd splitting point guard duties for the short-term.
However if this was a basketball decision deeming Lin not worthy of handling the point guard duties that’s one thing, but it definitely wasn’t a basketball decision with an eye on the bigger picture.
If this was purely a financial decision it’s a little easier to take given the luxury tax penalties under the new CBA. It’s easy to look back and criticize Dolan for all the bad contracts the Knicks took on the past few years with no eye on the future, but that was before the new CBA was signed and the penalties are much more severe now.
Time will tell if this ends up being a good basketball decision, but strictly from a marketing standpoint, it’s a horrible move. The possibilities with the Knicks brand and Lin’s name together were endless.
On the court for the 2012-13 season, the Knicks project to be a middle of the road playoff team. That ceiling would have been much higher with Lin in the fold.
It’s a sad day to watch a kid walk out the door. One we barely had the time to get to know.
As it stands now, the lights have been turned off on a sequel to the Linsanity. The book has been closed on what turned out to be the best stretch of Knicks basketball in a really long time, even though it was only a two month stretch.
Lin will have the same impact in Houston that he did in the Big Apple. He is just a young and humble kid that captivates everyone. In this age of sports where big money and egos turn many people off, he is a guy worth rooting for. Those type of players don’t come along very often.
The Rockets will prosper both on and off the floor, while Knicks fans are once again left holding the bag.
Dolan is going to have some explaining to do to explain why the one young man that gave this team hope is wearing a different uniform. There’s no guarantee that the Knicks would be a championship contender with Lin, but they certainly aren’t as good without him.
For the next three years, Knicks fans are going to be asking the “what if,” question a lot and sadly they will never get the opportunity to see how this all would have worked out.
Follow Matt Shetler on Twitter for news, reaction and analysis from around the NBA.
Follow Buckets Over Broadway on Twitter