Not exactly, but I wish I could hold a Lintervention (sorry, but I had to) for Knicks management in order to smack them around a little bit. I do not understand this move, and my confidence in the team has declined slightly from late last week.
The Knicks have decided to let Jeremy Lin sign his offer sheet with Houston, which was a 3-year deal for 25 million dollars. The biggest reason that the Knicks did not match it was due to their reluctance to take the “poison pill,” or the heavily back ended last year of the contract. The 3rd year, which was worth over 14 million dollars, would have cost the Knicks even more in luxury taxes.
At first, all signs pointed to the Knicks keeping Lin this offseason no matter what deal was offered to him. Things changed, however, when Marcus Camby and Jason Kidd signed on to the team for the next three years leaving even less space before reaching the luxury tax threshold. The real issue came about when the Rockets changed their deal from being a four-year, 28 million dollar deal into the one that was eventually signed by Lin.
Theories began to trickle out that The Knicks may not be keeping Lin when seemingly out of nowhere Raymond Felton and Kurt Thomas were traded to the team in exchange for Jared Jefferies, Dan Gadzuric, and the draft rights to two of our players. Felton, who played arguably his best season with The Knicks in 2010, is coming off a down season where he was accused of being out of shape. Amar’e Stoudemire and Felton developed a great pick-and-roll chemistry very early on in the season.
It seems like the Knicks front office wanted to save money by signing Felton to a 3-year, 10 million dollar deal rather than the astronomical deal Lin will receive from the Rockets. Felton is not a bad player by any means, in fact he was playing at a near all-star level less than 2 years ago. He averaged 17.1 ppg, 9 apg, and 1.8 spg in 54 games with The Knicks. Felton has always played consistent defense never averaging less than one steal in his 8 NBA seasons.
Felton has proved himself capable of being a solid starting point guard in this league, who can shoot and defend well. My issue with the decision to choose him over Lin is not that I necessarily think he is not a good enough player to start on a championship contending team, but that Lin has too much upside to let slip away.
Jeremy Lin has a lot going for him. He is only 23-years-old, he is an instant marketing tool, his shooting and passing skills will only improve, and he has the ability to be a franchise player. The image I have kept in my mind since the dawn of Linsanity was always that when Carmelo and Amar’e are at the ends of their careers, Lin would be right in the middle of his prime continuing to lead the Knicks.
Jeremy Lin will always be faster and more athletic than Raymond Felton, but Felton has the experience and defense that is needed when trying to win championships. He also will save the team a lot of money without making the team too old (he’s only 28 years old), and he may be able to get STAT out of his post-’Melo funk.
I wanted Lin back, and I was enthused about having another player on the floor who can create his own shot, but its time to move on. Knicks’ fans must turn back the clock to when they were enamored with Felton. I don’t know about you, but I think its time to begin hoping that Linsanity was all a fluke, and that the Rockets may have just made one of the worst free agent signings in history.