Tag Archives: Jeremy Lin

Surprise, Surprise: The Knicks Screw Up Again

How about we throw away the greatest thing to happen to Knicks basketball in the last decade? Classic Knicks.

To the dismay of many Knicks fans, they let Jeremy Lin walk. He was one of the biggest surprises in NBA history and parlayed his success into New York legend status in 26 games and 50 days. That’s all it took for his jersey to become the No. 2 selling jersey this year in the NBA.

People will say he took advantage of New York, turning the media and the hype into a $25 million payday. But the Knicks used him back, and went further.

‘Linsanity’ renewed New York’s interest in a flailing Knicks team at the time, which the Knicks then used to settle their cable tv dispute and charge millions more in money. MSG’s stock platooned and Knicks’ ticket and apparel sales skyrocketed during Lin’s amazing run. They even sold out next season’s season tickets early because of him.

Still they let Lin leave. They let the most marketable, exciting player in Knicks basketball since Patrick Ewing leave.

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He’s going, going…gone.

With Lin, the Knicks could have become a global team, marketing themselves in Asia just as the Yao Ming-Houston Rockets did. But the Knicks could have done it better because well Houston is no New York. They could have had their own cable tv deal with China and you can be sure, companies would have paid big for those tv rights.

All this could have been reality had they kept Lin, and that’s even if he didn’t play as spectacular as he did before. He just had to be the Knicks starting point guard.

But they backed off because of $15 million owed to Lin in the third year of the deal would cause too much luxury tax penalties. Plain stupid. The Knicks are the NBA’s most valuable franchise. They would have made all that money back, and more.

Knicks owner, James Dolan, let the decision become personal, feeling cheated by Lin’s dealing. Even stupider. Last week when Houston offered Lin a 4-year, ~$29 million deal, with the last two years worth $9.3 million each, the Knicks said they would “absolutely” match and Lin would “absolutely” be their starting point guard next season. A few days later, Lin and the Rockets signed a 3-year, $25 million deal with the last year at $14.8 million.

Dolan felt betrayed. He felt the Harvard kid took advantage of him by turning the leverage that the Knicks were ‘definitely’ going to bring him back into a heftier contract.

Dolan and the Knicks should know better though. You don’t show your hand in a poker game, it’s as simple as that. The Knicks did, and Jeremy Lin, just like every other NBA player would, did the smart thing and upped the antae. The NBA’s a business.

The Knicks played it that way too, by not offering Lin a contract when free agency began. Instead they told him to find his worth on the open market, and they would match. Well he did, and they didn’t.

Now the Knicks are left with Raymond Felton as their starting point guard. Does anyone think Felton will make the Knicks relevant? Will he make money for them off-the-court? Hey most importantly, will he give them the best chance to win? He wasn’t a better player than Lin last year, and won’t be going forward. Lin’s on the rise, and Felton has reached his peak.

You have to feel for Knicks fan though. Letting Lin go was another typical dumbfounded move by Knicks management. In the last two years, they gave Amare Stoudemire 5 years, $100 million and Tyson Chandler 4 years, $58 million. Hey Carmelo, now those are some “ridiculous” contracts.

Well at least the Knicks are consistent.

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Why The Knicks Need to Keep ‘Linsanity’

It was surreal. It was possibly the story of the year. It was ‘Linsanity’. The kid nobody gave a chance, undrafted and twice cut, took Broadway by storm ,creating a buzz around Knicks basketball that has been absent for far too long.

But now its decision time for the Knicks. Lin has signed a 3-year, $25. 1 million offer sheet with Houston, giving New York till Tuesday 11:59 pm to match that offer and retain him.

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Remember Lin’s 38 point, dazzling display he schooled the Lakers with? Simply amazing.

It looks increasingly like they won’t and if that’s the case, it will be another wrong move by Knicks management in a decade plagued by them.

Instead the Knicks have acquired 28-year-old Raymond Felton in a sign-and-trade, giving him a 3 year, $10 million deal.

Seriously Raymond Felton? This is New York City, the mecca of basketball and the biggest media market in the US, if not the world, and you want Raymond Felton as your starting point guard?

Felton averaged a career low 11.4 ppg last season and is a career 41.2% shooter from the field. Portland fans spent last season closing their eyes every time he touched the ball, afraid of what he’d do. Hey New York, how does it feel to take Portland’s leftovers?

So what Jeremy Lin played only 35 games, starting 25 of those, for New York. Those 25 games were probably the most anyone has cared about the Knicks in the last decade. Lin made the Knicks relevant. Fans everywhere were tuning into to watch ‘Linsanity’. Even people who didn’t watch the NBA, wanted to see the young phenom. He was a star in a city built for stars.

Lin’s run was no fluke. You can’t fake those aggressive drives to the rim and the vision behind those chris-paul-like lobs to Tyson Chandler. You can’t fake that swagger and confidence that are necessary to surviving in the NBA. And you can’t fake an 18.2 ppg and 7.7 apg average over 25 starts.

The reality is that the Knicks had a .600 win percentage in Lin’s 25 starts. Had Lin started all 66 games, their win percentage would have been good for a division title, the number four seed in the East over Boston, and home court advantage in the playoffs for the first time since 2001.

Carmelo Anthony has been one of Jeremy Lin’s biggest believers

Sure Lin had his problems with turnovers but most point guards do early on in their career. With great players like Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire, Jason Kidd, and Tyson Chandler around him, Lin’s game will only get better. The 23-year-old is on the rise. And on top of it all, his marketability is off-the-charts.

The Knicks’ biggest worry of resigning Lin is the $75 million they will have committed to four players in Lin, Anthony, Stoudemire and Chandler, in 2014-15. Along with other players on the roster, even if they were all at the veteran’s minimum, the Knicks would surely warrant tens of millions of dollars in luxury tax penalties. Let’s be real, this is New York and they’ll make that money back.

But what if they don’t want to pay that extra money in 2014-15? They’ll have the expiring contracts of Stoudemire, Chandler, Anthony, and Lin. In a league where expiring contracts are valuable trade assets, the Knicks should be able to trade away at least one of those expiring contracts and get themselves close to the salary cap limit, if not under it.

The Knicks want to win now and are built to do it with a core of Anthony, Stoudemire, and Chandler. Carmelo’s in his prime, Stoudemire’s on the decline, and Chandler has never had much of an offensive game.. The Knicks need another star to win. They need Lin. If they decide to stick with Felton, then they’re fine with mediocrity, a number five or six seed in the East every year, and annual first round exits.

The clock’s not just ticking on Tuesday’s 11:59 pm deadline to match Lin’s offer, but also on the Knicks chances to stay relevant.

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NBA Owners Not Learning from Pre-Lockout Mistakes

We’re less than a week into NBA Free Agency and teams have already made several decisions that they will regret for years, then use as evidence during the next lockout they cause in 2017.

You’d think owners and GMs would learn from the likes of Gilbert Arenas, Elton Brand, and Baron David to not throw buckets of cash at players with injuries or other question marks surrounding them. But alas, they’re at it again.

Let’s take a look at the deals that will haunt teams for the next half decade.

Gerald Wallace (Nets; 4 years, $40 million ): After trading the 6th pick in last month’s draft for Wallace, the Nets had little choice but to re-sign him. Wallace and his agents knew this and used it as leverage to run the price up. For a player nicknamed “Crash” who will be 30 in a few weeks, Wallace is almost guaranteed to not live up to his contract. His entire game is based off of athleticism, which is certain to be diminishing. His reckless play combined with his age makes injuries nearly inevitable. Not much long-term thinking going on in Brooklyn, but with Deron Williams re-signed (an example of a player who does deserve his large salary), the Nets are clearly focusing on the present.

Eric Gordon (Suns/Hornets; 4 years, $58 million): Giving a max deal to a player who missed 83 games the past 2 seasons is not how to start rebuilding, Phoenix. Gordon has been great when he’s healthy, but staying healthy is his biggest weakness. He’s missed 107 of the 306 possible games throughout his 4 seasons in the NBA. That’s over 1/3 of the games missed to injuries. Gordon is a Restricted Free Agent, and New Orleans has said they would match any offer, but locking a huge portion of cap space into one injury prone player may not be the best way to start the Anthony Davis era.

Jeremy Lin (Rockets/Knicks; 4 years, ~$29 million): For a player who has only played 27 games at an NBA starter caliber, throwing $30 million his way seems strange. In his short stint of excellence, Lin certainly was worthy of that type of money. But, as with Gordon, Lin has not proved he can stay healthy, nor has he proved that Linsanity wasn’t a fluke. If Lin can stay healthy and produce similar numbers as he did for that 27 game stretch, this deal could be a reasonable one, but the fact that he is so unproven makes it very risky and a questionable decision. New York has also said they will match any offers for Lin, but their recent signing of Jason Kidd could change that.

Roy Hibbert (Blazers/Pacers; 4 years, $58 million): Hibbert is a quality starting center, averaging 13 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks last season. But those are not star numbers and max contracts should be reserved for star players. Hibbert has been very healthy throughout his career, however, missing just 15 games over his 4 years. But his production just isnt at a level worth that type of money. Portland could have an impressive front line with Hibbert and LaMarcus Alrdridge, but committing this much money to Hibbert could prevent them from making even better moves in the future. Indiana will have to think about this one for a while. They may not have the financial flexibility to match Portland’s offer, but given their struggles to attract Free Agents over the years, keeping Hibbert for this type of money would be excusable.

Spencer Hawes (Sixers; 2 years, $13 million): Hawes’ deal doesn’t have the long-term implications of the other ones on this list, but is still perplexing. Hawes averaged just 10 points and 7 rebounds – numbers that plenty of centers could put up on a nightly basis. Giving $6.5 million a year to Hawes when the Sixers could have gotten similar production for much cheaper hurts Philadelphia, as they lose cap space to sign other key pieces or trade for a more expensive player. This team clearly isn’t a contender, so why keep the exact same pieces for more money than before? That’s not going to help the team win more. Mid-level type moves like this can be just as bad as the max deals, if given to the wrong players.

The new Collective Bargaining Agreement divided the NBA’s income up in a way such that the owners will continue to profit despite these moves. But from a fan’s standpoint, it’s frustrating to watch teams throw away their future for players that won’t have much effect on their championships. We can only hope teams learn from their most recent batch of mistakes.

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