Monday, July 23, 2012
7/23/2012 12:00:00 PM | Posted by Quentin Haynes | Edit Post
It’s been 5 days, and I’m still confused. The New York Knicks, a franchise that has been irrelevant in over the past 15 years, made one of the more mind-boggling moves in recent memory. This past Wednesday, the Knicks declined to match the three-year, 25 million dollar contract from Houston for point guard Jeremy Lin. In this franchise’s history, this is one of the few mind-boggling decisions in recent years.
The Knicks were 8-15 when Jeremy Lin took over the starting point guard duties. A team in chaos, the Knicks expected Lin to make a small difference, just enough to run the position until Baron Davis returned from injury. Instead of just being a steady replacement, Lin took over the starting role and didn’t look back. Turning the Knicks around with an impressive seven game winning streak. Not only did Lin win the heart of New York Knicks fans, but the heart of the entire league.
Eventually, all good things come to an end, and for Lin, his tenure ended abruptly. Lin needed knee surgery, which took him out of the final two weeks of the regular season, but the postseason as well. The Knicks lost to Miami in five games, and the rumors of Lin’s departure began swirling. As the Knicks hit free agency, the main goal was resigning Jeremy Lin, as they went after Steve Nash, Andre Miller, and acquired Jason Kidd and Raymond Felton. It was apparent that Lin wasn’t returning to the Knicks.
As Lin went to Houston, I felt like his run with the Knicks was incomplete. Even Lin felt the same way, mentioning his desire to remain a Knick, even at Houston’s press conference. As reporters dug deeper, it also came out that everyone wanted Lin to return EXCEPT Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith. On top of that, James Dolan felt “offended” and “betrayed” at Lin going back to Houston for a better deal AFTER the Knicks told Lin to go out and test the free agent market.
As the Knicks made this move, everyone assumed that this was a finical issue. With new luxury tax penalties, the final year of Lin’s contract could’ve cost the Knicks 30 million dollars. While the Knicks never shied away from going over the tax since it’s inception, going over for a player who played just 25 games is understandable. Throw in the fact that Lin’s numbers didn’t exactly shine next to Carmelo Anthony, and not matching for Lin was at least respectable, if the Knicks replaced him correctly.
Here’s where I drew the line as a Knicks fan and realized I couldn't support this team.
Instead of it being a finical issue, owner James Dolan was spiteful over Lin’s free agent endeavors. Instead of adding Lin for the good of the team, for the good of the fan base that wanted him back, James Dolan forced Lin out, and made no bones about it. J.R. Smith had zero problems with Lin’s departure, and Carmelo Anthony came out and called the Lin contract “ridiculous”. It appeared like all of Lin’s good deeds were for naught, and that’s my problem with this entire situation.
For the past decade, the Knicks always made moves with the idea that it would make the team better. Trading Patrick Ewing, hiring Larry Brown and Lenny Wilkins to coach, Scott Layden and Isaiah Thomas to run the team, trading for guys like Stephon Marbury (and Steve Francis, and Eddy Curry, and Jamal Crawford), and signing guys like Amar’e Stoudemire. Other than Donnie Walsh blowing up the team (while still keeping it at least competitive), the Knicks always made offseason moves, to make the team better, and to win.
The Lin move was a shortsighted spiteful move that took the Knicks from being one of the top three seeds in the East, to one of the middle of the pack teams in the East. The Knicks made this move REGARDLESS of result, almost as if Lin was a cancer to the team. Now, the Knicks are stuck paying the combination of Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd 24 million dollars, while Lin was sent away for 25 million. All because the owner of the franchise thought he was being greedy. It’s mind-boggling to me. It’s mind-boggling that the Knicks gave up on Lin after he was the reason this team turned around.
I’m sick at the thought Lin wanted to remain a Knick, but an owner who saw more loses than wins during his tenure decided that he was betraying the team and showed him the door, and the two players that benefit the most with his departure helped him. After torturing fans with terrible rosters year after year, you could’ve at least bring back the one guy the fan base grew fond of. I’m not mad at the roster, I’m not mad at Carmelo Anthony, the reporters, the media, or anything else. I’m mad at the owner. Since James Dolan's purchase of the team, the Knicks have lost the most games then any other franchise.
For some reason, this blunder is the last straw. Not the countless losing seasons, not the “truck party”, not the Brandon Rush injury, not the terrible trades, but the fact that James Dolan kicked Lin out the door. This is the same owner that fell in love with Carmelo Anthony (Dolan took control of the Carmelo Anthony trade talks from then-GM Donnie Walsh, and proceeded to give up almost every asset the Knicks had), and then allowed him to build his own team. Dolan's always been eccentric, but this has gone too far.
Screw you, James Dolan.