The Jeremy Lin era is officially over in New York. The Knicks were set to match his offer from the Houston Rockets, but an extra $5 million on the back end of the deal at the last minute allegedly angered Knicks brass. Still there is no doubt the impact Lin made in the biggest city is immeasurable, yet it wasn’t enough to keep him in the orange and blue. The New York Knicks are making a big mistake letting Lin walk especially when you are getting nothing in return for him. Here’s why:
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5. Landry Fields
This is a moot point since Fields is on his way to Toronto, but it was clear who benefited the most from Jeremy Lin being on the floor. Fields took his face off the milk carton after Lin emerged, created a stupid pre-game handshake, and was by all accounts Lin’s best friend on the team. Once Lin got hurt and Carmelo came back Landry went back into the witness protection program, especially against Miami in the first round of the playoffs.
At the height of Jeremy Lin’s run his number 17 Knicks jersey was the best selling uniform in the ENTIRE league, better than Kobe, better than LeBron James. You can’t pay for that publicity. J-Lin appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated two weeks in a row. Some athletes don’t make the cover twice in their career. Playoffs tickets flew off the shelves before everyone knew Lin was hurt and would not be playing. Some say this was an underhanded ploy to guarantee post season tickets would be sold by Knicks owner James Dolan. My question is if you are going to pull a heist like that on the general public, why not keep the guy in the fold and continue to milk the cash cow? What does Carmelo Anthony‘s jersey rank on the best seller list? I don’t know either. Moving on…
3. Point Guard Play
Jason Kidd admitted he signed on to play with Lin. Even when Carmelo returned from injury Lin was averaging 17 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds. Jason Kidd is not gonna give you those numbers on a regular basis anymore and it remains to be seen if Raymond Felton can play like he did at the start of the 2010-11 season without Mike D’Antoni‘s system.
Although it was only 25 starts, Jeremy Lin showed he had guts. He was fearless going to the basket. He obliterated stereotypes every time he finished a fast break with a one-handed flush. Sure he turned the ball over a little too much and his defense could have been better, but that’s why you allow the kid the chance to grow. Sure we know now he could have come back during the Miami playoff series and chose not to, and yeah he went back to the Rockets for more money after the Knicks said they would match the initial offer, but what else do you expect from a man who went to Harvard. He was using his noggin. He was sleeping on Landry Fields’ couch last season. Why not try to get as much money as you can to secure your future? The Knicks overpaid for Jerome James (who? Exactly), gave a $100 million contract to Allan Houston when he was clearly at the tail-end of a brilliant career, and threw away money on Eddy Curry. Now Dolan wants to exercise financial restraint on a kid who they pretty much discovered and made a global star? The Knicks can only hope Lin fades away in Houston. Then again, with his popularity I wouldn’t be surprised if Lin is the starting point guard for the Western Conference in the All-Star game next season (fans vote for the starters). Knicks would look real good then. Why not see what the kid can do in a full season with a training camp? Worry about that poison pill of a third year (14.9 million, $30-40 million after luxury tax) when the time comes. But that’s just me. I’m not a billionaire.
Jeremy Lin’s rise off the end of the bench brought an excitement the Garden hasn’t seen since Larry Johnson hit the four point play against the Indiana Pacers. All of a sudden Asian-Americans were all over the arena (or maybe the cameras were finding them more), the cardboard signs returned with every Lin-adjective imaginable (one lady asked Lin to sleep with her on a sign that did not make live television), and he was all over the airwaves and media. Magazines devoted entire issues to him, documentaries were made: this was a three week stretch of basketball! Keep Lin and getting tickets to Knicks game returns to the difficulty level of the Pat Riley coached mid 90’s crew. There’s your luxury tax money recouped in spades.
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