Jeremy Lin walks
Jeremy Lin, who set the NBA alight in his 25 starts last season, has signed with the Houston Rockets on the three-year deal worth $21.5 million.
Lin was a restricted free agent this off-season, meaning New York had the opportunity to match Houston’s initial offer, but decided to let their enigmatic point guard walk instead.
The decision was made by Knicks owner, James Dolan, who ultimately would be paying for Lin’s large contract through the luxury tax system.
The move has been met with a largely negative response, with most failing to see why Dolan – a billionaire businessman – would have any reservations about spending on Lin giving the Knicks are trying to build a team that contends for finals and Lin’s marketability.
Since Lin’s rise to fame, the Madison Square Garden Company, Dolan’s company, saw a $600 million spike in their fiscal value.
And it’s no coincidence that the stock valuation for the same company dropped $50 million when it became apparent the Knicks were likely to let Jeremy Lin walk. Simply put, Lin was not a financial risk or liability – he would be paying for himself.
But is it really about the money at all?
Frank Isola from the New York Daily News tweeted during the madness “It was never about the money. This was all about ticking off James Dolan.” This is a sentiment that has been echoed by various insiders around the league
Did the notoriously grudge-holding James Dolan really just let Jeremy Lin walk because he was slighted by the Harvard graduate’s actions?
The alleged story is that the Knicks were upset Jeremy Lin had hired a publicist during the free agency period to shop himself around the league without consulting New York first.
Dolan was then further annoyed that Lin aggressively sought out a good deal for himself with teams around the league, testing the waters with the Rockets and Raptors primarily. James Dolan is not the most respected owner in the NBA, but he is a man who is all about loyalty.
And whether justified or not, Dolan feels Jeremy Lin did not show the New York Knicks loyalty by seeking better deals from other teams instead of turning back to the Knicks and asking first, “what can you offer me?”.
The alleged sign of disrespect is multiplied given the Knicks were the team that got Lin off the bench and out of the D-League for good when they gave him his first NBA start.
The financial aspect of this deal surely is not an issue for the Knicks. The Houston Rockets played the deal well and didn’t make it easy for the Knicks.
But if the Knicks really wanted him back as badly as the organisation constantly said before free agency, they could have easily swerved around the monetary roadblocks.
But one thing that the New York Knicks – or perhaps namely, James Dolan – could not overcome is the loss of trust in Jeremy Lin. On May 11th, Lin told reporters how much he anticipated returning to the Knicks saying; “I’ll always feel like I need to give back to the organisation.”
But does he? Yes, the New York Knicks took him off waivers and yes, they did give him his first NBA start.
But they did so once when Baron Davis was grounded by injury and after a 28 point-8 assist debut, I don’t think the Knicks only kept Lin starting because of some good natured loyalty – they sure were benefitting from “Linsanity” just as much as the man in the centre of it all.
Not only was Lin leading the Knicks to wins, but he was instrumental in bolstering the profits of the New York Knicks organisation. I believe he’d repaid the Knicks more than enough for their faith already.
The move has left the basketball world scratching its head and New York City shaking its head. An embattled franchise was gifted Jeremy Lin last season and James Dolan has once again found a way to make the wrong decision.
While Jason Kidd and Raymond Felton are a quality point guard tandem, letting Jeremy Lin walk away could be the biggest gaffe in the James Dolan era of the New York Knicks – and given his stint so far, that’s really saying something.
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