18 Jul 2012 03:12 PM EST
-By Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: The Knicks would be better suited going into the future with Jeremy Lin. (Image Source: Getty Images)
The New York Knicks made a mistake by not matching the three-year, $25 million offer sheet agreed to by the Houston Rockets and Jeremy Lin. It’s not because the fans love him or because Lin is a potential global sensation or because of the all the money they can [or cannot] make by marketing the Chinese-American point guard. I don’t care about any of those reasons.
Here are six basketball explanations for why the Knicks should have ponied up and matched the offer sheet:
1. Lin is better than Raymond Felton: At worst, Lin is just as good. Plain and simple, Raymond Felton stunk last season for the Portland Trail Blazers and while he was splendid as a Knick for 54 games that was in Mike D’Antoni’s system, which can help inflate the stats of players. Besides, as good as Felton was in New York, his best wasn’t as good as Lin’s best and we’re not even going to get into Felton’s conditioning.
2. Lin should get better: We know what Felton is and he will never live up to being the fifth overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft. Maybe Lin won’t ever live up to the hype of Linsanity, but there is no reason to believe he can’t improve and work on his overall game. The Harvard product is just 23 years old and has minimal NBA experience. Lin’s ceiling is higher than Felton’s and he has a chance to be a good to very good playmaker in the NBA for years to come.
3. Lin has “it”: He showed something during his Linsanity run, didn’t he? The moment was never too big for the Harvard man, as Lin displayed fearlessness, moxie and confidence in pressure situations. Whether it was scoring 38 points against Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers or hitting the game winning shot in Toronto with a last-second three pointer. The kid wants the basketball in his hands and doesn’t shy away from the spotlight and that counts for something. Even if Carmelo Anthony remained the go-to guy at the end of games, which he should, you can never have too many clutch shooters on the floor.
4. They shouldn’t have lost Lin for nothing: Cleary, if the Houston Rockets offer sheet is any indication, Lin has value. Who knows what Lin could have netted the Knicks in the future, but they may end up looking for trade pieces next summer for Chris Paul. Moreover, his $14.8 million salary in the third year of his contract could have been valuable, as teams looking to dump salary crave expiring contracts. Lin is an asset that the Knicks let walk with nothing in return.
5. Lin can play for Mike Woodson and with Carmelo Anthony: In his seven starts under Mike Woodson, Lin averaged 13.3 points, 5.4 assists and four rebounds per game while shooting 43 percent from the field. Not special, but not terrible either. Lin’s minutes were down, as Woodson didn’t need as much from the point guard with Anthony back in the rotation. Lin averaged 28 minutes per game, only twice going over 30 minutes over seven games after playing 30-plus minutes in 18 of his previous 19 games [over 40 minutes in five]. Lin was worn down when Woodson took over. More importantly, the Knicks were 6-1 with the Woodson/Lin combo, compared to 10-9 with D’Antoni/Lin. So while playing for D’Antoni helped Lin’s numbers, how much better did it make the Knicks? Granted these are extremely small samples, but that’s all we have to work with.
6. There was no good reason not to: Money, you say? Come on, do you really care how James Dolan wastes his money this year? Since the end of the Patrick Ewing era the Knicks have brought in more bad contracts than we can keep track of. The Knicks/MSG/Cablevision print money and it should never be the reason why the ‘Bockers don’t get their guy. Would matching Houston’s offer sheer cost the Knicks anything else? Nope. There really was no opportunity cost in matching. That money that Dolan just saved is simply money Dolan just saved. The Knicks won’t be able to sign another player thanks to their frugalness. This isn’t the Mets signing Jason Bay and then not being able to afford Jose Reyes two years later. We can only hope that hurt feelings and ego weren’t the reasons New York didn’t match. Finally, did they upgrade? Steve Nash would have been an upgrade. As stated above, Felton is not what we would consider an improvement. There is no way that the Knicks are better as an organization by having lost Lin. This isn’t an addition by subtraction situation.
Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of American. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards.
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