I keep hearing about the Knicks weighing whether to make a basketball decision or a marketing decision. To me, this is an oversimplification in many ways. It’s not just that they would be losing out on marketing opportunities by letting him go, it’s also the fact that Lin represents one of the most exciting periods of being a Knick fan ever.
These last couple of weeks I feel that a lot of people have applied an almost TOO sober approach to Jeremy Lin, questioning whether he will really be the player he seemed to be during Linsanity, suggesting he may somehow revert to the perpetual end-of-the-bench guy he previously was. Watching Jeremy Lin back in February was fun to the point that it transcended basketball. I literally shrieked with pure astonishment when I saw Lin hit the game-winning three against Toronto. This story was incredible in itself but that it should happen to the most cursed franchise of the last decade, my Knicks, just made it seem more like a dream than anything else.
Ok, so fine, I too thought that Lin should have played in the Miami series, if he truly was as he said, at 85%. And he is not yet proven over a whole season, so the third year of his contract is obviously, as Carmelo said (rather unnecessarily), ridiculous at this point. But one naturally cannot blame Lin for seeking the most possible money, and frankly, the marketing opportunities he brings to a team means that any potential luxury tax hit he triggers will likely be covered anyway. Which brings me to the decision the Knicks are facing; financially, retaining Lin cannot realistically be a problem. And with that in mind, since the team is way over the cap either way, not matching Lin would make no sense whatsoever, as they are unable to sign any players for more than the veteran’s minimum going forward. Do they really think they’ll find better players – or assets if you will – by hunting for veteran’s minimum players?
Finally, and perhaps most importantly – the Knicks must have been able to anticipate that at least one team would swoop in and give Lin this kind of offer when they let him test the market. That being the case, if they truly won’t match the Rockets’ offer, why would they not have made any effort to sign-and-trade Lin for any kind of assets? I absolutely want Lin to return to the Knicks, but what would really annoy me would be to see the league’s most marketable player leave for absolutely nothing in return.
I really hope the front office matches Lin, because that to me would keep their heretofore impeccable offseason intact. Otherwise I will be left wondering if there really wasn’t a much better way to handle this whole Jeremy Lin saga.