17 July 2012

Why the Knicks should let Jeremy Lin go

The New York Knicks are in a bit of a conundrum with Jeremy Lin after the man who came out of nowhere to take the league by storm in February signed a three-year, $25.1 million offer sheet with the Houston Rockets. The Knicks, after missing out on Steve Nash, were expected to match the offer sheet, especially after bringing in Jason Kidd to mentor him seemingly, surprised much of the basketball world by trading some scrubs for former Knicks point guard Raymond Felton. So now there is a majjor question, should the Knicks let Lin go or should they match the offer?

It certainly is not an easy decision, but ultimately, here is why the Knicks should let him go.

In my opinion, it would have made more sense for the Knicks, if they were going for Felton all along, why bother bringing in Kidd, who has already made his mark with the club. Most thought that Kidd was brought in to help mentor Lin as well to give them a solid backup. Now Felton is a solid point guard and is only 28, but with the exception of his excellent season (actually 54 games) with the Knicks in 2010-11, when point guard maestro Mike D'Antoni was still the coach in New York before getting fired by Carmelo Anthony resigning last season, he has been a decent at best point guard and two teams in a row have given him up in trades, Portland most recently for pretty much nothing. A Felton-Lin combo would be a much better combo than a Felton-Kidd combo (or even a Lin-Kidd combo).

But the point is that Felton is now in town and there would only be so many minutes to go around at point guard, particularly in an offense that runs a lot of Anthony-featured isolation. For what Lin would be paid if the Knicks were to match, which in the third year would come in around $15 million, for him not to be given the starter minutes would be silly money then, especially because that contract would cost the team between $35 million and $45 million in luxury tax payments in 2014-15, according to the New York Times. No matter how good Lin played in the 25 starts he got this season, that is not a big enough window to label him a top point guard worth top point guard money, plus those starts came in a different offensive system under a different coach. Plus, Lin did not play great when Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire came back from injuries and the team's offense was a little stagnant as well. And while one cannot discount Lin's marketability and money-making potential, this contract could really end up hurting the Knicks and leave almost no room for improvement in the near future.

Similar to the team's decision to not take the Raptors' bait and passing on matching the contract offer for Landry Fields, the Knicks should just part ways with Lin. Yes there will be money lost, but his value is just not at what the contract he would be paid is.

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