2012 Knicks: Changing of the Guards Indicate That Linsanity Is over in NYC

Benjamin J. BlockCorrespondent IIJuly 15, 2012

What's the next move?
What's the next move?Chris Chambers/Getty Images

Jason Kidd and Raymond Felton in, Jeremy Lin out? Knick fans can start holding their breath as Tuesday is the deadline to match the Rockets' ridiculously unjustified contract that was offered to Jeremy Lin.

As reported by Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com, The Rockets' offer sheet for Lin is worth a little more than $25 million—$5 million in the first year, $5.225 million in the second and $14.8 million in the third. According to Begley's article, a source close to the process told ESPN.com's Marc Stein the Knicks officially received the offer sheet Saturday night, meaning they have until 11:59 p.m. ET Tuesday to match it or let Lin go to the Rockets.

All speculations and rumors in the recent days have centered around how much the Knicks were anticipating receiving the Rockets' offer sheet for Lin and how they would 'absolutely' match it. That anticipation however, was predicated on the Rockets' initial plan to extend Lin a four-year deal with the third and fourth years valued at just over $9 million each year.  

What a difference 24-hours makes, because speculation and rumors was ALL that was.   

Maybe Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey was scared of losing Lin for a second time, (after carelessly releasing him back in December 2011), or maybe he just wanted to make a statement deal for the NBA to take notice. Either way, he is flexing his business savvy muscles as he tweaked the Jeremy Lin offer sheet at the eleventh hour.  

The change from the initial four-year deal to an unwarrantably back-loaded three-year deal appears to have made the New York Knicks brass very uncomfortable. Morey's motivation for the last minute contract change is undoubtedly due to his awareness of the Knicks' impending vulnerability of paying the luxury tax on the $14.8 million portion of Lin's three-year deal.  

It's not totally fair to be upset with Rockets GM Morey, as the real underlying issue dates back to Lin's decision to sit out of the 2012 playoffs.  Even though that decision certainly seems to be paying off (pun intended) for him right now, back in May Lin declared himself 80-85% prior to Game 5 against the Heat but publicly said he wouldn't be available because he didn't want to risk anything. I guess the risk of prolonging the Knicks' postseason wasn't appealing to him. 

But what if he did risk it? 

Newsflash, no player is ever physically 100% heading into the playoffs, which is part of the reason why they are so special and such a grind. Forgive me for being cliche, but it is definitely where legends are born and great moments are made.  

What if Jordan decided not to play the flu game against the Jazz in the 1997 Finals? What if Willis Reed never limped onto the Garden floor the night the Knicks swept the Lakers for the 1970 NBA Championship? What if LeBron James sat out Game 5 of the 2012 Finals because of the leg cramps he suffered at the end of Game 4?

Sports is full of "what if" moments, and Lin showed himself to be totally ignorant to the importance of playoff performances. He did however succeed in garnering the attention and dollars from teams around the NBA, putting his Harvard Economics degree to good use.  

It's disappointing that the whirlwind of Linsanity will end so negatively. Despite the Harvard education, Lin couldn't grasp the significance of social behavior. The Knicks stuck their neck out for him by plugging him into the line-up back on February 4th, and he should have had the awareness to reciprocate their faith in him, by making himself eligible for Game 5 against the Heat despite his 85% health.

We could be having a whole different conversation today if Lin played in the 2012 playoffs, but it's evident that the he was more concerned with protecting himself for the upcoming free agency. So Knicks fans shouldn't be so shocked that Lin is now on the verge of the biggest payday he could attract.

We all know that perception often trumps reality, and the perception in New York screams Jeremy Lin's disloyalty to the only team that gave him a shot. The reality is that Lin is likely headed back to the team that told him he wasn't good enough, just less than a year ago.

The Jeremy Lin saga ultimately portrays the ugly side of this business.