Jeremy Lin: Why Spurning Linsanity Will Be James Dolan's Undoing as Knicks Owner
To match or not to match?
So, naturally, rather than make a clear decision either way, the Knicks reacquired the 28-year-old and still-big-boned Raymond Felton from the Portland Trail Blazers to pair at point guard with the 39-year-old Jason Kidd, whose Hall-of-Fame-caliber decision-making skills apparently don't translate so well off the court.
All of which served to essentially paint the Knicks into a corner—in which matching the Houston Rockets' offer to Lin of three years and more than $25 million would seem insane, especially with two players already pegged for his position—and make those at the top of the organization look like dolts once again.
Especially team owner James Dolan, the one man who's been at the forefront of the whole operation since the Knicks fell off the wagon shortly after their surprise appearance in the 1999 NBA Finals.
If only being one of the clumsiest owners in all of American professional sports were a fireable offense in and of itself.
Unfortunately for Knicks fans, that's not the case. Otherwise, Dolan would've been out years ago, right around the time he joined forces with Isiah Thomas like some buddy-cop movie gone horribly awry.
Instead, here's Jimmy again, upset that Linsanity—this good-natured "Frankenstein" that he helped to create once it took hold this past season—would dare go hunting for the best deal he could find.
Even though, according to Ian O'Connor of ESPNNewYork.com, the Knicks had the opportunity to sign Lin to a more financially palatable deal but declined to do so, thinking Lin wouldn't find a richer deal elsewhere.
Except he did, one with a "poison pill" at the end that would cost the Knicks $14.8 million during the 2014-15 season, not including steep luxury tax expenses.
As if that were Jeremy's fault. As if he was the one who told Dolan, Donnie Walsh and Glen Grunwald to dole out $100 million to Amar'e Stoudemire, he of the uninsurable knees, or to spend lavishly to acquire Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler.
As if one "bad" contract (and a potential tax hit that's still several kicked cans down the road)—for a 23-year-old scoring point guard who still has some upside in his back pocket—were enough to deter the spoiled overlord of a media empire from trying to paper over his mistakes with, well, paper.
What happens if they let Jeremy Lin leave? What's the Knicks' ceiling with Felton and Kidd running the point on a team full of talented parts but lacking a cohesive whole? How indignant would Knicks fans become if/when Lin goes on to blossom in Houston?
And, really, if the Knicks are so worried about a hit from the league that wouldn't come until the 2014-15 season, why not keep Lin around and, if need be, find a way to dump him later, assuming that things don't work out?
Unless, of course, Dolan and his advisers don't think Lin (and the business opportunities inherent within) is worth the price tag.
In all fairness to Jimmy D., he's not exactly out of line to have reservations about backing up the truck to Lin's brother's couch. After all, Lin has all of 25 starts as a pro under his belt and is coming off season-ending knee surgery, albeit not of the most serious variety. If Jeremy's body couldn't withstand playing heavy minutes for two months, how could he be expected to do so for three years?
Those are legitimate concerns. So, too, are questions about Ray Felton's rapid decline and J-Kidd's ability to play until he's 42.
What should the Knicks do?
But that's Jimmy's problem, not Jeremy's. Dolan oversaw the creation of this mess and, in all likelihood, will be on hand to see it through to the end, for better or worse.
And who knows? Maybe the clock strikes 11:59 p.m. on the East Coast on Tuesday and the Knicks decide to keep Lin after all.
Doing so wouldn't necessarily make Dolan a better owner. Although, letting go of a promising young point guard because he's too pricey or worse because Dolan doesn't care for the kid's "disloyalty" can only further bruise the owner's already battered and bloodied reputation.
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