Knicks Rumors: James Dolan Is Right to Feel Betrayed by Jeremy Lin
For all of the New York Knicks fans out there spewing out opinions about how James Dolan is the worst owner in the NBA and how the Knicks are making a huge mistake by letting Jeremy Lin walk away to the Houston Rockets, calm down and examine the facts first.
According to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News, the Knicks made the decision to let Linsanity escape the confines of Madison Square Garden for two reasons:
The decision was both financial and emotional since Garden chairman James Dolan was upset over Lin restructuring his deal with Houston last week to include a third year salary of $14.9 million. Dolan, according to sources, felt he was deceived by the 23-year-old Lin.
While it's true that Dolan and the Knicks' brass could have made it more clear to Lin that they wanted him to return by proposing their own offer, Lin is not without fault in the situation.
Frankly, many of the quotes that the point guard is putting out there reek of disingenuity. Here's the tweet that Lin sent out after the decision was made by N.Y.:
Much love and thankfulness to the Knicks and New York for your support this past year...easily the best year of my life #ForeverGrateful— Jeremy Lin (@JLin7) July 18, 2012
Now, one more Lin quote, this time from Pablo S. Torre's Sports Illustrated article on how the free agency saga progressed and ended:
"Honestly, I preferred New York," Lin said. "But my main goal in free agency was to go to a team that had plans for me and wanted me. I wanted to have fun playing basketball. ... Now I'm definitely relieved."
Lin is saying all of the right things, but actions speak louder than words. In this case, Lin's actions have completely flown in the face of everything he's saying.
Meeting with the Houston Rockets and agreeing to an initial offer sheet is not a bad move. The former Harvard guard who began his NBA career in journeyman fashion was merely pursuing his options. It would have been bad business to go any other route.
Throughout that portion of the process, Lin was told by the Knicks' organization that he was going to be brought back and would be a starter. Everything published indicated that they fully intended to bring him back in an orange and blue uniform.
In fact, the Knicks had driven him towards testing the open market. They wanted him to gauge his value for himself. Once he had done that, there was still no sign pointing towards anything but a return.
The original offer from the Houston Rockets was a backloaded contract that would pay Lin $9.8 million in the third year. It was a bitter "poison pill" for the Knicks to swallow, but one they certainly could have.
Despite the overwhelming public opinion that he would be back, Lin helped the Rockets restructure the offer into a contract that would pay him $14.9 million in the third season. By doing that, he was forcing the Knicks hands as the increased "poison pill" would have pushed the Knicks' luxury-tax penalty to at least $35 million.
Dolan has a history of paying luxury-tax penalties, but he was unwilling to pay this one. Could it have simply been because he felt that Lin didn't truly want to remain with the team?
Why else would a player who doesn't place a heavy priority on money rework the deal with the Rockets? If his heart was set on returning to the Knicks, he would have done what he could to return, not make it nearly impossible for them to match from a financial standpoint.
Here's another quote from Torre's Sports Illustrated article:
He is happy with his new employer, but less so about the misconceptions that others may now harbor. The notion that Lin has always cared about money above all else, in particular, eats away at him, especially as he sleeps in his childhood home.
"If I really wanted to, I could have triple-digit endorsements," Lin pointed out, but he does not. Instead, and in large part because Lin wanted to concentrate on basketball, he declined to cash in on the Linsanity gold-rush -- namely, the mountain of business opportunities in Asia -- and picked only three companies: Volvo, Steiner Sports and Nike.
"A year ago, I was just trying to stay alive and fight day by day, just to be on a roster," said Lin, who famously slept on couches upon his arrival in New York. "What I have now is way more than I ever would have dreamed of, and way more than I need."
Lin has backed himself into a corner here. Either he doesn't care about money and restructured the offer sheet as a means of escaping from The City That Never Sleeps, or his quote in Torre's article is both disingenuous and hypocritical.
He can't have it both ways.
The decision to keep Lin or let him slip away was never purely a basketball decision. Lin's insane marketing value was a factor, as were the emotions of the situation.
Dolan has a right to feel deceived by the man he helped put on the map.
There's nothing wrong with Lin wanting to go to Houston, and a lot of the evidence points towards him having that desire.
Before you call for Dolan's head, just stop, and assess the situation.
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