It's been years since the Knicks have been title contenders.
Patrick Ewing, Charles Oakley, Derek Harper and John Starks got the Knicks close in 1994, but they fell just short, losing to the Houston Rockets in the finals. The Knicks reached the finals again in 1999 but were no match for the San Antonio Spurs. For the following decade, the Knicks were the laughing stock of the league, but it all changed in 2010.
The signing of Amar'e Stoudemire brought hope to this bumbling franchise. The trade for Carmelo Anthony brought even more excitement to the Garden. People returned, and the Knicks were again meaningful in NYC.
That hope of bringing a championship back to NYC took a major hit when the Knicks elected to pass on Jeremy Lin's offer sheet this week and allow him to go to Houston in free agency. It's a just bad decision to let a 23-year-old point guard—one who showed plenty of potential—just leave without getting anything in return.
Before everyone begins to rant and rave about the contract Lin got, it should never have happened. The Knicks should have done more (before he even thought of leaving) to offer him a contract to keep him in New York. Knicks management thought otherwise and allowed him to "shop" himself around, thinking the team could simply match any offer.
The Rockets made the smart business move and signed Lin to a contract the Knicks couldn't match due to such a high salary in the third year. While it remains to be seen if Lin is going to be worth it (no player is worth $15 million in one season), the Rockets, after seeing what Lin might be, did the smart thing and brought him back.
What makes this all the more insane is that after years of the Knicks throwing money away on bad players and signing them to max contracts, they let Jeremy Lin go. It took the Knicks almost a decade to be respectable again after Isiah Thomas ran this franchise to the ground with bad trades and bad contracts.
Now, when finding a player by accident, you go cheap. What? Really?
This is the same franchise that brought in Eddy Curry from Chicago and paid him for sitting on the bench. This is the same franchise to bring in Zach Randolph, Stephon Marbury, Steve Francis and Malik Rose, to name a few, and pay them millions to lose. Yet $25 million was too much to pay for Lin.
To replace Lin the Knicks traded for Raymond Felton, who once played well in New York under coach Mike D'Antoni's system but is coming off a bad season in Portland. Felton was awful for Portland, and it eventually cost him his starting position. His points, field-goal percentage and assists all went down.
How much do Jason Kidd and Marcus Camby have left? Both are way past their respective primes but have been given three-year deals apiece. Kidd was brought in to tutor Lin, but that plan went out the window. Camby is supposed to help the Knicks on the glass and defense, but can he stay healthy over the course of a full season?
These moves don't get the Knicks any closer to winning a championship. They just keep the Knicks in the middle of the pack in the East. Is there any major difference from this year's team to last year's? I don't see it.
The Knicks are asking Anthony to carry this team on his shoulders and get them deep into the playoffs. Sorry, Knicks fans—Carmelo has only done that once in his career. Don't expect that to change with this group. Maybe this year the team will get a second playoff win, but I wouldn't count on that.