New York Knicks: Letting Jeremy Lin Go a Mistake? Not at All

Michael BurkeContributor IIIJuly 19, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 20:  Jeremy Lin #17 of the New York Knicks looks on against the Toronto Raptors at Madison Square Garden on March 20, 2012 in New York City.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)
Chris Chambers/Getty Images

Over the past decade, the front office of the New York Knicks, specifically James Dolan, has made numerous, monumental mistakes. It is in no way a stretch to call this franchise the worst in sports over that time.

However, not retaining Jeremy Lin was not only the right decision, it was the only decision.

Put aside the financial reasons and put aside the fact that signing Lin would have taken away any chance of signing Chris Paul next offseason. Just looking at this from a straight basketball point of view makes it easy to see that having Jeremy Lin is not necessary for this team’s success.

The “Linsanity” period in itself was overhyped and overblown, as we all saw what happened when the Knicks went down to South Beach on February 24 to take on the Miami Heat, the first true contender that Jeremy Lin faced. Lin went 1-for-11, tallying as many turnovers (eight) as points scored, while looking scared to death the entire night.

Yes, Lin played solid basketball for the remainder of his season, but it never reached that same level.

Now, while some of us may have not gotten too caught up in the “Linsanity” hype, it became very apparent that one man did: Jeremy Lin himself.

It eventually got to the point where Lin cared more about his image and his future contract possibilities than he did about helping the Knicks win. At what he called 85 percent, Lin sat out of the playoffs when the Knicks were decimated by true injuries and desperately could have used him. Though he says it was misinterpreted via SI, anyone with half a brain can dismiss this as bogus. 

You're at 85 percent and you sit out against LeBron James and the Miami Heat in the NBA Playoffs? Are you serious? That’s a guy who is not only afraid of the moment, but a guy who wanted to protect his free agent status.

Amar’e Stoudemire played Game 4 after infamously punching a fire extinguisher, after getting stitches across his hand, after everyone had ruled him out for the rest of the series and after he had been ridiculed by the entire sports world for his actions.

It would have been very easy for him to sit out, especially with his team being down 3-0. But Amar’e didn’t do that.

He played, dropped 20 points and 10 rebounds, proved how much of a warrior he is and changed my opinion of him in just one day.

That’s the type of guy I want on my team, not some kid with a big head who won’t play at 85 percent.

Instead, give me Raymond Felton, who proved himself as a Knick just a couple of years ago. Maybe he doesn’t bring the same hype and endorsements as Lin does, but he can play better than Lin, that’s for sure.

Combine Raymond with Iman Shumpert (when healthy), Carmelo Anthony, Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler in the starting lineup, along with a bench including Jason Kidd, J.R. Smith, Steve Novak and Marcus Camby, and you have the Atlantic Division favorites.

Jeremy Lin isn’t worth the type of contract he’s getting from the Houston Rockets, especially when he wouldn’t even make much of a difference, if any, on the basketball court.

Jeremy Lin is not Chris Paul, is not Rajon Rondo, is not Derrick Rose, is not Deron Williams, is not Tony Parker and is not Russell Westbrook.

Heck, he’s not even Raymond Felton.