Jeremy Lin's second coming for the Houston Rockets commenced this week as he performed his first workout for Houston. However, what may be on many people's minds isn't the excitement in Texas for the addition of Lin to their young roster. Instead, for fans around the country, the question remains: How much of a mistake was it for the Knicks to refuse to match the Rockets' three-year, $25 million offer sheet to keep Lin under the protection of the bright lights of New York?
The Knicks' reasoning behind their refusal to match the offer remains vague. Many have pointed to the fact that if the Knicks signed Lin to the $25 million offer, they would have been over the luxury tax threshold, a move that would've cost them somewhere between $17.5 and $68 million over the next three years.
Meanwhile, others have pointed to Lin's diminished productivity while playing under head coach Mike Woodson after Mike D'Antoni "resigned" on March 14. And, if looking solely at statistics, there may be an argument that Lin simply could not fit in with Woodson's offensive scheme.
However, even under Woodson, Lin still averaged a respectable 13.2 points per game and 5.4 assists per game while playing far less minutes then he did under D'Antoni. Although these stats are certainly not as impressive as Lin's 20.3 points and 8.4 assists that he averaged prior to Woodson taking over, it was still enough production to make him the third-leading scorer on the team and the leading assist man.
For Knicks fans, who have endured countless years of personnel moves from Knicks management, the answer may be much simpler and, in turn, much more horrifying: The Knicks still think they can win a championship with Carmelo Anthony running the show.
Anthony made his thoughts clear in July when he labeled Lin's offer sheet with the Rockets "ridiculous." But just how ridiculous could it be? As ridiculous as the fact that Lin led the Knicks to an 8-1 record without Anthony? Or perhaps Anthony is alluding to the fact that his return to the lineup was exactly the same time that Lin's numbers began to diminish.
Whatever the ultimate cause, Lin's era with the upstart Houston Rockets has begun and, as evinced by their young roster, with the average age being 24, it looks like Lin has been labeled as the Houston Rockets' franchise point guard.
Expect Lin's leadership to prove to be the missing link for a squad that went 34-32 in the 2011-2012 season. This leadership, along with Lin's ability to "just win," is what the Knicks will miss most, a trait that no amount of luxury tax and no number of turnovers can justify. The Knicks again are without a leader, while the Rockets are just thankful that the Knicks didn't realize this dire need until it was too late.
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