By JAMES SARGENT
As hours pass, it looks less likely that the New York Knicks are going to match the $25 million offer from the Houston Rockets to point guard Jeremy Lin. Just when everyone thought that Lin would be the point guard of the future in the Big Apple, New York went out and acquired Raymond Felton in a sign-and-trade with the Portland Trail Blazers. Days before the sign-and-trade, Jason Kidd was brought in to be the primary backup point guard, and the supposed Lin mentor.
This could potentially be a huge mistake by the Knicks’ front office. They are bringing in Felton, who has already been given the reins in New York once before, instead of resigning a young, eccentric, up-and-coming Jeremy Lin. There is a reason you heard little about Felton last season and a lot about Linsanity. Lin has game and should only get better. Felton has reached his limit and struggles with weight issues.
Carmelo Anthony was quick to comment on the situation by saying, “It’s not up to me. It’s up to the organization to say that they want to match that ridiculous contract. I’d love to see him back, but I think he has to do what’s best for him right now.”
According to ESPN, Knicks coach Mike Woodson said Wednesday (July 11) that Lin would not only be back but would enter next season as the Knicks’ starting point guard. Lin averaged 14.6 points, 6.2 assists and 3.1 rebounds in 35 games for the Knicks before his season ending surgery to repair cartilage in his knee.
I, personally, do not understand the Felton sign-and-trade whatsoever. I think you have to give Lin a chance and see what he can do given a full season as a starter, and with Kidd helping to tune his game. You already know what you are getting with Felton. The Knicks, with Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire, and Tyson Chandler, will most likely make the playoffs again, but with Felton they won’t go beyond the first round. With Lin, the sky is the limit. I know with young stars like Lin, that phrase seems to be overused, but once Lin finds himself and turns into the kind of player many believe he can become, the Knicks could become a legitimate threat in the Eastern Conference.
The Knicks don’t need Lin to score, they have plenty of guys that can do that on their roster. What they need Lin to do is lead unselfishly and facilitate the ball to the likes of Anthony, Stoudemire, J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, ect. Lin could easily average 8+ assists per game and maybe even contribute 12-14 points a night. On the other hand, Felton is starting to get older, and like I said before, his limit has already been reached. He is also coming off a poor year for the Trail Blazers.
‘Melo is at his best when he can come around screens, catch, and shoot. Lin can find that. Stoudemire and Chandler love to play the pick-and-role game. Lin can provide that.
Now, don’t think I’m some Lin homer, or anything like that. I don’t hate Lin, yet I’m not crazy for Linsanity. I just believe that New York could be making a big mistake by relying on Raymond Felton over Jeremy Lin.