City Sports Report

To Resign or Not to Resign by Marc “Razz” Rasbury

By the time this issue hits the stands, we will know if the New York Knicks matched the Houston Rockets $25 million qualifying offer to Jeremy Lin. This has been the hottest debate over the past week. Now the answer that most New York basketball fans want to know rests in the hands of the Knicks hierarchy.

Lin was undrafted out of Harvard and was cut by the Golden State Warriors and the Rockets. He was picked by the Knicks but was on the verge of being cut by them before his fortunes started to change.

It started one cold February night against the Boston Celtics. Lin was inserted into the game and gave then head coach Mike D’Antoni a solid effort. Then he followed it up with an eyebrow-raising effort against the New Jersey Nets. From there on, LinSanity was on.

He not only became a local sensation but a worldwide phenomenon as well. It lasted only 25 games before Lin went down with a knee injury, but during that span, just about everybody walking the face of the Earth knew about Lin.

MSG’s stock soared during LinSanity. The Knicks and their merchandise distributors could not keep his jerseys on the shelves. Some people even consider him the sole reason why MSG and Time Warner settled their heated contract dispute last winter. He graced the cover of most publications, including Time magazine.

So why, after all of this fan fair would the Knicks let him walk for a mere $25 million when the corporation just sits back and prints money at the corner of 33rd Street and 7th Avenue? It is not about the money. It has been reported that the Knicks were not that happy about Lin not coming to play in the opening round of this year’s playoffs. When you look at Dwyane Wade hobbling on one knee through the playoffs, to see Lin sitting on the bench in his custom tailored suits during the Miami series did not sit well with the Knicks’ brass.

As far as the money is concerned, the first two years of the contract are reasonable at $5 million per. The third year is the issue. It calls for Lin to be paid roughly $15 million. When you consider that the Knicks will be over the cap at that time and the new Collective Bargaining Agreement calls for the luxury tax of $2 dollars for every dollar that you are over the salary cap, that $15 million now becomes a $30 million hit. After watching Knicks owner James Dolan shell out contracts on Eddy Curry and Luc Longley, one would think the Lin contract is a low risk proposition.

That is why I believe that Lin not participating in this year’s postseason rubbed the Knicks the wrong way and that is why they are leaning on not matching the offer. If you are going to commit to someone to the tune of $25 million, he’d better play through some pain, especially when he admits that he was 85% at the start of the playoffs. Do you think that Wade was 85% during that Indiana series?

That is why they went out and brought Raymond Felton back on the heels of signing Jason Kidd. Lin and Felton are about the same player at this point of their respective careers. Lin has perhaps the bigger upside while Felton comes at a much cheaper price. So for the next two years, it may be a wash.

This is a tough situation for the Knicks. Lin can become an above-average to great point guard, or he can be a flash in the pan. We only have 25 games to go by and half of those games either Carmelo Anthony or Amar’e Stoudemire were not in the line up. That is a small sample size to base a $25 million commitment on.

When it comes to money, I do not think that is the issue. Not playing in the playoffs could be. By the time this issue hits the newsstand we will know what direction the Knicks went. That direction may determine how the organization will fare in the next three to five years. Let’s hope they made the right one. Only time will tell.


  1. Joe Roberts, Jr.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    Once they acquired Felton it appears that they have made their decision. Having all 3 of these guys on the team is a luxury they cannot afford. As a Knicks fan my regret would be not recieving something in return for Lin. He is clearly an asset, so they should have been able to get an asset back.

    Based on some of the recent comments I think the politics of the lockeroom would be a concern if Lin returns. Carmelo appears to be walking back his “ridiculous contract” comment, but he should never be in the position of commenting on a teammate’s contract.

    At the end of the day I would bring him back and try to trade Felton later in the year to a team desperate for a PG. My bet would be that they are going to let him go.

    • Stagger X

      July 17, 2012 at 7:58 pm

      It’s simply too much money to spend on point guards when you already have Carmelo and Stoudemire at such high salaries. And the 3rd year is a killer. Whoever has to pay him $15 million that year is going to be hating life. I don’t see the Rockets paying the luxury tax, what kind of team are they gonna put around him if they allocate $15 mil for him?

    • Stephen McClain

      July 17, 2012 at 8:14 pm

      I am a director. I like to consider myself a actor’s director. If I were a coach, I would be considered a player’s coach. I say all this because I am going to look at it from Lin’s perspective. He is making a business decision and maybe slightly personal. Why do I say that? Non-drafted, cut by two teams, and was about to be cut by another. Then he gets injured. One of the teams that cut you, now wants to pay you $25 million dollars! Wow, what a way to go back and stick it to them. He also learned that this league don’t give a fuck about you, just like football, and fans are fickle. He garnered what he got because of his outstanding play in those 25 games. Now he is being offered $25 million.

      Now, lets examine it from the Knicks perspective. Jason Kidd and Felton. OLD. Which means they can be injured at any point of the season. Lin is young and exciting. The question is how much money did this guy generate for the team. Will it be worth the $50 million (salary plus luxury tax) that it will cost the Knicks to keep him. Only the brass knows those numbers. As for him not playing in the playoffs, he had a B.S. contract and was already being raped financially by…let me see…everyone. He now has a chance to play the sport he loves and get paid, yeah he was thinking selfishly, but smart, and the D-Wade comparison is not valid. He already got big checks coming, respect, and he had Lebron in his ear.

      All this to say, I would like Lin, to stay as a fan because the Knicks have not had an exciting point guard since Mark Jackson and Rod Strickland. No disrespect to those who followed them. Plus, he increases their chances of getting that elusive championship. It has been so long the Knicks need all the help they can get. But I love Jason Kidd, he may do what we need, and I am not mad at the organization if business wise it is not a good idea to shell out all that money to keep Lin. But if he generated 150 million in revenue in 25 games for the Knicks ,and you are the brass and you know this. What would you do?

    • razzandjazzsports

      July 17, 2012 at 10:45 pm

      Foolish things come out of Carmelo’s mouth at times. I agree, letting an asset go for nothing is bad business. When that asset did something that people covering the league for 30 years hadn’t seen, then it is even more special. Keeping him or a sign and trade would be better than just letting him walk.

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