RSS
The New York Knicks ditch Jeremy Lin: Huge mistake?
"Linsanity" is going to the Houston Rockets, and his ardent fans in the Big Apple are howling in protest
 
Basketball wunderkind Jeremy Lin is taking his talents to the Houston Rockets after the New York Knicks failed to match Houston's three-year, $25 million offer.
Basketball wunderkind Jeremy Lin is taking his talents to the Houston Rockets after the New York Knicks failed to match Houston's three-year, $25 million offer.
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

So long, Linsanity. The New York Knicks have declined to match the Houston Rockets' three-year, $25-million offer to point guard sensation Jeremy Lin, meaning the Harvard grad is on his way to Texas. Lin came out of nowhere earlier this year to almost singlehandedly rejuvenate the Knicks' lackluster season and bring fans back to Madison Square Garden. The 23-year-old was an instant sensation on the court, and his buzzer-beaters and audacious drives gave rise to the now-famous neologism "Linsanity." He is also the league's first American-born player of Taiwanese or Chinese descent, and his brief run — cut short after 25 starts by torn cartilage in his left knee — was viewed as a pathbreaking cultural event. But despite his rampant popularity, the Knicks faced a serious dilemma: Due to the NBA's arcane contract rules, the team would have to match Houston's offer and potentially pay tens of millions of dollars more in luxury taxes in the 2014-15 season if they wanted to keep Lin. The Knicks, perhaps mindful of their long history of overpaying for stars who failed to meet the hype, demurred. Did they make a mistake?

Yes. Lin was the best thing the Knicks had going: The Knicks' decision "is a gut-punch, the kind of soul-killing punk move that, in my personal opinion, shows zero respect for either the player or the fans he helped teach to believe again after years of wandering in the wilderness," says Jeff Yang at The Wall Street Journal. Lin's arrival "was enough to turn oblivious parents, ambivalent spouses, and sarcastic little sisters into instant… sports maniacs." Without Lin, the Knicks will remain the "grim shaggy-dog joke that New York hoops fans have faced since [the Dolan family] first took over [as owners] and asserted their commitment to mediocrity."
"With Jeremy Lin exit, some Asian-American fans feel betrayed by Knicks"

And Lin would have been worth the high price: "Lin was drawing in the biggest ratings the Knicks had had in a long time, and tickets to games were getting snatched up as quickly as possible," says Kris Lokos at Bleacher Report. "The Knicks also made a ton of money on merchandise sales, particularly Lin merchandise." Furthermore, the NBA's greatest potential for expansion is in China, and "having an Asian-American as one of the stars of your team is going to bring in ridiculous amounts of money." What a boneheaded move.
"Jeremy Lin: Why the New York Knicks should never have let Lin go"

Hold on. The Knicks were right to let Lin go: The $25 million offer for Lin is "the basketball equivalent of naked shortselling or some other devious mechanism of the financial markets" that inflate assets far above their actual value, says Ken Berger at CBS Sports. And the Knicks were smart to stay as far away as possible. Lin started a mere 25 games — a worryingly small sample size. And Knicks fans should remember: They still have Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire, and Tyson Chandler, a "trio of proven, accomplished All-Star players long before Linsanity was part of the vernacular."
"If Knicks are wrong to let Lin walk, does that mean Rockets are right?"

 

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week