Not Everyone Loves Raymond (Felton)
Raymond Felton's coming back to the Garden -- and there's a good chance Jeremy Lin is not.
Sifting through the blizzard of Lin-literature that surrounds the Knicks' upcoming decision, the most lucid analysis I've found is Ian O'Connor on ESPN.com: "On the verge of firing Jeremy Lin just like the Dallas Mavericks and Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets had done before, the Knicks threw him out there and watched one of the most improbable basketball stories ever told unfold on their watch. And now they're prepared to give Lin away for nothing."
Any successful business, O'Connor convincingly argues, needs to protect its prime assets, and the Knicks aren't protecting one of their own. Does anyone in the front office really think that Lin, by signing the Rockets offer sheet, was doing anything less than looking after his own best interests? Or do the Knicks feel that Lin has somehow betrayed them by trying to get the best deal he can?
If so, they need a refresher course in basic contract negotiations as well as basketball.
Does Jimmy Dolan really think that by saving a little money on point guard Raymond Felton - Knicks fans will remember that this is Felton's second stint at the Garden, and that the first was undistinguished - that the Knicks will come out ahead on the court? Could he think that the headlines this January are going to proclaim "Felton-mania!"? Don't the bean counters know that whatever the dollar difference between Felton's and Lin's salaries , they'll get it back ten-fold in ticket and jersey sales if they keep Lin?
Surely, someone in a position of influence understands that Lin was a better point guard than Felton in 2011-12 and that since Lin is four years younger, he is likely be a better player than Felton again this year.
Or could they possibly believe that Felton, who has never been much better than mediocre, fits in with their "Win Now" philosophy?
What seems to be happening here as we wait until Tuesday night to see if the Knicks will match Houston's offer, is that Dolan's ego is once again overwhelmed common sense and is pushing Knicks policy. I really think Dolan thinks by signing Felton he's showing Lin what a tough guy he is and that he's not going to give in to any strong arm tactics from a player - that's what owners call it when a player has leverage in a deal.
So if Jeremy Lin becomes a Rocket, it's just the latest example of Dolan's Knicks taking one step forward and two steps back.
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