By Dennis Berry
Linsanity is over for the New York Knicks.
Tuesday night the Knicks decided not to match the Houston Rockets three year, $25 million offer sheet for Jeremy Lin. That cleared the way for the 23-year-old point guard to leave after only 35 games as a Knick.
The New York Daily News reported that the Knicks – more importantly James Dolan – was upset with the way Lin handled the situation:
The decision was both financial and emotional since Garden chairman James Dolan was upset over Lin restructuring his deal with Houston last week to include a third year salary of $14.9 million. Dolan, according to sources, felt he was deceived by the 23-year-old Lin.
Of course, team officials privately felt that Lin's actions over the past few weeks were anything but grateful. They were upset that he hired a publicist without their consent and were livid that the second-year point guard out of Harvard went back to the Rockets for more money.
But in this case, Dolan felt betrayed by Lin for going back to Houston to rework the contract. After all, the Knicks acquired Lin in December after he was released by both Golden State and Houston.
To replace Lin, the Knicks have acquired point guards Jason Kidd and Raymond Felton. The only problem with those acquisitions is that Kidd is 39 years-old, he will turn 40 in March. Felton is coming off a poor year in Portland where he only averaged 11.4 points, 6.5 assists, and shooting 40% from the field. That is probably from all the weight he gained.
Though the Knicks' management and their fans may be upset with the loss of Lin, all may not be lost for New York. Though they may struggle at the point guard position in 2012-13, there is hope for the future. They could make a run at an All-Star point guard next year.
Which point guard would that be? Chris Paul.
There are two ways the Knicks could go about doing this. They could wait until after the season and acquire Paul as a free agent. The other option is to make a move before the trade deadline in February for the Clippers' point guard.
Paul passed on signing a contract extension with the Clippers this offseason. He could have signed a three-year, $60 million extension with the Clippers, but chose not to do so. He did so because he can sign a five-year, $108 million deal next summer.
So Paul will explore his options next summer. One of those options should be the Knicks. If Paul is out there as a free agent, then the Knicks would be silly to not go after him.
It is no secret that Paul wanted to be traded to the Knicks last offseason. Paul is very good friends with Carmelo Anthony and if the rumors are true, the duo have talked about teaming up. Last offseason, New York did not have the pieces in place to be able to make a trade work; so, Paul ended up a Clipper.
With Paul as a free agent next offseason, the Knicks could attempt to lure Paul away from Los Angeles without giving up anything. That would be the ideal way for the Knicks to acquire Paul.
Of course the Knicks might get restless during the upcoming season. Kidd and Felton could do a terrible job at the point and the offense struggles. Fans would grow restless, especially if Lin is having a great season in Houston.
For this scenario let’s say that things break down between Paul and the Clippers. All it would take for that to happen is for the Clippers to revert to, well, the Clippers. Paul does not feel like the franchise will make a move to improve the team; thus, they have no shot at re-signing him. Will they chance losing him with nothing in return?
In this case, the Knicks have to attempt to make a move for Paul during the season.
The only problem is...what can the Knicks give up for Paul? They cannot trade Anthony. The only other option the Knicks would have is to offer Amare Stoudemire. That would eliminate the problem of Stoudemire and Anthony trying to co-exist and give the Knicks a big three of their own with Paul, Anthony, and center Chris Chandler.
Of course this is dependent on two things. One is the Clippers letting Paul go, only to have two players that are basically the same – Stoudemire and Blake Griffin. The other is the Knicks being able to either wait for Paul to become a free agent or be able to make a move mid-season to acquire him.
Who knows if New York is even considering these two options. The way they like to throw around money they probably will. The addition of Pual would be a major upgrade at the point guard position compared to what they have now.