Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Linsane Off Season for the Knicks Ends with a Bang

This off season has been anything but normal for the New York Knicks.

After winning the "Bird Rights" hearing on Jeremy Lin and Steve Novak, the Knicks gained an inside advantage on resigning their top pickups from last year. Lin, a breakout star, and Novak, the best shooter in the NBA, were poised to make their return to the garden.

But things rarely go according to the script in New York.

As the Knicks pursued, and eventually struck out on Steve Nash, their attention seemed to be constantly fixated on the next best available point guard, with names like Jason Kidd, Raymond Felton, and Jameer Nelson popping up in the rumor mill.

For all the rumors and speculation surrounding Lin's next mentor, there was little doubt the undrafted stud would actually leave NY, even though he was a free agent.

As the of weeks free agency dragged on, the Knicks added new (and some old) pieces to the puzzle in hopes of finally escaping the first round of the playoffs.

Steve Novak and J.R. Smith were resigned, and Jason Kidd and Marcus Camby made their returns to the tri-state area.

There is no question that the Knicks greatly improved not only their second unit, but roster as a whole.

Both Camby and Kidd bring veteran leadership and defense to a vastly depleted Knicks squad. New York was down to nearly their last point guard towards the end of last season, and Jared Jeffries served as Tyson Chandler's backup.

But throughout all the success the Knicks have enjoyed this off season, their main prize had yet to be claimed, as reports of an unhappy Lin swirled, and a Houston Rockets offer sheet surfaced.

With a 39-year old point guard at the helm, the Knicks were almost a lock to retain Lin-that was until the Rockets decided to up the ante and raise the stakes of Lin's offer sheet.

The Rockets original offer was  four years, $28.9 million, with $19 million in guaranteed money. However, after the Knicks repeatedly and publicly proclaimed they would match the offer for Lin, the Rockets upped the deal to $25 million guaranteed over three years.

This new offer, should the Knicks match, would put a death grip James Dolans' pockets, causing the franchise to be almost $17 million over the luxury tax in 2014-15. New York could match still match the offer and then trade Lin down the road before the 2014-15 season and save themselves some serious cash.

Lin has tremendous value around the league right now, and could be used as a trade chip near the deadline.

With all this in mind, the Knicks still opted for plan B, or perhaps plan Z, and acquired Felton, along with Kurt Thomas, in a sign-and-trade with the Portland Trailblazers. The deal with Felton is reportedly worth $10 million over three years.

The Knicks also declined to match Toronto's offer Saturday night with Landry Fields as expected.

With Lin possibly headed for the exit, the Knicks can start over with a new backcourt, and a new lease on life, even if the expiration date on this team seems to be right around the corner.

The Knicks have brought in enough talent to secure them the deepest team in the league.
Felton, Smith, Novak, Thomas, and Camby will just flat out play harder than any other bench in the NBA.

There is enough talent and expierience there to beat some starting units in the league. (Bobcats, Kings)

For all the drama, for all the "Linsanity", and for all the non sense that surrounded this team over the past year, New York has finally weathered the storm.

The Knicks may be looking at only a two-year window to win with this team-but hey, it will be a glorious two years as New Yorkers don't know how to live any other way.

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