Knicks Don't Need Lin to Win

By A.J. Speier

With or without Jeremy Lin, the New York Knicks will still be able to sellout the Madison Square Garden.

After acquiring Raymond Felton along with Kurt Thomas in a five-player trade with the Portland Trailblazers, it became evident that the Knicks weren’t worried about losing Jeremy Lin to the Houston Rockets.

On Tuesday, the Knicks announced they don’t intend to match the Rockets’ three-year $25.1 million contract offer and as a result, Linsanty will be heading back to the team that cut him prior to the start of last season.

The Rockets picked up Lin after the Golden State Warriors waived Lin to clear cap room to make a run at restricted free agent DeAndre Jordan. The Rockets then waived Lin because they had three other point guards with guaranteed contracts in Kyle Lowry, Goran Dragic and Jonny Flynn and they needed to clear cap room for free agent Samuel Dalembert.

None of those point guards are on the Rockets anymore.

The Rockets traded Flynn to the Portland Trailblazers along with Hasheem Thabeet and a second round pick for Marcus Camby and this offseason the Rockets traded Lowry to the Toronto Raptors for a protected first round pick and Gary Forbes while also allowing Dragic to sign a contract with the Phoenix Suns.

Lin is the obvious favorite to start as his only competition is the recently acquired Toney Douglas, whom the Rockets acquired along with Josh Harrellson, Jerome Jordan and two second round picks from the New York Knicks in a sign-and-trade deal for Marcus Camby.

In the end everybody wins. The Rockets get their starting point guard and a player that will bring more attention to their team while the Knicks get to avoid a major salary cap hit in the 2014-15 season where they would have to pay Lin $14.8 million.

Lin flashed potential in his first 10 games as an everyday player with the Knicks. He averaged 24.6 points, 9.2 assists and shot 49.7 percent from the field but had 5.6 turnovers.

However, Lin’s performance dropped the rest over his last 16 games as over his next seven games, he averaged 16 points and 7.7 assists with 3.9 turnovers and in his last nine games, he averaged 13.6 points and 5.9 assists and shot just 39.1 percent while dealing with his then-undisclosed knee injury.

The Knicks will be fine without Lin. Felton and Jason Kidd are both players with resumes full of experience which is something that the Knicks will need if they’re going to make a deep playoff run.

Let’s not forget that the Knicks still have marketability with superstars Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler. The only questions remaining are whether Anthony and Stoudemire can coexist since both are isolation players and whether Stoudemire’s injuries will become problematic again this season.

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