by Jason Comack
As a sports city, New York is a city of champions and unlimited payrolls. Despite that New York fans have always gravitated towards the scrappy underdog. Knicks fan ate up John Starks, Anthony Mason and Charles Oakley. They hustled for every loose ball, scrapped for every rebound and weren't afraid to punch you in the face if you got out of line.
Linsanity hit on several notes of that formula. He was the ultimate underdog. A player who no one wanted, who was waived several times in his career. The Knicks picked him up just to be the last guy on their bench. When Lin finally did get the call to start it was out of desperation. The Knicks were floundering and needed, something...anything to get them going.
In sports we've reached a point with information saturation that we can accurately create expectations for player performance and they're usually spot on. When someone like Josh Hamilton, Victor Cruz or Jeremy Lin comes along it captures our imaginations so much. The unexpected is more fun then the expected.
It's painful to see Lin go because it removes that feeling of unexpectedness. That Lin could drop 38 on the Lakers in prime time, could hit the game winning shot in Toronto or, be run off the court battered and bruised in Miami. That's what made Linsanity so fun.
Reality is a lot less fun. The reality with this Knicks squad is they'll stumble to 44 or so wins, playing largely slow paced uninteresting basketball. The sadder part is you can just cut and paste that sentence for the next three years. There's no opportunity for the Knicks to get better. They’ve used the amnesty clause, they're capped out and under the new CBA rules, as a tax paying team, they won't be able to execute sign and trades. No one on the roster outside of Iman Shumpert is going to improve over the next three years. No one on the roster besides Iman Shumpert is even likely to be on the team in 2015.
So you can make all the lame excuses you want to rationalize James Dolan's decision to let Lin leave. You can blame the tax, until you realize that the combination of Camby, Kidd, Felton will make a similar amount to what Jeremy Lin would have made in 2014. It isn't about the tax or Lin's value both on and off the court.
Dolan felt slighted by Lin. When Lin got his original offer sheet the Knicks were through the moon. A reasonable three year deal, with a team option to boot. It wasn't till Morey and Lin renegotiated the deal, to include the poison pill in year three, that Dolan reacted like a jilted lover. That's what this was about. That Lin reached a deal, and then changed it to maximize his value.
It makes one question if Dolan understands the concept of contract negotiations, or the basic concept of leverage.
I'm reminded of Vince McMahon when I think of James Dolan. Someone with nearly unlimited financial resources who can't seem to maximize the value of their product.
Almost a year ago CM Punk sat at the top of a WWE entrance ramp and delivered a promo about the WWE that could equally apply to MSG.
The reason I’m leaving is you people. Because after I’m gone, you’re still going to pour money into this company. I’m just a spoke on the wheel. The wheel is going to keep turning and I understand that. Vince McMahon is going to make money despite himself. He’s a millionaire who should be a billionaire. You know why he’s not a billionaire? Because he surrounds himself with glad-handed, non-nonsensical, douche-bag, yes men, like John Laurinaitis, who’s going to tell him everything he wants to hear, and I’d like to think that maybe this company will better after Vince McMahon is dead. But the fact is, it’s going to be taken over by his idiotic daughter and his doofus son-in-law and the rest of his stupid family.
Maybe things will be better after Dolan is gone. Unfortunately for the Knicks fans that isn't going to be anytime soon.
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