Saturday, July 21, 2012

Jeremy Lin signs with Houston, Stephen A.'s a hater

The Knicks declined to match the Rockets' 3 year, $25.1 million offer for Jeremy Lin.  And just like that, Linsanity in NY officially comes to an end.  I am completely confused as to why the Knicks refused to match.  The decision lacks logic and rational, no matter what Stephen A spews.

First, from NY's perspective, they should have matched.  The first two years of Jeremy's contract was around the $5 million mark, which is arguably underpaying what would be your greatest marketing asset.  The 3rd and last year of this contract is understandably harder to swallow, given the $15 million salary and the subsequent cap and tax implications.

However, the Knicks were absolutely willing to match when the initial rumor was just under a $10 million 3rd year salary, putting out the "match up to a billion dollars" quote.  You're telling me that an additional $5 mil is what scared billionaire Dolan away?  You're telling me that its Jeremy's fault that you'll be capped out in that 3rd year though you've already handed out about $60 mil to just 3 players?  You're telling me Jeremy doesn't bring in more interest and more money than any of them?  The 3rd year of his contract, as many writers have pointed out, is also useful as an expiring contract trade piece, if it should really come to that and he doesn't pan out as forecasted.  Ultimately, his upside was that he could possibly be your 2nd best player behind Carmelo, and even in that 3rd year, would be about the 3rd highest player on the team.  His value off the court alone should have immediately caused them to bring him back.  You just don't let an asset that you unearthed walk away for nothing.  At the very least, sign and trade him later for something.  Anything.

So no, this decision was purely emotional on Dolan's part.  He was probably unhappy that the initial report was $10 mil but the official offer was $15mil.  He was unhappy that Jeremy's representatives were working hard to secure the best contract for their player, instead of cutting the hometown team a break.  Then why didn't the Knicks offer Jeremy a contract up front then?  Why let him shop his services around the league then throw a hissy fit when someone finally puts their money where their mouth is, unlike NY?

Carmelo continues to be one of the most unlikeable stars in the NBA.  Who can forget the slap and run punk move he pulled on the Knicks' Collins back in his Nuggets days?  Or the lack of defensive effort in addition to the I-hold-the-ball-then-shoot-because-I-am-Carmelo offense he's exhibited throughout his career?  They say he's a star, but it is obvious to most that his teams will never win an NBA championship with him as their alpha dog.  Carmelo has been past the 1st round of the playoffs, JUST ONCE IN ELEVEN YEARS.  I can only hope he somehow ends up on the Lakers.

It is blatantly obvious that Carmelo did not want Jeremy on the team for one reason and one reason only: jealousy.  Jeremy's popularity during that month far outweighed anything Carmelo has ever received here in NY, and Melo wasn't having that.  Unquestionably, that's why Carmelo made sure D'Antoni, a coach with a ball movement offensive mind, didn't finish the season.  And its also why Carmelo threw Jeremy under the bus with his "ridiculous" comment about the offer sheet, before the Knicks had made its final decision.  In the NBA, you don't mock a fellow player's contract during talks.  There should be a brotherhood of supporting one another in getting the best contract possible.  All that was thrown out the window when it came to Jeremy, in Carmelo's eyes.

But secondly, from Jeremy's perspective, leaving the Knicks for the Rockets was the better situation for him many times over.  Primarily, it gets him away from Carmelo's on-court ball-hogging and his off-court jealousy.  It gets him away from an offense and a coach who does not properly utilize Jeremy's talents.  It also gets him away from the constant crush of the NY media, which can wear on anyone, especially one who rose to fame out of nowhere.  In Houston, Jeremy is actually wanted and he has a coach in McHale who is known as a PG-centric, pick-and-roll coach.  The rebuilding team gives Jeremy time to really develop into a complete player without the expectations of championship basketball.  In NY, it was only going to be a matter of time before the adulation turned to outright harsh criticism.  It happens to everyone in NY, unless you win all the time.  Even Eli Manning needed a 2nd championship to turn back the wolves.

Stephen A is one of those critics and he got an early start.  I'll put it out there like this.  If Jeremy Lin was an African-American who graduated from Harvard, went undrafted, cut twice, then drops 38 points on Kobe's Lakers in the midst of one incredible month of wins, Stephen A would be showing him nonstop love.  But no.  Stephen A probably thinks NBA superstar world should belong solely to the African-American and he'll be darned if an Asian-American out of nowhere keeps getting this kind of attention.

His first article: Knicks must let Jeremy Lin go:

"Jeremy Lin has been all about the money since the day he burst onto Broadway."
 - Really.  The kid who's faced nothing but hardship and lack of opportunity finally gets a chance and blows up.  His story, his humility and his passion for team-play becomes an international sensation and he led his teams to wins.  Meanwhile, he turns down countless opportunities to cash in on this fame, instead only opting for a few carefully selected brands to align with.  Nobody in their right mind is accusing Jeremy of being all about the money.  Except Stephen A that is, who starts his article with that line.  By the way, even if this false statement were true, why should it viewed negatively when it comes to Jeremy?  Every other player in the NBA has a right to try to maximize their earning potential, but Stephen A is using what is a false statement anyway, to impugn Jeremy's character.

"He definitely was overcome by dollar signs when he wouldn't play at "85 percent" for the New York Knicks in the playoffs".
- Jeremy is coming off a knee injury, unable to even touch the rim, still 15% away from what he deems minimum threshold to play, in a hopeless task vs the eventual champion Heat, all while teammate veterans are advising him not to rush back.  But right, Stephen A knows better.  mmm-hmm. 

"Fear of injury is one thing. Fear of getting outplayed and exposed in postseason competition is another."
-Piece of garbage journalism without a single shred of evidence to the fact.  Jeremy Lin overcomes all odds at every level of competition to make it in the NBA, and he doesn't WANT to play in the playoffs?  Add to the fact that the Knicks are extreme underdogs and he has absolutely nothing to lose except his health?  Stephen couldn't back up that asinine statement at all then actually followed up that character assassination with this:

"To be clear, Lin wasn't wrong about this at all.... He should be called an astute businessman right now with the deal he swindled out of the Rockets."
- The majority of the article lambasted Jeremy for being greedy and cowardly.  Then Stephen A covers himself by saying that Jeremy made the right decision?  So let me get this straight.  Jeremy acted correctly the whole time, but you're going to try to destroy his reputation anyway?  Got it.

"And when did Jeremy Lin -- in Year 3 of this deal -- become the second coming of Chris Paul?"
- Chris Paul will make $17.8 mil this year.  You know who will make around the $14.8m this year that Jeremy will in 2013/14?  Baron Davis - $14.8m.  Rashard Lewis will make $15m, as will Boozer.  Would you rather have a polished and marketable Lin or one of those guys?  Remember, we're not talking about the current Lin.  We're talking about a Lin with 2+ years under his belt, packaged with his endless marketing power.

Stephen A's 2nd article - "NY couldn't wait for Lin to be great".

"If Knicks remain mired in mediocrity, departure of J-Lin will be the last reason why."
 - You gotta love how Stephen A covers his backside.  

"It was about Jeremy Lin not seeing the forest for the trees, salivating over green instead of orange and blue -- choosing to play for a team on a track to nowhere instead of continuing to help his former team position itself for championship contention."
 - Is Stephen A suggesting that Jeremy play for the Knicks out the goodness of his heart?  Moreover, how did Jeremy choose the Rockets over the Knicks if it was the Knicks that wanted Jeremy to sign an offer sheet elsewhere and then refused to match it, after telling the world they would match anything?  The Knicks were the ones who didn't choose Jeremy (get it straight), even though their billionaire owner could easily afford it.  And seriously, are the Knicks anywhere close to championship contention?

"Lin's departure won't be the problem if the Knicks continue to find themselves mired in mediocrity. Not with the likes of Melo, Amare, Kidd and Felton still on the squad."
-Melo + Amare has been disastrous so far.  Kidd is nearing 40.  Felton is overweight and vastly overrated by Stephen A.  Like it or not, Jeremy would have been the best point guard on the team, bar none.  Why is Stephen A so hung up about the money as if its coming out of his wallet?  The Knicks have never been averse to spending dough. 

""(He was) the dude who undeferentially spewed, "We gotta learn to play together," upon Anthony's return, instead of acknowledging he was the one who needed to learn to play with Melo."
- This is gets to the heart of Stephen A's motivation.  He is clearly brown-nosing here, pleasing the superstar.  What basketball coach on earth doesn't want a player like Jeremy, who wants to play a team-first, ball-movement type of basketball?  How can Stephen A say this when Carmelo is an utter failure at playoff basketball and when his hero-ball style doesn't win?  And if you ever saw Jeremy Lin speak on camera about wanting the Knicks to keep their team chemistry going, how could anyone actually surmise that he was "undeferentially" (not a word) spewing anything?  In the range of attitudes when it comes to athletes speaking on record, can Jeremy be considered anywhere other than the absolute upper echelon of humility?  This was another baseless attack on Jeremy's character by Stephen A in order to stay on Carmelo's good side.

"If Lin wanted to stay badly enough, he would not have ticked off a billionaire owner who previously had told him, "We have plans for you," by back-dooring him in the 11th hour."
- Laughable.  Inaccurate.  Indefensible.  Jeremy never thought he wasn't going to be a Knick until they traded for Felton out of nowhere, after already signing Jason Kidd.  Who's ticking off who?  What 11th hour is Stephen A talking about?  Jeremy was presented with 1 offer sheet, not 2.  He signed it.  He did what he was supposed to do.  The Knicks had 3 whole days to decide. If you look at the facts, it was Dolan who ultimately turned on Jeremy.

All that said, I've actually always liked Stephen A.  His job is to entertain us and he does that well.  We just can't think of him as an actual NBA analyst.  He doesn't analyze, he just opines.  For analysis, go read some Hubie Brown.  But everyone tells me that it is my Asian duty to hate him, so there you go.  I hope Jeremy hits a buzzer beater to eliminate Carmelo's 20 win Knicks next season.  And I hope Stephen A eats his words.

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