The New York Knicks Exist Solely for Our Benefit
One of my favorite memories of the Celtics Old New Big 3 era (we’re going to have to work on the name now that Ray Allen is gone) was a game in November 2007 at home against the Knicks. The C’s raced out to a 54-31 lead at the half, and then romped the rest of the way, going on to win 104-59. At some point in the second half, a Knicks fan seated behind one of the baskets stood up during a timeout, ripped off his Knicks jersey, threw it on the court, and stormed out. The Garden crowd cheered — it was basketball bliss.
And really, that sums up the Knicks franchise for the last decade, doesn’t it? Until they beat the Heat in game 4 of their first-round playoff series this past off-season, they’d gone 11 years without a playoff win. (Naturally, they lost the next game to bow out 4-1 in the series.) Ever since Danny Ainge pulled off his miracle offseason of 2007, the Celtics’ longtime rivals to the south have served as a happy counterpoint to the team we’ve gotten to watch here. Basically, the once-proud Knicks are what the C’s could have become if they were run by a bunch of total morons. (Considering that Knicks owner James Dolan came close to buying the Red Sox, they’re also what the Red Sox could have become if they were run by distracted, out of touch owners … Hey, wait a minute …)
Anyway, I bring this up now because it looks like the Knicks might be about to blow the one legitimately good thing that’s happened to them since the days of Patrick Ewing: Harvard’s own Jeremy Lin. While it’s yet to be confirmed, ESPN is reporting that New York will not match the salary cap-busting offer the Houston Rockets have made Lin, letting the international phenom go to Texas. Now there are some salary cap shenanigans involved that aren’t really worth getting into, but it seems like the Knicks didn’t exactly try too hard to hold on to Lin. At least that’s the impression Lin has.
The Knicks likely figured they have too much money tied up in Amare Stoudemire (the guy who missed a playoff game this year after punching through a fire extinguisher’s glass enclosure), Carmelo Anthony (the guy who, despite being one of the best players in the league, somehow managed to make the Knicks worse when he was traded to New York), and Tyson Chandler (no complaints, that guy’s good). You can bet that the Knicks would rather spend money on Lin than Stoudemire, but alas, they foolishly used their amnesty clause last year to unload Chauncey Billups, instead of waiting to see if they’d need it to get rid of, no strings attached, their inconsistent power forward/ace firefighter.
Long story short: the people running the Knicks are, have been, and remain dumb-dumbs. It’s like a little extra gift from the basketball gods to Celtics fans. I never get tired of it. After all, what could be more Knicks-ish than not being able to sign the one player you want because of bad deals you did with guys you’d rather not have? In some ways, the best part is that if Lin goes to Houston, we can now root for the Harvard alum guilt free.
But take heart, good basketball fans of New York: if Lin does go, at least you’ve got recently signed Jason Kidd to play the point. You know, the same Jason Kidd who got busted for drunk driving this past weekend after plowing his car into a utility pole in the Hamptons. See, he’s fitting in already.