In probably one of the more surprising moves of the off-season, the New York Knicks stopped the Linsanity and opted to let last season's wonder kid Jeremy Lin go to Houston after the Rockets offered the guard a 3-year, 25 million dollar deal which the Knicks did not match.
Lin literally came out of nowhere to be the poster boy of the sports world last winter as he exploded onto the scene, leading the Knicks back to prominence in what had been a sluggish start for the team. Lin averaged 18 points a game in 25 starts and had several memorable moments, including a game-winning three-pointer at Toronto in January and a 38-points spree in a home win over the L.A. Lakers.
Undrafted out of Harvard, Lin was just trying to hang on to an NBA roster in his second season in the league and he made the most of his opportunity in New York with the point-guard-starved Knicks. Lin scored 25 points in his first-ever NBA start last February and helped the Knicks reel off seven straight wins. Lin broke defenders down off the dribble, stepped out and hit jumpers, and was also able to dish the ball,averaging6 assists in 35 games.
Lin missed the final month of the season and the playoffs with a knee injury but it was thought management would re-sign the restricted free agent to play for New York after bringing back the buzz to Madison Square Garden, even with starsCarmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire already in the fold. The Knicks, though, decided to let Lin walk after the Rockets offered a back-loadedguaranteedcontract that New York was not willing to match.
Without Lin, the Knicks will rely on veteran guards Jason Kidd and Raymond Felton next season. Despite being 39 years old, Kidd got a three-year contract with the Knicks while Felton also received a three-year deal. Kidd is coming off a season in which he averaged only 6 points and 5 assists in Dallas. Felton, who has struggled with his fitness, put up 11 points and 6 assists for the Blazers last season.
Going forward and with Lin out of the picture, this team is clearly Carmelo Anthony's. The all-star forward will be entering his second full season in New York and it's expected that he would guide the Knicks past the first round of the playoffs, a place they bowed out of the last two years. Anthony averaged 22 points a game in 2011-12 but he will need forward Amare Stoudemire also to be a big contributor.
Stoudemire, the 100-million man, averaged 17 points and 8 rebounds this past season but his slicing of his hand punching a fire extinguisher after a playoff loss to Miami last spring will hang over him until he can help the Knicks go farther in the post-season.
The defensive player of the year in the NBA, Tyson Chandler, returns at center for the Knicks. Chandler posted 11 points and 10 rebounds and 1.4 blocks a game last year. The Knicks brought back veteran Marcus Camby to back up Chandler.
The Knicks said goodbye to energy forward Landry Fields, but also added Corey Brewer who comes over from Chicago. New York also re-signed long-range specialist Steve Novak.
We shall see if the Knicks' decision to let Lin go pays off or backfires but a lot will depend on whether Anthony and Stoudemire can take their games and the team to the next level in the playoffs.