James Monroe Adams IV for New York Daily News
The Knicks can say it over and over: Letting Jeremy Lin go to Houston was a business decision. But saying it doesn't make it so. James Dolan felt betrayed by Lin and made an emotional decision in opting to let Lin walk.
Carmelo Anthony should have chosen his words more carefully when he decided last week to call Jeremy Linâs contract with the Houston Rockets âridiculous.â
Considering the way Melo handled his exit from the Denver Nuggets, and considering his 1-8 playoff record as the new savoir or the Knicks, Iâm not sure he wants to go down that road of calling anything or anyone ridiculous. Should Anthony have been more supportive of another teammate? Perhaps. Although he was part of the small contingent that met with Lin in Los Angeles on the eve of free agency in what was clearly a recruiting pitch.
It doesnât make Melo the leading candidate for teammate of the year, but itâs also unfair to blame him for Linâs departure; and itâs beyond ridiculous to now say that the Knicks, more than ever, are Carmelo Anthonyâs team.
It is simply not true.
No, what the Lin saga confirmed is that more than ever the Knicks are James Dolanâs team. And donât you forget it.
Dolanâs basketball people make recommendations but ultimately it is Dolan who rules with an iron fist. Just ask Donnie Walsh, Mike DâAntoni and most recently, Jeremy Lin. Gone are the days when the executives at Madison Square Garden would go to great lengths to paint Dolan as a warm and cuddly hands-off owner. It was a smart way to shield Dolan from criticism when things went array even though the notion of Dolan not being involved in the day-to-day operations of the team is preposterous.
Over the last two years, Dolan has come out of hiding in an effort to become more like his pal, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, whose fingerprints are on every move Dallas makes. It was Dolan, of course, who insisted on opening and closing the Knicksâ highly anticipated meeting with then free agent LeBron James in Cleveland.
Dolan began his presentation to LeBron by reading off of index cards as opposed to Pat Riley who simply tossed his championship rings in front of him. Savvy Riles had LeBron at hello.
Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images
LeBron James helps Pat Riley add one more ring to his collection.
Dolanâs response was to blame Walsh, confined to a wheelchair, for blowing their chance at LeBron. Seven months later, Dolan usurped Walshâs authority and became the point man for the trade to acquire Anthony from the Nuggets.
Dolan liked the idea of suddenly being a basketball guy who could make deals for superstar players. But heâs also no longer the guy behind the curtain. Heâs the guy out in front, and now heâll face the consequences.
The fans arenât blaming general manager Glen Grunwald, head coach Mike Woodson or even Dolan confidant Isiah Thomas for the ending Linsanity. The anger is being directed at Dolan, who was upset that Lin went back to the Rockets last to get the third year of his contract increased from $9.8 million to $14.9 million. The Gardenâs unofficial response, leaked to their media friends, is that it was strictly a financial decision.
That certainly is a lot of money for a point guard with 25 career starts but we all know that Dolan wasnât worried about the contract or the luxury tax. He felt betrayed and deceived and then made a decision based on emotion.
Now, MSGâs stock is falling and the confidence among Knick fans in ownership has never been lower. Itâs no secret that Melo and Raymond Felton will be under the gun to perform. The same goes for Woodson and Amarâe Stoudemire. But no one will be feeling more pressure than the billionaire sitting along the baseline adjacent to the Knicks bench.
The one with his fingerprints all over this team.