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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Is James Dolan a Hypocrite?: A by-the-numbers investigation

Remember July, 2012? The NBA Players’ Union had just won an arbitration case against the league that redefined whether players retained their “Bird” rights through the waiver process. It was a relatively trivial ruling for most of the league, but a coup for the New York Knicks, whose top two free agents, Jeremy Lin and Steve Novak, had both been claimed off waivers to start the season (and both had played their way into significant salary raises). Lin, of course, was coming off his meteoric rise to international fame, and the New York fan-base exhaled in a collective sigh that they weren’t going to lose their newest folk-hero to the draconian salary cap (since Lin was a restricted free-agent, the team could now match any offer without salary cap restraints).

Well, as it turned out, even with the ability to exceed the cap and match any offer, the Knicks opted to only sign one of their two free agents: the sweet-shooting, sour-everything-else Steve Novak.

The Knicks never stated an official reason for not matching Lin. The transaction was relayed to the press by a spokesman who stated “I can confirm we are not matching”.

And that was that. The unceremonious end of Linsantiy.

Of course, though it wasn’t stated publicly, there was obviously a reason the Knicks opted to let Lin walk to Houston, and many sought to understand how Lin, a virtual lock to return to the Knicks in the wake of the arbitration victory, was suddenly gone. Certainly the ultimate decision rested with team owner and MSG chairman James Dolan, through whom all major transactions had to pass. Stories came out that Dolan felt “betrayed” by Lin. Others reported that Carmelo Anthony, Dolan’s most prized-player, had called Lin’s contract “ridiculous”. Statements made by the neoteric JR Smith, a CAA client to whom the Knicks possibly had a silent agreement with to re-sign on the cheap side in exchange for future considerations, indicated that Lin’s contract would create jealousy amongst the other Knicks.

But the MSG spin eventually repainted it, not as a personal vendetta, but as a shrewd business move in the changing face of NBA economics. The contract, it was estimated, could cost the Knicks upwards of $28 million in taxes alone it’s final year, due to the new Collective Bargaining Agreement’s escalating luxury tax on high spending teams.

Effectively, a line had been drawn in the sand. James Dolan, who over a previous six year span had forked over $190,089,121 in luxury tax payments (all for an average of 31 wins/year (yes, that’s $1,016,519.64 in taxes per win!)), had reached his breaking point. The thought of paying an extra $28 million for a player was simply too painful to swallow, and, in the name of born-again fiscal responsibility, Dolan cried “uncle!”

It served to quite the hysterics. Who among the critics would personally feel good about writing a gratuitous $28 million dollar check to David Stern? And for those of us that spent years pleading for fiscal responsibility in the face of Isiah-nomics, it was impossible to argue against. Had Dolan changed? Would there be no more gross overpays for middling talent? No more Malik Roses, Antonio Davises, Mo Taylors, Jerome Jameses, Jalen Roses, Shandon Andersons, Jamal Crawfords, Stephon Marburies, Howard Eisleys, Eddy Currys, Steve Francises, or Jared Jeffries. Jeremy Lin, it seemed, was a small price to pay for a long-term commitment to franchise building.

Then, almost a year to the day that Jeremy Lin was poached by the Rockets, along came Andrea Bargnani.

$23,362,500 over the next two years for a player that’s been the poster-boy for under-performance. Yes, that is more than Jeremy Lin stood to make over the same amount of time (both contracts expire on July 1st, 2015). And, just as was the case with the Lin offer, the Bargnani contract had no salary cap impact and wouldn’t have any bearing on future flexibility. The only negative rested in the tax it would levy on just one man: James Dolan.

Which brings us to the titular question: is James Dolan a hypocrite?

There is a simple way to determine this. Add up the numbers and see if Dolan truly was thinking with his wallet, or if there were ulterior motives at play. If he is paying less tax on Bargnani’s contract than he would have for Lin, then the Knicks’ highroad fiscal preparedness position should not be questioned. If, however, the taxes for Bargnani add up to more than what Lin was estimated to have cost, then it would appear that James Dolan, in typical James Dolan fashion, cut off the nose of the franchise to spite it’s face.

So, let’s look at the numbers:

Entering free agency in 2012, the Knicks had four long-term contracts in place: the big-three of Anthony, Stoudemire, and Chandler, along with Iman Shumpert’s rookie deal, for a 2015 total of just under $64,000,000. By the time of the Lin decision Jason Kidd had already been added, adding another $3,090,000, and the Marcus Camby trade had been agreed to and a contract was being worked out that would eventually extend to 2015, but of that, only $646,609 was guaranteed, effectively making it, for tax purposes, a minimum contract slot hold. Also, during the Lin deliberations, the Knicks allowed Landry Fields to leave for Toronto, but agreed to a long-term contract with Steve Novak that would add another $3,445,947 toward the 2015 pot. And, of course, in the frantic days that surrounded Lin’s departure, replacement Ray Felton was added for four years, including $3,793,693 to the all-important 2015 figure. The rest of the roster was then fleshed out with short-term minimum salaries (with the lone exception of JR Smith’s more complicated 1 year deal), bringing the 2015 total to $74,287,896. If Dolan had decided to match on Lin, and had kept all other moves the same (including bringing in Felton for linsurance), the 2015 projected total would have been $89,087,896, significantly above the tax threshold.

Jump forward one year and the 2015 outlook has changed. Off the books are Jason Kidd (retired) and Steve Novak (traded), clearing $6,535,957. At the same time, marginal raises were given to two of last year’s minimum slots (Prigioni and World Peace) totaling $1,800,121. Also, the team added the guaranteed $1,250,640 of first-round draft pick Tim Hardaway, as well as the (as-promised) raise to JR Smith of $5,982,385, totaling $78,066,964. Add to that the big addition of the summer, the aforementioned Andrea Bargnani, and the $11.5 million committed to him in 2015, bringing the current 2015 projection to $89,566,964.

So, is the Bargnani tax going to cost as much as the Lin levy was estimated to have been?

Because of the “poison pill” structure of the contract Lin signed with Houston, Lin would have been owed $14.8 million by the Knicks in 2015 (or, $3.3 million more than Bargnani stands to make that year). Because the new luxury tax has an tiered system, the higher a contract goes over the threshold, the higher the tax rate. So that extra $3.3 million would have been taxed $2.50 for every dollar paid to Lin. Doing the math, Bargnani’s tax bill in 2015 will be $19,999,997, whereas Lin’s, as stated, would have been $28,000,000.

So, is James Dolan a hypocrite?

The answer, it seems, is no. Dolan will save $8 million dollars in 2015 by paying Bargnani instead of Lin. He has not crossed the line in the sand that was drawn during the Lin saga. He still has a foot solidly placed on the high road. Instead of the irresponsible $43 million Lin would have cost him in 2015, Bargnani will only cost him a healthy $31.5 million. By this standard, Dolan is not a hypocrite.

However, what isn’t represented in this total is the amount that Bargnani will cost the Knicks in 2014. Lin only stood to earn $5,225,000 this coming season–a season in which Bargnani will be paid $11,862,500 ($6,637,500 more than Lin). 2014 is the first year of the incremental tax structure, so Bargnani’s taxes will cost Dolan $12,843,748 more than Lin would have, which evens out the 2015 poison pill. Andrea Bargnani will ultimately cost the Knicks more over the next two years than Lin would have, had the Knicks matched.

But the line in the sand wasn’t drawn around 2014. It was 2015 that the argument against Lin was based on, and in 2015 James Dolan will, technically, save $8 million dollars.

The question then becomes: what will Dolan do with the $8 million that will be burning a hole in his pocket in 2015? Only time will tell. But one thing we do know is that $8 million doesn’t go very far in the world Dolan lives in. It comes up a few million short of buying a sexual harassment settlement. And it’s not even half the way towards paying Larry Brown not to coach the Knicks again.

28 comments on “Is James Dolan a Hypocrite?: A by-the-numbers investigation

  1. SeeWhyDee77

    To be fair to Dolan, it is damn near impossible to consistently be fiscally responsible and run the Knicks at the same time. The Knicks are historically a big name…in an even bigger market. But, while he seems to be making slightly better financial decisions, I think we all know that as soon as the next big thing comes up Dolan will be throwing his checkbook at it. I don’t like much of what he does, but as a fan I appreciate his willingness to spend to improve the team- misguided as it often may be. I like what GG has been doing, but is still prefer Donnie’s way. Dolan and Donnie remind me of Jerry Jones and Jimmy Johnson. The coach,or GM’s in this case, way is workin and things are sunny again but the owner’s ego is heavy enough to literally crush the organization. Dolan, much like Jones, needs to reappropriate his ego and let his basketball guys make him look good. I mean, hell- even Donald Sterling seems to get it now

  2. KnickfaninNJ

    My impression was that the Knicks didn’t sign Lin because they didn’t think he was worth the money and they could find a cheaper alternative they thought was just as good. But no one wants to talk badly about a team’s most popular player, especially one who is humble and likable. So it make sense they never commented on the reason for not signing them. In the Bargnani case, there was no cheaper alternative (except maybe for skipping the $1.5M for Qrich, which they didn’t expect to have to do). I think here they thought they were improving the team for roughly the same money

    Basically I am arguing that the decisions were more basketball team quality driven than money driven. It boggles my mind that I am suggesting that they are making unpopular moves because they think it will make the team better because I am so used to horrible Knick management that doesn’t seem to do this; but it is what it is.

  3. swiftandabundant

    Interesting read but it leaves out something really important. How these decisions were made in context of the team. Why overpay for Jeremy Lin when you can have Felton for way cheaper (and still have Kidd and Pablo?) And considering we got Beno to replace Kidd for basically the minimum, our PG rotation of Felton, Pablo and Beno is just as good as say Lin, Pablo and Beno or Felton, Lin and Pablo but for millions less.

    And Bargnani wasn’t brought here simply to get rid of Novak’s contract in 2015. If Bargnani works out he fills a huge need for us. Camby gave us nothing last year. Novak was one dimensional. And STAT spent most of last season hurt. Now we don’t know if Bargs will work out or not, but he was brought here not just because his contract ends in 2 years but because in theory he can draw a guy like Hibbert out of the paint and do more damage on offense than Novak and can play more than Camby and is insurance if STAT continutes to not play a lot.

  4. swiftandabundant

    Decisions like this are made in the moment too. The Knicks had no idea that hibbert was gonna beat them in the playoffs last July. They did know, though, that if they overpaid for Lin it would make it harder for them to resign JR Smith and improve the team in the next off season. They put together their team and went with Felton instead. Play the season, win 54 games, get out of the first round, then face The Pacers where it becomes apparent that Hibbert parking his 7 foot frame in the paint made it impossible for them to score and cost them the series. Bargs was traded to address that issue. They were able to take on his salary and make that trade partly because they didn’t have Lin on the roster. Would Lin have been the difference against the Pacers? Maybe but chances are he would not have been the difference since we had no answer for Hibbert. Yes, a GM and owner need to think several steps ahead but you never know how trades and signings are gonna work out till you play the games.

  5. max fisher-cohen

    @swift — I think the whole point is that it wasn’t either/or. Dolan is so rich and the Knicks are so profitable that they can spend whatever amount they want and win whatever # of games they want and still make tons of money. They could bring in the cheap, reliable player (felton) and then wild card (Lin) without feeling any sort of financial pinch.

  6. KnickfaninNJ

    But if they had signed Lin, would they have the cap room to sign Camby? If they didn’t sign Camby, they might not have been able to trade for Bargnani

  7. swiftandabundant

    @ Max. I was furious when they didn’t resign Lin. All I could think was how we had given millions to Eddie Curry, Jerome Jordan, etc…and yet Dolan because of pride wouldn’t match Lin’s contract when Lin had saved the season. If the Knicks had not made the playoffs that year the backlash would have been huge. It would have been a disaster. Lin was the reason we got into the playoffs (or a big reason at least). But in time I see how it was a smart decision financially and possibly basketball wise too. I still think Lin has potential to get better but he really isn’t any better than Felton and for the money Felton is a steal.

    I guess my larger point is just that GMs and owners don’t necessarily look at past decisions when making current or future ones. They don’t say “well we didn’t match Lin to save us luxury taxes so we better not trade for Bargs because that will contradict that decision somewhat.” Last summer we were a 6th seed, barely 500 team that had lost in 5 games in the first round. This last year we were a 54 win, 2nd seed team that lost in the second round and a big reason we lost was because we had no answer for Hibbert. Bargnani was traded to us with that in mind. The goal of a championship is much closer in sight than it was last summer. And as the article states, its not really big hit on us and doesn’t hinder us after 2015 at all. The people who are against the Bargnani trade seem to ignore the fact that of all the players involved in that trade, Bargnani is clearly the best current player and we got him in that deal.

  8. Z Post author

    KnickfaninNJ:
    But if they had signed Lin, would they have the cap room to sign Camby?If they didn’t sign Camby, they might not have been able to trade for Bargnani

    The Camby trade was agreed to five days before Lin signed his offer with Houston. The Lin decision had no effect on the knicks cap flexibility. It was all about the luxury tax in the final year.

    So, if money is truly no object, the Knicks could have both Bargnani and Lin, and simply pay the tremendous luxury tax on it. (and have Smith and Felton too).

    The interesting question is, if in 2012 Knick management had two options in front of them to choose from for the exact same total money: 1) Lin; or 2) Bargnani; which one would they choose? Or would they have maintained at that time that the price was too high and chosen neither?

  9. Darrell H.

    Intesting article. Well done.

    1) Lin 2) Bargnani;

    Gimme 2 please. With 20/20 hindsight, I’d say that is a simple decision. IMO, Bargnani has much greater upside. I think he’ll thrive with the Knicks this season. Lin might prove to have some upside this season as well but I would rather bet on Bargnani.

  10. SeeWhyDee77

    Darrell H.: Intesting article. Well done.

    1) Lin 2) Bargnani;

    Gimme 2 please. With 20/20 hindsight, I’d say that is a simple decision. IMO, Bargnani has much greater upside. I think he’ll thrive with the Knicks this season. Lin might prove to have some upside this season as well but I would rather bet on Bargnani.

    It’s a tough choice for me because I’m not necessarily sure Bargnani is a better player. But I agree that if the choice came down to those 2, Bargnani is the better fit hands down. So..for this team Bargnani is the better player. While James Harden’s brilliance left Lin in a very large shadow, I believe in what that kid can do with the rock in his hand. I mean he carried a rag tag bunch to a 7 game win streak on his shoulders! And for most of it he was the only threat. Nevertheless, Bargnani is a much better option with this roster and I’m VERY excited to see how he plays off of Melo an Chandler should Woodson start him

  11. swiftandabundant

    @seewhydee77 I loved Linsanity but others were helping during Linsanity as well. Novak was on fire (Lin dished him the ball well). Fields and Lin had great chemistry. Shumpert started to come into his own. Chandler, Shump and Jeffries helped out team play incredible defense during that stretch. Lin elevated the team and did a lot of the scoring but that whole stretch was so exciting because the team as a whole was playing cohesively and for each other, something we hadn’t seen all season up to that point. I think its also interesting to think about right before Linsanity.

  12. JK47

    Bargnani has bigger upside than Lin? Are you people completely nuts?

    Bargnani has played 13,000 minutes in the NBA and is going into his age 28 season, and is coming off back-to-back seasons in which he played 31 and 35 games. He’s been over a .100 WS48 once in his seven NBA seasons, and in every other season of his career he hasn’t been close– his second highest WS48 is .076. His career WS48 is a pretty pitiful .059.

    Jeremy Lin has played about 4,000 NBA minutes and is going into his age 25 season, and is coming off a season where he played all 82 games. His career WS48 of .107 is almost double Bargnani’s. Last year, which was supposed to be a terrible season for Lin, he had a .099 WS48, which almost matches Bargnani’s career high.

    I know WS48 isn’t the be-all, end-all statistic, and it’s flawed in many ways, but come on. How does the older player who has had a much worse career have more upside? Bargnani has spent most of his career stinking out the joint. Bargnani’s “upside” is that he’ll be a slightly more athletic Steve Novak who shoots the 3 much worse. Whoop de doo.

  13. SeeWhyDee77

    True. He did elevate his teammates in a way that was reminiscent of all time greats. In all likelihood it was a perfect storm of events that propelled Linsanity to a fever pitch. But regardless he was unbelievable good during that stretch

  14. bobneptune

    swiftandabundant:
    The Knicks had no idea that hibbert was gonna beat them in he playoffs last July.They did know, though, that if they overpaid for Lin it would make it harder for them to resign JR Smith and improve the team in the next off season.They put together their team and went with Felton instead.Play the season, win 54 games, get out of the first round, then face The Pacers where it becomes apparent that Hibbert parking his 7 foot frame in the paint made it impossible for them to score and cost them the series.Bargs was traded to address that issue.They were able to take on his salary and make that trade partly because they didn’t have Lin on the roster.Would Lin have been the difference against the Pacers?Maybe but chances are he would not have been the difference since we had no answer for Hibbert.

    There is one little problem with your analysis of the Knicks not knowing Hibbert was going to cause them problems by clogging the paint. They had the perfect antidote to Hibbert the previous season, namely Lin’s ability to get to the paint and ft line.

    In 2 games during Linsanity vs the Pacers with Hibbert playing both, Lin was +3 and +17 and TS% of .703 and .674 in 2 NY wins (back to backs) with Lin getting to the ft line 14 times in those 2 games. Incidentally, Felton got to the ft line exactly 12 times in 6 playoff games this season vs the Pacers and only twice in the last 3 deciding games!!!

    Lin had the ability to get to the rim and finish and run the p&r effectively with the bigs and even when he didn’t, threaten to run an effective p&r, something felton, kidd and prigs couldn’t do and felton, udrth and prigs still can’t do to pressure Hibbert.

    Hibbert at least had to respect Lin’s ability to turn the corner and finish, where he didn’t/doesn’t with felton, kidd, prigs, udrth.

    Also…. what line-up does Bargs pose an net matchup…

  15. dtrickey

    I’ll be the first to admit that I was disappointed we didn’t resign Lin. The Linsanity stretch was truly amazing and really was a breath of fresh air. However, I do also believe it was a prudent business decision to not match the Houson poison pill.

    Offering him that mutch money for such a small sample size smacked of Jerome Jordan all over again. I think the Kidd/Lin pairing would have been amazing, and I think you would have seen Lin develop a whole lot more had he stayed here as he has seemingly plateaued at Houston. I think now even Houston are slightly regreting giving Lin that mutch. Admittedly he was coming off the knee injury, but he most definitely under performed for the size of his contract and now seems to be involved in the odd Houston trade rumour.

    Ultimately it really was the poisin pill that killed the Knicks matching. From what I recall of at the time, the FO was more than willing to match the initial offer sheet. I find it hard to believe that he wouldn’t have known signing that second offer sheet what pretty much kill any possibility of NY matching.

  16. KnickfaninNJ

    Z: The Camby trade was agreed to five days before Lin signed his offer with Houston. The Lin decision had no effect on the knicks cap flexibility. It was all about the luxury tax in the final year.

    So, if money is truly no object, the Knicks could have both Bargnani and Lin, and simply pay the tremendous luxury tax on it. (and have Smith and Felton too).

    The interesting question is, if in 2012 Knick management had two options in front of them to choose from for the exact same total money: 1) Lin; or 2) Bargnani; which one would they choose? Or would they have maintained at that time that the price was too high and chosen neither?

    I must have remembered wrong about Camby.. But I don’t understand about the salary cap being the same. For Lin, Knicks total payroll would have been $14M higher in his last year and the Knicks wouldn’t have gotten rid of any salaries. So that’s a real increase. For Bargnsni, they gave up as much salary as they took in. So their total salaries in the last year shouldn’t have gone up at all. How do they not have a $14M difference?

    By the way Mexico is playing Argentina on NBA TV. Its a good game.

  17. KnickfaninNJ

    Sorry, forget my previous post, I had brain block (except about the game) which Mexico just won! Maybe an untapped source of talent?

  18. jp82

    Still so much ignorance. Anyone comparing Lin’s contract to Jerome James, or other past Knick overpays doesn’t understand the salary cap. Signings like Jerome James sucked, not just because James was overpaid, but because that money could have been used on a better player. The money for Lin COULD NOT HAVE BEEN USED FOR OTHER PLAYERS. His Bird rights were not somehow transferable to another player. The Knicks were capped out and still are.

    For us fans, fiscal responsibility matters to the extent it maximizes talent in the roster. We shouldn’t want the Knicks burning cash in players when they could acquire superior alternatives. Letting Lin walk may have been a prudent move to save Jimmy Dolan some cash, but it would NOT have freed up money to sign other players.

    If you’re a fan, you should want Dolan to use every exception possible to exceed the cap, and add as much talent as possible, even if guys are getting overpaid. Unless you strangely care about Jimmy Dolan saving money.

  19. dtrickey

    jp82:
    Still so much ignorance. Anyone comparing Lin’s contract to Jerome James, or other past Knick overpays doesn’t understand the salary cap. Signings like Jerome James sucked, not just because James was overpaid, but because that money could have been used on a better player. The money for Lin COULD NOT HAVE BEEN USED FOR OTHER PLAYERS. His Bird rights were not somehow transferable to another player. The Knicks were capped out and still are.

    For us fans, fiscal responsibility matters to the extent it maximizes talent in the roster. We shouldn’t want the Knicks burning cash in players when they could acquire superior alternatives. Letting Lin walk may have been a prudent move to save Jimmy Dolan some cash, but it would NOT have freed up money to sign other player

    Yes the cap situation is different, but if we had have matched and Lin turned out to be a complete bust then we (and by ‘we’ I mean Dolan) is left with picking up the bill on the tax. Not that I give a shit if he’s paying squilions in tax, but If he’s already being forced to pay a butt load of luxury tax, then we are less likely to make moves that could potentially make us better if they keep pushing us into the the luxury tax. That’s where in my mind it becomes a problem. It all really depends on how much value you put on Lin as a player I guess.

    Granted this arguement is potentially moot considering the potential revenue Lin could have brought in (see jeresy sales during Linsanity) easing the tax burdern.

  20. bobneptune

    dtrickey:
    Ultimately it really was the poisin pill that killed theKnicks matching. From what I recall of at the time, the FO was more than willing to match the initial offer sheet. I find it hard to believe that he wouldn’t have known signing that second offer sheet what pretty much kill any possibility of NY matching.

    Ultimately, it was Lin having the temerity to leverage his position for a higher offer that pissed off Jimmy D and he decided to forgo Lin, essentially losing his starting pg at 24 for ziltch. I guess we could say Lin rustled Jimmy’s Jimmies :-)

    Also there was more than a hint of racism coming out of the knick locker room. When have you ever heard players publicly calling another teammate is overpaid?? Not never, except when the player is a Haaaaarvard educated yellow guy. It is also clear Melo had no use for Lin and was jealous of his insta-fame.

    Those were the real reasons Lin is gone. The notion that felton is an upgrade at a cheaper price is loltastic.

  21. dtrickey

    bobneptune: Ultimately, it was Lin having the temerity to leverage his position for a higher offer that pissed off Jimmy D and he decided to forgo Lin, essentially losing his starting pg at 24 for ziltch. I guess we could say Lin rustled Jimmy’s Jimmies :-)

    Also there was more than a hint of racism coming out of the knick locker room. When have you ever heard players publicly calling another teammate is overpaid?? Not never, except when the player is a Haaaaarvard educated yellow guy. It is also clear Melo had no use for Lin and was jealous of his insta-fame.

    Those were the real reasons Lin is gone. The notion that felton is an upgrade at a cheaper price is loltastic.

    Why no one has used the “russled jimmies” reference yet I do not know, so well played.

    I personally don’t buy into the whole Melo forced Lin out or whatever arguement. I mean, if not for Melo telling D’Antoni to put him in, Lin would be back in the D-League. I’m also not really buying the racisim thing either. The calls that he was overpaid were probably because he was pretty much a rookie getting a really, really big pay day. the last few top picks aren’t earning what Lin is earning. Derrick Rose was earning peanuts for a few years and he was already a legit star.

  22. swiftandabundant

    I also don’t begrudge Dolan for being mad at Lin and not signing him. People say it was petty. But here’s the thing. Lin went back and renegotiated his salary with the poison pill after the Knicks basically said they would match whatever offer. He did this knowing it would hurt the Knicks luxury tax wise. This after The Knicks were the team that signed him and gave him the chance to showcase his skills. I don’t begrudge Lin for wanting his money after years of couch surfing but I get why that would make Dolan mad. And it wasn’t racist for Melo to say his contract was ridiculous. It was. As others have pointed out, number one draft picks and superstars like Durant and Derrick Rose have to play on rookie contracts for several years and prove they are stars before they get big money. Heck, JR Smith’s new contract is less lucrative than Lin’s and he’s been in the league for years. Sure, Linsanity was a Knick phenomenon and The Knicks could have made money off Lin if they kept him, but with that contract they would feel compelled to start him and promote him even if he was playing poorly, which he did at the beginning of last year. That could create animosity and jealousy in the locker room, which JR referred to. And I don’t think he’s wrong to say that was a possibility. It sucks because I do like Lin and think he has the talent and under Kidd he might have really flourished, but I thought it was pretty sneaky to go back and change the contract like that. The original one was a really good contract for a guy who played great for 7 games and played less than half of a lock out season.

  23. dtrickey

    swiftandabundant:
    I also don’t begrudge Dolan for being mad at Lin and not signing him.People say it was petty.But here’s the thing.Lin went back and renegotiated his salary with the poison pill after the Knicks basically said they would match whatever offer.He did this knowing it would hurt the Knicks luxury tax wise.This after The Knicks were the team that signed him and gave him the chance to showcase his skills.I don’t begrudge Lin for wanting his money after years of couch surfing but I get why that would make Dolan mad.And it wasn’t racist for Melo to say his contract was ridiculous.It was.As others have pointed out, number one draft picks and superstars like Durant and Derrick Rose have to play on rookie contracts for several years and prove they are stars before they get big money.Heck, JR Smith’s new contract is less lucrative than Lin’s and he’s been in the league for years.Sure, Linsanity was a Knick phenomenon and The Knicks could have made money off Lin if they kept him, but with that contract they would feel compelled to start him and promote him even if he was playing poorly, which he did at the beginning of last year.That could create animosity and jealousy in the locker room, which JR referred to.And I don’t think he’s wrong to say that was a possibility.It sucks because I do like Lin and think he has the talent and under Kidd he might have really flourished, but I thought it was pretty sneaky to go back and change the contract like that.The original one was a really good contract for a guy who played great for 7 games and played less than half of a lock out season.

    Absolutely hit the nail on the head.

  24. Z-man

    Even though this thread is pretty much dead, I feel compelled to weigh in yet again on this issue.

    I don’t recall Dolan ever personally explaining why he chose not to not allow GG to match Houston’s offer to Lin. But does his motivation really matter?

    We have 3 Lin-like PGs now, except for age, at a fraction of the price. Lin was outplayed all year and especially in the playoffs by a D-League minimum signee.

    And whether the tax is higher, lower, or the same as a result of signing Bargnani, it is really a stretch to connect the two events. Why can’t it be as simple as, “I didn’t think Lin was worth the money, but I do think Bargnani is worth the money….?”

    Once again, let’s stop making this into something it isn’t. To me, it is very simple: Morey wanted Lin more than Dolan and made Lin an offer that no other team in the league seemed interested in making. Dolan may have said, “Morey, if you think he’s worth that much, you can have him. Grunny, F him, let him go.”

    With the Bargnani trade, Dolan may have then said, “I think he’s worth the money, draft picks and tax hit. Grunny, go get him”

    While Dolan may be wrong for feeling that way about Lin and Bargnani, it doesn’t make him a hypocrite. That’s the great thing about being an owner. You get to make those decisions with your own money and judge talent and value as you see fit.

    As for me, right now I feel worse that we don’t have Patrick Beverley on the cheap. And I agree with dtrickey, if Lin was matched and then played as poorly as he did in the first 2 months, he would have been a huge distraction and a train wreck in the press.

  25. citizen

    swiftandabundant:
    I also don’t begrudge Dolan for being mad at Lin and not signing him.People say it was petty.But here’s the thing.Lin went back and renegotiated his salary with the poison pill after the Knicks basically said they would match whatever offer.He did this knowing it would hurt the Knicks luxury tax wise.This after The Knicks were the team that signed him and gave him the chance to showcase his skills.I don’t begrudge Lin for wanting his money after years of couch surfing but I get why that would make Dolan mad.And it wasn’t racist for Melo to say his contract was ridiculous.It was.As others have pointed out, number one draft picks and superstars like Durant and Derrick Rose have to play on rookie contracts for several years and prove they are stars before they get big money.Heck, JR Smith’s new contract is less lucrative than Lin’s and he’s been in the league for years.Sure, Linsanity was a Knick phenomenon and The Knicks could have made money off Lin if they kept him, but with that contract they would feel compelled to start him and promote him even if he was playing poorly, which he did at the beginning of last year.That could create animosity and jealousy in the locker room, which JR referred to.And I don’t think he’s wrong to say that was a possibility.It sucks because I do like Lin and think he has the talent and under Kidd he might have really flourished, but I thought it was pretty sneaky to go back and change the contract like that.The original one was a really good contract for a guy who played great for 7 games and played less than half of a lock out season.

    At least some reports at the time indicated that it was Houston who approached Lin with the new offer, not the other way around. We’ll never know, either way it was the Knicks’ fault for letting everyone know that they would match the first offer before Houston officially made it. In the end, Lin was only offered one contract, and he signed it. To reiterate, ultimately the Knicks didn’t even make an offer so it’s not as if Lin could’ve taken less money to play in NY… (I don’t remember if the CBA forbids RFAs to sign for less-than-matching offers, in which case it would be a moot point)

  26. Donnie Walsh

    Z-man:
    if Lin was matched and then played as poorly as he did in the first 2 months, he would have been a huge distraction and a train wreck in the press.

    Like these two train wrecks in the press:

    http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/basketball/knicks/gard-lin-party-jeremy-wins-return-msg-rockets-article-1.1222408

    http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/basketball/knicks/lin-rockets-dish-knicks-drop-straight-loss-article-1.1207255

    I really don’t think Dolan was thinking about the press when he decided not to match.

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