Jeremy Lin was the reason I got back into Knicks basketball.
What a thrill. And what a story. On the verge of being cut. Last chance. And he gets in the groove. And the Knicks start winning!
Their winning ways continue, even after he left. Why? Because he showed them they can win. They didn't really need his play, as much as they needed evidence that winning was possible.
But the owner was too cheap to pay him what he was worth. They should have paid him all they had to. In retrospect, were any of the players they did keep, including the famous Melo, worth the $25 million over three years that Lin was paid by Houston.
Houston. What a shitty team they turned out to be. Not.
But they got Lin off their payroll, just in time to fail to sign Chris Bosh and Marc Gasol (or was it Pau, I forget). They deserve to lose, but they're still coasting on the love of Lin, and they're kicking butt this year. I have to admit Dwight Howard has a lot of joy in him too, and James Harden is an awesome player who was under-appreciated at OKC.
The point is this. The Knicks have now reverted to where they were before Linsanity. Phil Jackson is no Jeremy Lin. He's a franchise, the most-elite-of-the-elite. He can't scrape bottom and pull himself, and the team up, by his fingernails, because he is the winningest coach in NBA history. Expectations are going the wrong way.
Melo. Oh Melo really blew it. He should have taken a pay cut and gone to Chicago, where he could have been among players of equal skill to him. Maybe Derek Rose isn't going to come back (you have to wonder), but Noah! He's as much a coral reef as Lin is/was.
Melo is not a team leader. He would be a great #2 to someone like Noah or even Harden. Someone with guts and drive and fire in his belly. Someone who is holding on by his fingernails. Put Melo on a team with Lance Stephenson. That's might wake him up. I don't think Melo gets this. He is not a 1. He is a 2.
It's too late to bring Lin back to NYC.
The best thing to do, for the Knicks, if it were possible, would be to trade everyone they can, for cash. Put the rest on waivers. Bring up 12 players from the D-league. And at least let's have some fun the Garden this year. Maybe one of those 12 will shine like Lin. The team, which includes supposedly one of the best all-time players in the NBA can't even beat Orlando, at home, when they're rested. If you ever needed proof it was time to cash it in, there you have it.
There's no love here. And basketball, as Lin taught us, is really all about love. Sorry to the people who think it's your track record, or your skill. They are all very skilled. Every one of them. The Knicks are losing, and will continue to lose, for the simple reason that they have already lost.