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Patrick Hruby

The Knicks Blew It

The Atlantic sports roundtable on the Jeremy Lin fiasco

The most exciting NBA story of last season -- or the last decade, if you live in New York -- is moving on to Houston. And not for a pittance. In this week's Atlantic Sports Roundtable, we debate the question: did the Knicks blow it by not resigning Jeremy Lin?

Jake Simpson: ... I think letting Lin walk was the right move. For Knicks fans, who haven't seen their team win a title since 1973, the ONLY question worth asking is whether Lin gave the Knicks a better shot at a title than, say, Ray Felton and cap maneuverability. I say no, because of the Knicks' core of Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire, and Tyson Chandler. The Knicks need a pass-first point guard who has some shooting ability, knows how to work the pick-and-roll, and plays above-average perimeter defense. When Felton is motivated and in shape (like he was during his brief stint with the Knicks in 2010), he's all of those things. Meanwhile, Lin is an attack-first guard who needs to have the ball in his hands a lot, which is a problem when you play on the same team as Melo ...

Patrick Hruby: ... of course the club should have held onto Lin. Who cares if his contract seems a bit steep? Or if he's a mediocre defender? Or if he's a player that "needs the ball?" (Um, hello? He's a point guard. All point guards need the ball, unless the Knicks really are going to hire Phil Jackson and run the triangle offense). Lin is fun. A pleasure to watch. Sure, Lin can pass (7.6 assists per game as a Knicks starter) and shoot (18.5 points per game as a starter). What made him special, though, was the unexpected, utterly spontaneous vibe he brought out in fans and teammates alike. For the first time in forever, Madison Square Garden wasn't a psychodramatic haunted house of thwarted aspirations and dashed expectations, forever mourning the Bill Bradley-era Knicks, a place defined by the next morning's taunting tabloid headlines ...

Hampton Stevens: ... there's just no good argument for it, on or off the court, and the whole mess reeks of massive ego. You've got the selfishness of Carmelo Anthony, who didn't seem thrilled about sharing the ball or the limelight with Lin. Plus you have the pouty, impulsive James Dolan, oblivious to his own buffoonery. He just gave up his team's biggest draw and merchandise-mover because, in three years, that player might get paid what Tyson Chandler makes now. Seriously? Over two weeks last season, Lin doubled the Knicks' TV ratings. Doubled! MSG stock shot up, too. Between Lin's first start on February 6th and July 5, MSG stock share price rose more than 30 percent. In the wake of Lin's departure and Jason Kidd's arrest, shares have dropped 9 percent ...

Read the full article at the Atlantic online