Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Felton Back to Knicks as Lin’s Future Hangs in Balance
Is Linsanity over in New York?
That’s a valid question after a stunning turn of events on Saturday evening. With the Knicks having until Tuesday at 11:59 p.m. to match the three-year, back-loaded $25.1 million offer sheet given to Jeremy Lin by the Rockets, they went ahead and traded with the Portland Trail Blazers for one-time Knicks point guard Raymond Felton. The sign-and-trade deal will include a three-year, $10 million contract for Felton, who found success in New York during the 2010-11 season before being traded to the Nuggets in February of that season as part of the Carmelo Anthony blockbuster.
The news of the Felton sign-and-trade was first reported by Frank Isola of the New York Daily News.
The Knicks will send the non-guaranteed contract of Dan Gadzuric and the oft-injured Jared Jeffries to Portland as part of the deal, but will also get back Kurt Thomas along with Felton. Thomas, the oldest active player in the NBA, had his best days as a Knick in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. He was a key member of the 1998-99 squad that marched all the way to the NBA Finals as a No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference.
With the recent additions of Thomas, Marcus Camby and Jason Kidd, the Knicks now have three players who are a combined 116 years old.
In 54 games with the Knicks in 2010-11, Felton averaged 17.1 points and 9.0 assists per game while flourishing in pick-and-roll situations with Amar’e Stoudemire. Once Felton left New York in the Anthony deal, it could be argued that Stoudemire hasn’t been the same since. In his seven-year career, Felton is averaging 13.4 points and 6.7 assists. Last season in Portland, he started 56 of the 60 games he played in, averaging 11.4 points and 6.5 assists per game.
With Felton now in the fold, the question on everyone’s mind is, what about Lin?
General Manager Glen Grunwald and head coach Mike Woodson have maintained this offseason that the team would match any offer sheet signed by Lin, even going as far as to say Lin would be the starter once the regular season begins. That plan is very much up in the air as the Knicks now have Felton, a proven point guard with far more experience than Lin, in addition to Kidd, the 39-year old free agent acquisition, and 35-year old Argentinian rookie point guard PabloPrigioni on the roster.
What cannot be denied is Lin’s marketability in New York, plus the fact that he has and will continue to make a lot of people a lot of money if he is retained. If he is brought back, one rational line of thinking would be to have Felton and Lin split time at the point, while having Kidd move over to play some shooting guard here and there as he did with the Mavericks last season.
However, that and any other scenario is strictly heresy until Tuesday, 11:59 p.m. at the latest.
Photo: Daily NewsFollow Josh Newman on TwitterAnd like ZAGS on Facebook