WATERCOOLER CHAT: FREE AGENCY MOVES AND LIN LIKELY NO KNICK

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In the NBA, the biggest story from free agency surrounded the Knicks Jeremy Lin.  When Lin came onto the scene, he was one of the best underdog ‘Rocky’ stories in sports in a long time.  An Asian kid who went to Harvard, went undrafted, got cut by TWO NBA Teams and eventually wound up starting for the New York Knicks and becoming an international sensation.  Plus, he led the Knicks to a jaw-dropping 8-game win streak out of nowhere.  SO… everybody expected that Lin would definitely be back in New York.  He’s a merchandisers dream, and fits in perfectly in a major market.  But the Houston Rockets, who also have a very large Asian fan base, gave him a sweet deal to come play for them.  Most thought the Knicks would match the offer, but paying $25MM for Lin, a good player, but not a great player, could cripple their cap room.

The Knicks are faced with a 3-day window to match the Rockets offer.  Bringing Lin back would be a good ‘business’ decision, but not necessarily a good basketball decision.  Plus, there’s a very good chance that his novelty could wear off.  Once that happens, what value does he have?  And, when Lin played the Heat, LeBron and friends showed him that he wasn’t at the top level just yet.  Then, on Saturday, the Knicks traded for point guard Raymond Felton — a guy who fit in very well when he was there two seasons ago.  That pretty much signals that they plan to move on from Lin.  It was a good run for Mr. Lin, and you can be sure he’ll get a standing ovation when he returns to New York next year.

And, in some other free agency news, the Houston Rockets, still trying to make room for Dwight Howard, decided to waive their rising star forward Luis Scola.  Scola is a solid player and other teams were chomping at the bit to get him.  The Mavs were particularly very interested.  So who won?  After losing rising star Eric Gordon back to the New Orleans Hornets, the Suns landed a winner in Luis Scola.  After Steve Nash decided to jump to the Lakers, the Suns needed to rebuild.  They drafted UNC guard Kendall Marshall, brought back Goran Dragic, and snagged Michael Beasley.  Getting Scola can only help.  They will return to the playoffs soon enough.

Finally, the Timberwolves have offered $46MM for Nicholas Batum.  Snagging Batum would give Kevin Love some serious help in the front court.  Allowing him to relax a bit on the defensive end and to focus on his offensive game.  Now the Trailblazers have 3 days to match.  The Blazers are also rebuilding, and $46MM might be too much to keep Batum around.  Plus, they just drafted big man Meyers Leonard in the draft.  It may take the Blazers some time to get back to the playoffs, but they’re always a fun team to watch.

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