It’s never surprising to see racism, ignorance and disgusting behavior from people and especially on the Internet. Jeremy Lin leaving the New York Knicks for the Houston Rockets after the Knicks didn’t match the offer sheet brought out the worst out of some people who refer to themselves as fans.
What people fail to understand is that it wasn’t that much up to Lin. As a restricted free agent, it was on the Knicks to match the offer by the Rockets. A back-loaded offer, giving Lin plenty of money on the third season, something that is referred to as a poison pill for the Knicks. The offering team must be able to fit the average of the entire contract under their cap. For the original team, where the player’s salary for a given year—not the contract’s average—is counted against the cap.
It doesn’t even matter if the Knicks decided to leave Jeremy Lin free to join the Houston Rockets for financial, cap reasons or something else – thinking that his potential as a basketball player isn’t big enough, or maybe James Dolan reasons which no one can really explain. Blaming Lin and making him out to be some money grabber is completely off target. Making racist remarks is a whole new kind of ugly, evil and low.
This goes back to the whole loyalty issue in the NBA. In a league where players can be traded from Miami to Portland with the blink of an eye because the important thing is owning a contract and not what a player actually wants, teams and fans can’t expect NBA players and especially stars, knowing they’re worth a lot of money to their teams, and Lin just might be the most marketable star in this league despite not being an All-Star level player, to show the kind of loyalty sport fans dream of.
The kind of loyalty that ties a player down to one team for his entire career. The kind of loyalty that makes a player give up on a lot of money and opportunities – title opportunities, just because of the community he’s involved in. Don’t get me wrong – some players are loyal. Tim Duncan has always been. But he’s been well paid for that loyalty, and has never felt his team isn’t doing enough to keep trying to win an NBA title.
Jeremy Lin expected the Knicks to match the offer, very quickly. When they didn’t, for whatever reason, moving to the Houston Rockets, a team that waived Jeremy Lin about a year ago to clear some cap space, seemed like a good idea. Lin understands. Most, or maybe all the NBA players understand. Everyone involved with the league should understand. To fans, real fans, it’s always more than just a sport. But behind everything, and that’s why we had two lockouts in the last 13 years, it’s business. Just business.