The official reason Jeremy Lin left the New York Knicks? They didn’t match his offer from the Houston Rockets because of what they feared their cap situation will look like with another big contract on the payroll. The real reason? Just another example of their owner making wrong choices for reasons that are about serving his own ego.
The news of Iman Shumpert possibly being put on the trading block aren’t anything new. Ever since he returned from injury last season, it seemed that he’s either unhappy with his role, with his minutes, with his position on the floor or from being mentioned as a tradeable player.
Shumpert did make a mess of the situation by playing in only one game during the Summer League, with the team hoping to get a better look at him as a point guard for next season, but Shumpert had over responsibilities he felt were more pressing – the summer camp Shumpert runs in his hometown of Oak Park, Illinois, and an NBA-sponsored trip China to be a league ambassador.
Mike Woodson wasn’t happy, because he feels Shumpert needs to work on his offensive game. There’s a chance J.R. Smith isn’t going to be able to play early on in the season, and the Knicks need Shumpert to step up for him and fill in for some of those “lost” points.
But trading Shumpert? The Knicks don’t have a lot of talent that isn’t on unmovable contracts. Tyson Chandler, Amare Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony and Andrea Bargnani are all on 8-figure deals that are clogging the cap space for the Knicks. Shumpert is a second-year player who is getting a bit more attention than his skills require because he plays for the Knicks, but he’s their only piece with potential of actually getting better in the future.
But Dolan works in weird ways. Everyone knows that money isn’t the issue, even with the luxury tax rules changing the scenery of free agency and negotiations across the league. Jeremy Lin means a lot of money in terms of merchandise and the overseas appeal as well. And yet it seemed that he was disrupting everything Dolan was building upon – a team built on two offensively-selfish superstars, which were considered to come on his desire to the Knicks.
And that is what it’s all about, probably. Dolan wants the Knicks to win an NBA title, but eventually, he wants it to be him that’s credited with the championship, in some way at least. Lin was a fluke find, and Shumpert seems to be someone that’s exceeding the expectations of when he was initially drafted. Those won’t go to the credit of Dolan, and he seems to try and make the most of the first opportunity to get rid of players who reach higher than he projected for them, in case they take the attention away from “his” true stars, Anthony and Stoudemire, who won’t win an NBA title unless they stop being the players a team is built around.