Beyond The Boxscore
One person established himself as duplicitous fake during the Jeremy Lin contract saga.
And it wasn't Lin. No, this was Carmelo Anthony's show — one in which he went to great lengths to show Lin why he's lucky the New York Knicks didn't match that $25.1 offer sheet from the Houston Rockets. Though Anthony had plenty of backup.
Now that it's finally official — with Jonathan Supranowitz, the Knicks vice president of communications, confirming on a New York TV station that James Dolan would not reach into his endless pockets to pay the man who saved his team's season last winter — it's come out that the Knicks never even contacted Lin.
No thanks for the memories but we just can't do this. No good luck. No anything.
James Dolan and the Knicks acted like spoiled babies throughout this entire process.
Dolan and the Knicks acted like spoiled babies throughout this entire process — blaming Lin for seeking out the best deal, for listening to a team that clearly now believes in him much more than the Knicks ever did. They expected Lin to come meekly back to New York at their price, to take whatever reduced role they decided to hand him.
They underestimated Jeremy Lin all over again. If you didn't know better, you'd almost wonder if they ever watched him play. For as former Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy noted during his radio tour through Houston on Lin Day, this is a point guard who plays with force, a point guard who almost plays with "arrogance."
Lin was not going to be intimidated by a selfish NBA All-Star and a Baby Billionaire. He's too self confident for that.
It seems like Lin knew exactly what he was doing when he signed that backloaded offer sheet with the Rockets.
He ended up with the better organization. He pushed himself out of Carmelo's warped world where being thought of as The Man means much more than any W.
"Extremely excited and honored to be a Houston Rocket again!!" Lin tweeted late Tuesday night.
Then Lin showed the class the Knick lack with his follow-up tweet, "Much love and thankfulness to the Knicks and New York for your support this past year . . . easily the best year of my life. #ForeverGrateful."
The 23-year-old Lin may be more global marketing star than All-Star at this point. But it's apparent the Rockets didn't just become infinitely more interesting with this move (really, the thing Houston general manager Daryl Morey needed to do much more than winning). They also became even classier.
Lin's a nice fit with the Rockets, an organization that's long tried to do things the right way. And Lin seems to harbor little ill will about getting cut on Christmas Eve by Morey.
Then again, taking the team that could have had you for practically nothing for $25 million just seven months after getting waived by that franchise is something of its own delicious revenge. Whether you're looking for it or not.
Morey is telling people he believes that Lin is still "undervalued." It's a nice soundbite. But this is no Moneyball play for the sabermetrics man. That's as much of a stretch as Tom Cruise as a musician. Morey paid big for a star because the Rockets desperately needed a star, one who goes beyond even basketball.
He's got him.
Lin instantly makes Houston relevant in the NBA in a way it hasn't been since Yao Ming first started limping toward retirement after that devastating injury against the Lakers in the 2009 NBA Playoffs. That's a long time for such a proud franchise, such a proud owner, to be a complete afterthought on the national stage.
You can be sure of one thing: Leslie Alexander is pumped.
"We are thrilled to have Jeremy back as part of the Rockets family," the Rockets owner said in a statement. "In his limited opportunity last season, Jeremy showed that he has all the skills to be a great player in this league for many years to come."
New York's Loss
Whatever Lin becomes — or doesn't become — the Knicks lost plenty in this deal. This wasn't Hakeem Olajuwon denying Patrick Ewing his championship. But it's still no small side highlight to see Houston sticking it to New York again.
Dolan losses the groundswell of authentic, unforced support Lin built for the Knicks during his magical, shooting star of a run. All because the billionaire whose never been afraid of throwing away money on horrific contracts for much worse players got offended that Lin didn't grovel at the altar of Madison Square Garden.
Lin's a nice fit with the Rockets, an organization that's long tried to do things the right way.
Anthony — who looks further than ever from becoming a LeBron James, a Kevin Durant, a Chris Paul or a Dwyane Wade — squashes any notion that he cares about anything but dominating the basketball.
Branding a teammate's contract "ridiculous" sealed that deal. And Anthony's clumsy attempt at backtracking several days too late only made him look even more two-faced. You can bet Mike D'Antoni (still rubbing out the wounds from his own Melo backstab) is smiling as he sees all this as an assistant coach on the Olympic team.
Sooner or later, every selfish player shoots himself in the foot.
Lin would have had little chance to excel again with all these loutish piranhas swimming around him in the Big Apple. In Houston, he'll have every chance to see just how good he can become.
He's much better off in Houston. And the Rockets are much more relevant for having him.
That's a start.
Winning? That's a story for another day, for another year really.
Let the Linsanity begin.