Growing up as a fan of the New York Mets, and eventually becoming a fan of the Jets, Knicks and Islanders, I was used to a shitty decade sports wise. The 90s were pretty bad for 3 of the 4 teams. The Knicks were the exception, especially once Jordan retired for a bit to try Basketball. Knicks fans will always be haunted by John Starks inability to sink a basket in Game 6 of the Finals against the Rockets. We don’t talk about his Game 7.
The Knicks seemed to be going downhill in 99 when they went on one of the most incredible runs, taking down the hated Miami Heat as an 8th Seed, then taking out the Pacers to reach the Finals. Sure they were taken out by the Spurs in 5 games in the finals, but the future looked bright. Then the team was mismanaged by GM Layden, only to be taken over by the even more grossly incompetent Isiah Thomas.
There are not enough words to describe what Thomas did to the Knicks. Not only was he a bad GM and a bad Coach, but he embarrassed the organization with a sex scandal. But even that wasn’t enough to get him fired and finally NBA Commissioner David Stern stepped in and forced Owner James Dolan to replace Thomas with the amazing Donnie Walsh. Walsh finally slowly but surely cleared the Knicks of crappy contracts, hoping to eventually bring in LeBron James.
This hope though fell short, but the Knicks became a better team and managed to pick up Amare Stouduamire and were looking like a possible playoff team under Mike D’Antonio and a bunch of promising youngsters. But this wasn’t enough for Dolan, who wanted his shiny new toy. He forced the team to gut itself in order to trade for Carmelo Anthony who was going to be a free agent anyway. The Knicks went 13-13 after the trade, following a 28-26 start without him. The Nuggets went 17-7 without Carmelo.
This season Carmelo openly argued with Coach D’Antoni as the team went 29-36 with him in the lineup. Eventually everything between Anthony and D’Antoni came to a head, and D’Antoni said it was either him or Anthony. So now D’Antoni, one of the better coaches the team has had who has worked the team back to respectability is gone. Walsh eventually left because he never wanted to make the Carmelo deal.
Finally a Miracle falls into the Knicks laps in the name of Jeremy Lin. Injuries force him to start, and he ends up being one of the best stories of the year. It got to the point that he got Knicks fans more excited about the team then they have been in years. The stocks for MSG shoot up for the first time in years. The Knicks went 20-15 before Lin went down to an injury, and were 4-4 in games in which he played less then 10 minutes.
Now Lin was going to become a Restricted Free Agent, but what’s that matter to Dolan who was spending hand over fist for the last Decade and paying for all of Isiah Thomas’ mistakes while keeping him around? Apparently everything. The Knicks decided to let him go out and get offers from other teams to figure out “His Value” and then are somehow shocked when he goes out and signs an offer from another team.
But hey, that shouldn’t matter, the Knicks have a chance to match that offer. Money has never been a thing for Dolan. But apparently not this one time. Nope, obviously at this point Dolan considers the fans someone he can piss all over and ignore. It’s his toy and he’s going to play with it how he wants to play with it. Celebrities and corporations don’t help things when they pay for insanely overpriced seats that keep Dolan rolling in the money.
It makes me sick that it seems like the Islanders, a good organization that seems to try to do right gets pissed all over. But the Knicks are the Knicks and apparently free for the most part from greater scrutiny. Not signing Lin is one of the worst moves the Knicks have made and they don’t even have a real excuse for doing it.